by Aja Dorsey Jackson
Negative images of love and marriage are visible almost everywhere you look. On the other hand, we hold true love up to these impossible ideals, leading us to believe that anything falling short of those isn’t true love. I have recently begun to pay more attention to some of the common sayings and ideas about love and come to realize that a lot of them just don’t make any sense.
“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”
I was online looking at reactions to this quote and there were several that suggested that with true love there should never be any reason to have to say sorry because you wouldn’t hurt one another. I can’t think of any eloquent way to say how I feel about that suggestion so I will just say: That’s crap. In reality love means having to say you’re sorry. Love means having to say you’re sorry sometimes when you don’t even feel like saying sorry just to keep the peace. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean you are no longer human and therefore incapable of inflicting pain on the person you love. Often lines get crossed and we hurt one another unknowingly. Sometimes we hurt one another out of anger. It inevitably happens, and being able to recognize that and include the words “I’m sorry” in your vocabulary can be an important part of keeping your love life intact.
“When you know, you just know.”
The problem that I have with this quote is that it seems to assume that love always strikes like a lightning bolt and then feels undeniably certain from there on out. While I am not saying that it cannot happen like this, I don’t think that it is everyone’s experience. Love, especially when it comes to marriage, can be scary. As sure as I was that I wanted to get married, there were moments leading up to our wedding that I felt uncertain and afraid. I remember talking to a married friend about it who told me “You’re about to vow to spend the rest of your life with someone. It’s supposed to be scary.” Knowing that it was okay for love to come with a little bit of fear made me feel better about my nervousness when it came to taking the plunge.
“True love at first sight”
There are undoubtedly people who met and say they have fallen in love at first sight and have gone on to stay together for a lifetime. I won’t say that this is impossible just because it has never happened to me. What I will say is that whatever that initial feeling is, whether it is love, lust or some combination, is a feeling and is not the same love that it takes to maintain a relationship for a lifetime. That initial love feeling is something that you somehow slip, fall and end up in. But the true love that comes from commitment really is a choice. True love to me is a decision to love someone through your actions, regardless of how tender and loving you may feel in that moment. I don’t know if that level of true love is something that happens upon the first meeting.
Do you have anything to add to my list of romantic myths?
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