The other day the commonly used phrase ‘falling in love’ came up in conversation. It had never occurred to me how accurate this phrase was in vividly describing the phenomena. I know what you may be thinking, but unfortunately, this won’t be a deeply romantic and personal post, but rather a post that I hope will encourage you to think as it has made me think. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that in 2015 there were 113,595 marriages registered and 48,517 divorces granted in Australia. That is approximately one divorce for every two marriages. With odds like that it is not surprising that my generation are a little scared and tentative of the concept of marriage.
Now people don’t just fall in love they also ‘fall out of love’. But I would like to propose that people don’t ‘fall out of love’, but rather they hit the inevitable (romantic love) floor that they were always falling towards. The idea of falling conjures up the image of someone free falling in my mind. It is exciting, the adrenaline is pumping and the longer you fall the more speed and momentum you gather and as you accelerate it becomes harder and harder to stop. Then wham, you hit the floor! The romantic love has died. The intense feelings of euphoria that once bound the relationship tightly have now eroded away. For many this proves to be the demise of the relationship. Lacking a firm relational foundation apart from emotions sends both parties plummeting into the ground – total destruction. I have never married, so I might not be a great authority on the matter, but I believe there are parachutes we can deploy that will make the landing smoother for us and ensure that hitting the ground is not destructive, but instead the start of a new adventure.
Tim’s thoughts on relational parachutes
1. Discuss often and frequently what you stand for! In the state of initial euphoria you mightn’t think that differences in belief will be a problem – but they will be! So talk about them with a willingness to listen and with an open mind.
2. Intentionally make the effort to learn about your partner’s interests and goals. You mightn’t be an expert, but taking the time to learn about the interests of your partner is a great way of entering in their world and expressing to them how much you care.
3. Exercise together and enjoy the outdoors. This is revitalising and keeps your body and mind healthy.
4. Find mutual activities that you can do together to help others. Having an outward focus not only helps keep things in perspective, there is also much joy to be experienced from doing so.
5. Find activities you can do apart from one another (sounds weird, but it is so important).
6. Read and discuss books with one another. Engage one another on an intellectual level and learn from one another.