Posted by: deerharas | March 21, 2006

03.21.06

Butterflies … stomach flips … weak knees … intoxication … passion. 

There’s an Ally McBeal episode in which a woman seeks to annul her marriage for lack of passion.  She and her husband were a perfect fit; they had much in common and got along well as companions.  However, the man claimed he wasn’t a very sexual person and didn’t desire that aspect of marriage.  They both knew this going into the marriage and agreed that the companionship was enough.  Years later, he had an affair, and rather than seek a divorce, the woman wanted her marriage annulled, claiming that it had all been a fraud.

Now I’ve seen enough Ally McBeal episodes to know not to base any life changing decisions on its content.  However, I think this episode raises a good question.  How important are butterflies? 

Okay, so bear with me, but there’s another Ally McBeal episode in which Ally does some legal work for a very nice, but significantly overweight man.  The man is engaged to a woman he loves, but who also is overweight.  During the course of the legal assistance, the man develops feelings for Ally who is very attractive by the world’s standards (not to mention incredibly skinny … I mean, it’s Calista Flockhart).  He is prepared to leave his fiancé if only Ally could return the feelings he has for her.  He confides in Ally that he loves his fiancé, but isn’t physically attracted to her.  While Ally rebuffs his advances, she also encourages him to hold out for someone who will make his stomach flip.  Later, the fiancé pays Ally a visit after having her engagement called off.  The fiancé explains to Ally that men like her ex-fiancé don’t get the girls of their dreams … they don’t get butterflies.  He had been lucky to have a woman such as herself who loved him for who he was.  I think at the end of the episode, the two were back together, but that’s not really my point.  These two people loved each other, but they never got to have the “yucky love stuff” feelings.  Sad.

I’ve heard that it takes a year to really know someone.  I’ve heard that feelings of infatuation go away after about two years.  I know that passionate butterfly feelings will fade away, but to never have them to begin with to me is just heartbreaking. 

I read “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” about a million years ago, and I vaguely remember Josh Harris talking about how after he got serious about God’s Lordship over his life, (including his dating life) he had a fear that God might want him to marry someone he wasn’t attracted to.  I think well-meaning churchgoing matchmakers contribute to this fear.  If a girl expresses an obvious commitment to the Lord and his will and work in her life, she obviously would be perfect for that dopey, but equally committed “good Christian guy.”  Do you have to play the martyr to have a relationship that honors the Lord?

Obviously not.  I can think of plenty of Christian couples who have godly marriages while at the same time maintain strong feelings of attraction for one another.  They choose to love and have feelings of love.  They’ve got the best of both worlds … the butterflies and the commitment.  However, I think in some cases “C” comes before “B.” 

So say you choose a relationship based on compatibility, on a desire for companionship.  Is all butterfly hope lost?  People used to have arranged marriages.  Did they really love each other?  Although I’ve never seen Fiddler on the Roof, I have heard the song, “Do You Love Me” several times (including when Kirk sang it in the elementary school musical on Gilmore Girls).  It’s sung by a couple in an arranged marriage, and the dialogue goes something like this:

Tevye:  Do you love me?
Golde:  I’m your wife!
Tevye:  I know. But do you love me?
Golde:  Do I love him?
For twenty-five years, I’ve lived with him,

Fought with him, starved with him.
For twenty-five years, my bed is his.
If that’s not love, what is?
Tevye:  Then you love me?
Golde:  I suppose I do.
Tevye:  And I suppose I love you, too.
Together:  It doesn’t change a thing, but even so,
After twenty-five years, it’s nice to know.
 

It’s nice to think that there’s something better than butterflies, namely love that grows over time.  Awhile back I wrote about the “E-Harmony Age” conversation I had several months ago.  In that same conversation, one of the girls mentioned how her mentor encouraged her not to seek after the person she would be most infatuated with, but rather to seek after the person with whom she could best glorify the Lord.  I thought this rather wise.  Marriage should be a partnership that enhances our abilities to serve God.  It’s not there just so we won’t get lonely.  It wasn’t created simply as a means of meeting our needs.  Granted, God is a giver of good gifts such as companionship and intimacy, and I think he often gives even the blessing of butterflies.  However, let us seek the Giver, not the gift.

This was mainly meant to raise questions rather than offer answers … Xanga’s good for that.  More thoughts to come …

 

Obligatory Derek Webb:

 

Beloved these are perilous daysWhen your culture is so set in its waysThat you will listen to salesmen and thieves Preaching other than the truth you’ve receivedBecause they are telling liesFor they cannot circumcise your hearts Beloved listen to MeDon’t believe all that you seeAnd don’t you ever let anyone tell you

That there’s anything that you need

But Me

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