October 17th, 2016
As I reflected today on the frustration I feel toward my marriage, it struck me as odd that I haven’t quite defined what it is I want, or reflect on what it is I currently have.
This struggle of being in-love verses loving is nothing new to the world or relationships, but navigating this myself is nothing short of a maddening process. The “thing” I sense missing from my marriage is that flame and passion, but the greatest frustration exists in the unknown of moving forward. While there is hope of making my marriage last, I’m also realizing that the unnecessary pressure I placed on getting married by a certain time is what got in into this mess, but trying to adhere to “non-pressure” is just as much pressure as trying to move forward. Moving forward means making plans, and making plans is committing to an obscure future reality- one that I’m not entirely sure will happen.
My husband fears abandonment. I see it in his eyes and feel it in his reflections of love for me. But as he draws closer, I push away. I could always imagine myself growing old with my husband, but Im struggling deeply to be young with him.
The biggest difference between he and I has always been how we socialize. B is a thinker; an introvert. He prefers to be one-on-one in meaningful conversation and that is how we’ve always connected. We are both dreamers, slightly cynical, and seekers of truth in all things. We both love coffee, watching the stars, spontaneity, and traveling to new places. But when it comes to fun- we have different ideas. Along with nutrition, exercise, connecting with new people, entertainment, crowds, morally gray, and living beyond our comfort zones, we are very different. We are great partners in many ways. I admire and respect this man very much. I just love him more like a brother than I do a lover.
He is deeply in love with me from what he knows. I’m his first…everything. I sometimes think that if he knew the love of someone who felt as he does for me, he would be better off. The idea of starting a family is beaconing. We’ve talked about the prospect of children and raising a family, and it would be a gift to parent together- if only I felt as he does for me.
So what do I want? I simply wish I felt passion toward him. Communication is not the problem. Respect is not the problem. He’s done nothing wrong- yet I feel I’m punishing him everyday with my desire to want something more. And what can I do?
It’s not that I’ve lost a feeling that I once had for him. I married him with an assumption that love would grow- and it has. Just not in the way I expected. So do I simply stay the course and keep praying that my attention to all that is good can compensate for what I truly desire? Can the passion I seek arise from a will to focus on all that is good? How many more years do we spend trying to create passion?
What if that I desire I seek only exists in a temporal state? What if this feeling I seek is one that only exists in the newness of relationships- in the small spurts of “falling-in-love” but never staying in love.
There was one man, that I loved and still love to this day. He was rather ordinary- but he was all I wanted. There was passion, romance, kindness, faith, fun, and foolishness- and I loved him deeply. It ended because we were both unfaithful. Coincidentally enough, this is also the story of my mother and father. It was only a few months before dating B that I was still involve with him- almost 5 years later. He ended things with me and after he did, I believed I would never love again.
Now that I think about it, meeting the recent spark was much being with my first love. His sense of adventure and love of life shone brightly in his person. Perhaps the excitement of being in his presence was a simple reflection of past love. Or more frightfully, a reflection of what I most desire in a partner.
Proust may have said it best; “the one who is happy and the in love are not the same person.” I am happy. I am conflicted. And most certainly, troubled by the thought of being simultaneously happy and in love. But can this exist in a marriage? I’m determined to know.