“I’m desperately in love with you!” Taylor Swift sang from the country radio station I was listening to. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Taylor’s music, but these words just struck me in a way they never had before. Being a marriage counselor for the last 7 years has definitely changed my perspective of what love is!
I’m sure I’ve heard the phrase in numerous love songs over the years, but now, from the therapist’s chair, being ‘desperately in love’ with someone is not a good, or healthy, thing at all! Being desperate in love causes a great deal of conflict, drama, and pain. If you are desperate for your partner’s love, you will do things you never thought you’d do in order to keep that love . . . and you are in for a lot of pain!
Desperate love is fierce, anxious, crazy, uncertain, conflict-ridden, volatile, depressed, unsafe, and, while there are some really good times, eventually the bad outweighs the good – by far. It is like an addiction, you feel like you can’t live without it! If the love is desperate, it is not a choice, it is a compulsion. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have someone love me as a conscious choice, not out of desperation!
I believe that love is meant to be calm, steady, thoughtful, cooperative, compassionate, safe, and sure. If we go back to the definition of love that is quoted at so many weddings, we find a blueprint to follow that most of us forget before the honeymoon is over. . . Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Cor 13:4-7)
I’ve seen far too many people stuck on the battlefield of desperate love. You can have healthier love in your life, but it starts by changing your definition of love. If you are seeking the desperate, love-song version of love, you’re going to get the despair and angst that comes with it. If you want healthy, steady love that you can count on, begin by loving your partner with a healthier definition of love. You get to choose.