12 Days of Valentines…a gift every day for 12 days. These are the kinds of things I did when my husband and I were dating. But there is a difference between love and limerence. Have you heard the word limerence? I hadn’t until my husband and I attended a marriage conference at church several years ago. Limerence encompasses infatuation, obsession and attraction. Most romantic relationships begin with limerence. It’s that high on life, rose colored glasses feeling that characterizes early relationships. It can last for up to 3 years.
Limerence (which, let’s face it, can feel like love) either evolves to love or fades and goes away. This makes it possible for us to have extremely strong feelings for someone, but not choose that person for the long haul. When your mind joins your feelings, you can better determine if a relationship is fit for you. But what happens when you have chosen someone in marriage and the limerence dies? Many file for divorce when the relationship no longer feels titillating. And others aren’t so short sighted – choosing to love despite the absence of butterflies.
Love after limerence doesn’t mean a life devoid of passion and attraction. It just means that you are able to look at your relationship more objectively. Your spouse can finally get off that pedestal and join you on the same level. And even though life may settle into children and chores and nights in front of the TV, a love based on reality instead of fantasy can be so much more satisfying.
Love then was his arm falling asleep because he worried that if he adjusted it, I might not hold his hand again. Love now is his hands tiring while rubbing my back when the spasms strike again.
Love then was him buying expensive presents to impress me. Love now is him working long hours to support me and our daughters.
Love then was his puffed up chest when someone asked me if I’d ever done any modeling. Love now is his ongoing attraction to me after the birth of two babies, multiple surgery scars and many extra pounds.
Love then was hating to say good night at the end of the evening. Love now is the comfort of sleeping beside him every night.
Love then was dreaming about a future family together. Love now is raising kids as a team even when it’s really, really hard.
Love then was getting all dressed up to go see him. Love now is understanding that he loves me just as much with messy hair and sweats.
Love then was a knee buckling first kiss. Love now is getting to kiss him whenever I want.
Love then was anxiously awaiting the first declaration of his love. Love now is hearing it multiple times a day.
Love then was not being able to keep our hands off each other. Love now is appreciating every stolen moment we can find between responsibilities.
Love then was him gushing over my cooking – even if he didn’t really like it. Love now is him giving me kind but honest feedback and then helping clean up the kitchen.
Love then was him plotting the perfect proposal. Love now is him scheduling my round the clock care during cancer treatment.
Love then was planning our wedding. Love now is planning for retirement.
Love then was constant flowers. Love now is…sometimes still flowers!
Love then felt uncertain. Love now feels forever.
Love then was great! Love now is greater!
Love is my forever Valentine. After 22 years, he’s still all I ever hoped for, and this is dedicated to him.
Who wants to play along? In the comments give me one “Love then was…Love now is” statement about you! And Happy Valentine’s Day.
Now for this week’s featured post!
I want to share Michele Morin’s Intercessory Prayer: The Hardest Work in the World with you. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have understood this. But when the lives of your loved ones are turned upside down physically, emotionally and spiritually, the wrestling begins. If you are ever in a spot of agonizing, sleepless nights over someone else and you wonder if God is listening; I want you to have these words in your back pocket.
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