We romanticize with the idea & experience of ‘falling in love’. We’re captivated by those moments when eyes meet, hearts are intertwined, and emotions are like rays of sunshine running through our veins.
We’re swept away by a indie film-esque narrative of boy-meets-girl in the midst of a coffeeshop backdrop that quickly evolves to long car rides on country roads with the windows rolled down as the cadence of her laughter becomes an infectious virus that consumes your heart, body, and mind continually.
Good times indeed.
That which we fear is the fleeting thoughts of ‘falling out of love’. Too often, that’s the verbiage that precedes divorce and/or infidelity. And more times than not, the thought of ‘settling down’ seems to carry a tinge of negative connotation. Relationships begin to dissolve as we long for that nostalgic experience attached to ‘falling in love’ again.
Contrary to culture’s infatuation with ‘falling’, I’ve grown to appreciate & desire ‘settling into love’.
I met my wife, Joy, in the summer of 2003 at a picnic table as we prepared to rehearse the wedding ceremony of our two friends uniting in marriage. I was attracted to her the moment I met Joy. Our relationship blossomed over the course of the remaining weeks of summer with the exchange of numerous emails and long phone conversations. As the new year approached, I was packing my suitcase to hop on a train & move from Oregon to Southern California…
Falling in love with Joy was an exhilarating time. It was a thrill ride adventure that I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world.
But as those days have become memories & we head towards nearly 14 years of marriage, my life has begun to somewhat settle…
It’s as though our lives are like mason jars filled with water and sand. The thrill of falling in love is invigorating and, in turn, causes this jar to be tossed to & fro amidst the roller-coaster ride of emotions. It’s exciting, yet filled with moments of uncertainty. But as we ‘settle into love’, the sediment begins to rest at the bottom of the jar. We find clarity in the water. Life comes into focus.
‘Settling into’ differs from ‘settling for’. To ‘settle for’ something means that we’ve sold ourselves short regarding an experience and/or commodity. When we ‘settle into’ something or someone, it’s a perceived state of being content.
Contentment is commonly overlooked in life as being something unattainable and/or unimportant. On the contrary, contentment is the key to making steady progress in one’s life, while finding true satisfaction with your current location in life. I’m not complacent with my love for Joy, but I am content.
And discontentment leads to disengagement, distortion, and dangerous distractions. When we are unable to find contentment, we often begin convincing ourselves that the grass is greener elsewhere.
Yet, contentment fuels a desire to dig deeper & grow further in my relationship with my wife, my kids, my friends, and my Lord — Jesus Christ — so it’s important that I settle in for the long haul. To be content means I recognize areas I want to improve and begin taking small steps down a lifelong path leading me home each & every day.
‘Settling into love’ is a goal of mine that requires time, patience, hope, and faith.
‘Settling into love’ within the context of marriage is a lot like following Jesus. Though our initial encounter with Christ is life-changing & a complete paradigm shift, a life spent with Him produces a heart that cherishes the years spanning into decades of trial and triumph. The same applies to a marriage that is rooted in love.
‘Settling into love’ isn’t a myth. Though there are sometimes seasons of utter chaos & my mason jar can be shaken beyond belief… the relationship I have with Jesus remains and I find myself settled into a love with my best friend, Joy, that has the ability to withstand unpredictable turbulence. If there was ever a legacy I could leave with my family & peers, it would be that I was a man who settled into love & continually stood firm upon that foundation.
My prayer is that you will as well. Don’t be afraid to settle. That’s where we find rest & assurance.