We love the notion of falling in love, but there’s a danger to it.

The beauty and joy of falling in love is what makes so many of our novels and movies so popular. Your mind probably went to the genre of romantic comedy, but even a lot of action and drama films carry the plot or subplot of someone falling in love.

Casablanca (1942) – My favorite movie containing romance

The 1994 movie Speed was an action film about a city bus wired to explode if its speed fell below 50 miles per hour. The 1995 action film Twister was about … well, twisters. But both stories contained that element of two people finding each other (or reconnecting) and, in spite of the explosions and flying cows, romance ensued. Finding each other and falling in love is so prevalent in our movies that most of us don’t consider it out of place in an action flick.

Our culture is in love with the idea of falling in love. The hunt, the chase, the spark, the growing awareness that someone besides my mother loves me. It’s all so … well, romantic.

So what’s the problem?

Popular culture leads us to focus on the hunt, the chasing of each other, the initial thrill, and the excitement of a first kiss—all those things that are a part of “falling in love.” But if we’re not careful that becomes the sum total of what it means to be in love. And if that’s all we see love as, what happens when the thrill of those early days—the “falling in love” part—fades?

Too many people assume they’ve fallen out of love. I don’t love you anymore. I don’t love you like I thought I did.

This is a reason for a lot of marriage breakups. They miss the thrill falling in love gave them. As my friend Jerald says, “Moonlight and roses turns into daylight and dishes.”  Many a husband or wife has walked away because they found someone else who gives them that old thrill. And so they “fall in love” again, get married, settle into a routine, and realize the love has faded … again.

The intensity of “falling in love” does fade and change—and that should be seen as a good thing.

I also love the thrill of a good roller coaster, but I don’t want to ride it forever. Many years ago, my publishing team did a special photoshoot of students on a roller coaster. We made arrangements with an amusement park to get there before the park opened and they would operate the ride for us. We loaded a handful of teenagers and a couple of adults (including me) onto the roller coaster and let it go—eight times to be exact. To capture just the right shot at the right moment, we just stayed on the ride which never slowed at the loading platform. Eight times my internal organs experienced things they should only experience maybe once. We were all ready to get off.

The initial act of falling love is a thrill too. It can be intense. But it’s not all there is. Far from it.

I’m glad I fell in love with my wife, Mary. But I’m also glad I’ve moved beyond the falling part. Love has become something deeper, something richer, something that Hollywood has a hard time capturing. I still make romantic gestures to her (read here), doing those occasional unexpected things that are supposed to scream “I love you.” But I also love her by providing an income, a stable life, a sense of security because we face the challenges of life together. And I take the trash out without being told. (She likes that.)

So go ahead: fall in love. But don’t stay there. Go deeper. Love deeper.

Scripture paints the perfect picture of what love should look like. Of course, we see this most fully in Christ’s unalterable love for us, but it’s a love we are called to express.

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:4-7).

Please don’t fall in love with falling in love. You’ll miss the greater joy.

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