As seen on elephant journal.
–Falling in love, Staying in love, Growing your love, Enjoying your love.
“I believe in love.” Sometimes I can’t believe that I would ever say, or rather write, those words.
Having been burned by men, time and time again, I resigned myself to become the cool, single, Aunt who would have a great house and lots super-awesome dogs. I decided to lock my heart up with the cynical belief that love isn’t real. The disney movies, the romance novels, it was all BS. (I decided to look into myself and build my love from the inside out—but hold up! That is a journey for a whole other blog post!)
Anyway, when I least expected it, I realized I was locked in the front cart of the Roller Coaster ride called love—and I couldn’t hop off. Now looking back, I see what the course of love was for me and, although I am convinced the path is different for everyone, I wish I could have had someone give me a peek into what falling in love—real love—is like. So this post is for those of you who are curious, like me, to hear one person’s experience of falling in love, staying in love, growing your love, and enjoying your love.
Here’s a little background. I fell in love with my best friend. We had known each other for many years, there had always been the undercurrent of chemistry, then one day it just ignited. We have been blessed with many more years, travels, experiences, and challenges together. I count my blessings everyday for the man that asked me to be his wife a year ago. I now know what true love—real love—is. Thank you, babe.
Alright, so after some thought, the closest thing I found to use to describe what my story of love is like, was an Amusement Park. Hey now, before you get all excited for fun and games, remember that amusement parks also terrify, create frustration and anxiety, and sometimes make you want to throw up.
A Roller Coaster is what I equate to falling in love. It is a delicious mix of pheromones, hormones, and chemistry. Anticipation, breathlessness, excitement, arousal, and a lot of energetic feelings swimming around in your mind, your heart, your belly, and of course below the belt—if you catch my drift.
I felt so swept away. Our roller coaster was jam packed with the highest of highs, lowest of lows, and probably some loop-dee-loops. The moments of butterflies in your stomach, the tightness deep in your belly, the desire to devour all the love you can get your hands on. The out of breath moments—excitement, frustration, lust, happiness. The date nights and especially the morning afters. The smiles that greet you every morning knowing you are with the man that makes your heart beat a staccato rhythm, even with a few skipped beats. We did crazy things, had ridiculous fun, cried from sorrow and laughter and everything in between. Everything that was not-so-pleasant, confusing, or even down right terrible, was viewed through the tint of rose coloured glasses, sunsets, and sparks. The momentum from my fall off the peak of love carried me through, rushing down the tracks of the roller coaster, spinning and soaring, dipping and flying.
But then, about a year later, the roller coaster slowed due to friction. I had these thoughts come creeping in.
Does that mean that this is over? Am I out of love? This isn’t so easy anymore. Is this relationship done?
After the intense roller coaster beginning, the ups the downs, the crazy-ment, the struggles had finally come in. This part of my path (staying in love) I equate to the Fun House, and if I’m being completely honest, sometimes the House of Mirrors and even Horrors! Trying to weave our way through the maze of twists, turns, corners, and challenges. Declaring what we need, what we will not accept, what we desire, what we are capable of giving, and what we are willing to do. The back and forth volley of revealing ourselves to each other. The tug of war game of finding a middle ground all whilst adjusting to the uncomfortable feeling of showing who we are and who we are discovering ourselves to be. We held on tightly to each other, either by wrestling to get through it or embracing each other once we had a reprieve. This part of our path was a tense tango of adjustments, concessions, compromises, arguments, and beautiful, passionate, making up.
It took about another year to realize that we were slowly learning the game of these challenges.
We started to discover ourselves and, in the process, discovered the inner workings of our relationship.
We began to see these challenges we overcame as the start of a solid foundation to rest our relationship upon. I like to see this period, growing our love, as the Arcade and Games. We were slowly learning to rely on and trust each other as teammates and approaching the challenges together. Overcoming these obstacles, building brick after brick of experience to add to our foundation. We went from experience to experience learning what we could. We had spent a couple of years battling through the “Arcade Games” of life. We decided to use each challenge we encountered to bring us closer as a team, to teach us more about ourselves and each other.Some of the “Arcade Games” we approached brought us joy, excitement, and happiness. Others brought us frustration, pain and fear—sometimes it even brought us close to an end in our relationship.
There are many factors that make it easy to walk away from a relationship during this “Arcade” time. It played on our patience with each other, our insecurities, our flaws. At times, we both questioned if we were the best teammates for each other. By not straying, a lot of communication and ultimately, by working together and supporting one another, this phase would bring us a deeper sense of love and a proposal to marriage. Whether it was a painful or pleasant experience, we decided to try our best to commit, and use this Arcade of experiences to add to the foundation we had built together, making what we had rock solid.
Slowly we realized we had ventured out of the Arcade and found ourselves drawn to cruising the Ferris Wheel. We had reached a point in our love, past the crazy Roller Coaster, past the sometimes scary Fun Houses, and past the life battles in the Arcade.
We found ourselves at a place side by side, as equals.
At a place where we felt like we were cruising in the clouds and touching down to the ground every so often. At the top, we could get a birds eye view of the history of our love. We could reminisce about the amazing Roller Coaster, we could laugh and shake our heads about the Fun Houses, and appreciate the games and lessons learned at the Arcade. When we touched down, we could grasp the foundation that has been holding our love strong and float up again to rest in the pleasure of our love.
This phase, enjoying your love, feels a lot like a warm day in the sunshine, feeling the most content and peaceful. This phase in love comes with a deep rooted sense of love, of belonging, of satisfaction. It’s real and tangible like a strong, constant embrace. The steady ascent and descent of the Ferris Wheel is the phase my man and I are at now in our journey of love. I still get the sense of sadness, and sometimes fear, if our swing starts rocking as we descend, and I still get the sense of butterflies fluttering in my stomach and excitement when we begin to ascend again.
And those precious moments, paused at the top of the Ferris Wheel, where we can see the whole “Amusement Park”, are wondrous. They take my breath away. You can see that love is real.
So there you have it, my Amusement Park of love, up to date. I am sure there will be more rides we will climb on to as we go through the journey of life and marriage together. I can’t even imagine what sort of ride we will be on if we are blessed to have children. —Probably one that will make me throw up for sure. Hahaha! I hope this post has given someone the hope that real love does exist—with all of the fun, terror, ups, downs, commitment, and joy. Maybe my path will be, or has been similar, to yours and on the other hand, it could be completely different. That’s the beauty of love I am beginning to realize, that it is a rare and amazing thing, that hardly happens the same way twice!
So if you realize you are trapped on that Roller Coaster, take a breath. It’s normal. When you realize you are in the Fun Houses, hold on tightly to each other. When you are battling life together in the Arcade, communicate and learn from your teammate. Or if you find yourself at a place of strong love, camaraderie and peace on the Ferris Wheel, pause. Take in how the whole Amusement Park all added up and contributed to your path in love.
You will realize it’s not scary, it’s actually kind of beautiful.