Marriage, Romance and Companionship


#1

I used to think that companionship was what mattered in a lasting marriage, two people who could be friends and understand eachother, respect eachothers’ differences, and see eachother as ideal parents for their children.

Then I met a woman I fell madly, crazily in love with, someone I couldn’t imagine spending a moment away from. She also understood me as a friend, and we had some things in common, but we were just incredibly ‘in love’ in the way that all the romantic poets and love songs describe it. We got engaged, but the engagement ended badly, mostly through my fault.

Now I’m not sure how to get back to just wanting companionship. I’m sure if I did meet a woman now, one I have things in common with, who I can pray with and support and be a father to her children, I’d still feel like I was missing something unless it had that giddy romantic, can’t-keep-our-lips-off-eachother feeling that I had with my fiancee. I know I won’t feel that for anybody else, so I know if I’m to marry, it’s got to be to someone who will be a faithful companion, and just that. There are many such good women at the University parish where I regularly worship, and I’d love to be able to start discerning whether I’m to marry one of them, but it seems unfair, both to them and to me, to deprive them of this romantic love I felt for my fiancee. I don’t feel that way about any of them, and never would.

Realistically, I know that historically-speaking most married couples had only the love of companionship, growing into a mature agape through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, and this hollywood romantic nonsense doesn’t figure in God’s plan for faithful husbands, wives and parents.

How do I get back to having my feet on the ground? Should I just accept that I missed my chance and resign myself to being single now? Should I look for that spark again, even though it was more eros than agape?


#2

#3

" this hollywood romantic nonsense doesn’t figure in God’s plan for faithful husbands, wives and parents".

Says who?
Look brother… I am at the exact same spot that you are in.
falling in love about one year ago at 25 was… like lightning… kissing was like…hey I just found the reason why the universe is expanding… endless love poetry was written and sent… roses were picked in nature and given… running through a whole city to get a climpse of the other person before going to bed at night… emotions that… cannot even be written in human language. Falling in love like that… you can hardly breathe at times and you think: I am doomed! and you yell from the roof tops: “I am in love!” (while the world thought I was mad… But what a wonderful horrible lightning).
I cant regret falling in love like that, even if it has brought so many tears.

No brother… let the good ladies find that love that makes the whole world seem new and fresh every morning when you wake up… you know what Kierkegaard said? He said that poets are the priests of love… That means they must serve that vocation… give those sacrifices and live through the fear and trembling that comes with such love… and they must be apologets for that love… so when others try to diminish it we have to say: no, you dont know what you are saying… this was not low and vile, it was a wonderful miracle…

As for me I have prayed to God to send me a good man in due time and one criteria is that I fall in love… I could settle for nothing less.

One thing keeps me wondering? How did you let such love get out of your hands? You have no obligation to answer of course…

(One thought: do you think us western europeans are more prone to romantic love than the americans… you see many in here will tell you that “love is a choice… not a feeling” and things like that that just sound wrong in my ears …

Peace be with you :thumbsup:


#4

First up, I’m British, not American. If anything, I think it’s the Americans, with their hollywood/Disneyland outlook, and lack of historical grounding, who are more prone to this kind of romanticism.

Second, my fiancee was American, and she had always dreamed of falling madly in love. I think she was too keen to believe that this really was the real thing, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. I reached the stage of the craziness cooling off, and took a decision to stay in love, about 6 months before she began to cool off, and she reached the opposite decision. I honestly think my love for her was stronger after the cooling off than it had been when we first met. I also had a lot of personal issues, I didn’t believe I deserved to be loved, and I didn’t think unconditional love existed. I subconsciously became the worst man you can imagine, and started playing up all my worst qualities and down playing all my best ones, just to see whether she would in fact leave me. In the end, I pushed too hard, and she did leave, and I can’t blame her. At the same time, she had a lot of personal issues, and I was blind to that. The worst thing is, if I’d just been myself, we might still be together.


#5

I know you are British… thats why I said “us”… anyway… I think this falling in love is something quite beyond our control… I know it struck me in the head and I could not believe it when I found out…

why dont you try to win her back?


#6

Believe me, I’ve tried. She’s not ready to trust me again, and I can’t blame her. I will try again if we’re both still single in a year or two, but I think both of us have too many issues to work through, and there were some serious problems too, like the fact that we were never comfortable praying together, had different ideas of what would make us happy in life (adventure/settling down), and couldn’t take decisions together without arguing (both too stubborn), that might make us ill-suited to marriage. Time will tell.

I think part of the problem was that when I tried to get her to take me back, I did it by apologising for everything, blaming myself for everything, and admitting that I had manipulated her from day 1 of our relationship, even though I never did so consciously, and in fact that probably wasn’t true. I just wanted her to know that there was nothing I hadn’t taken responsibility for, nothing I was blaming her for. If you’re already angry at someone and they tell you they’re that evil, you’re likely to believe it, and I think she still believes that. There’s still too much hurt for us to have a meaningful conversation, but maybe in a few years.

Are you still with the man you fell madly in love with? If not, same question, why not?


#7

hmm… hehee… i shouldnt go into that old story now…
lets just say that people cant choose whom they fall for. I always knew there was no way me and this man was compatible… too many huge reasons why… but he was nice to me and I loved him like a big brother who took care of me and encouraged me… I went out to coffee with him without sensing anything…I am so stupid… not very experienced in the area of love. when he told me he was in love I said: “no way there can ever be anything between us.” but a week or so later I felt like I needed him as much as he needed me and I couldnt stand a moment apart from him… really weird… i even did things that people hate to do in order to spent time with him… it was sheer madness…
Had to end!.. shouldn’t have started. he wanted to marry me…
its taken me almost a year to get over it now even though i havent seen him or talked to him on the phone since then… I just have to get more over it for I might see him in a few months time… he said he’d love me forever… oh the things he said…
I shouldnt talk about it.
believe me dear friend … a woman’s dream is to be “romanced” and loved and found to be the most beautiful of all.
Falling in love and being loved back like that… thats so wonderful… but I think i’ll stop this now… I am making a fool of my self…
Sorry I cant tell you what to do in order to straighten things out with your former girl friend… one advice. make no attempt to move on in to another relationship right now… it wont turn out good…

Shalom… bless ya


#8

DL82,

Please get off the romance rollercoster.

When I was younger I really feel for the whole romantic side of Love, but as anyone will tell you, the emotions rarely last. So what happens when the honeymoon is over, two worlds come crashing together.

Real Love in marraige is all about commitment, trust, and wanting the good of the other (not for self).

Any marriage made on these principles will last to the end. Better yet the fuzzy feeling you get will be there to the end if those above are always being expanded/perfected.

Perfect “wanting the good for another” (The true meaning of Love) and great things will happen!

God’s faithful servant
John A. H.


#9

I really fail to understand why romance and true conjugal love should be (or even can be) mutually exclusive. Christian marital love must go beyond romanticism, but I see no reason why we would speak of sacrificial love to the exlcusion of wonderful giddy feelings of love.

Feelings are an important aspect of love. Of course emotions are unlasting and are in a constant state of flux, but they are a real and important aspect of our humanity. If I don’t feel sad at tragedy or happy at joy occasions, there’s something not quite right with me. I would also that someone not emotionally invested in a relationship is missing out. While not the end-all and be-all of true love, romantic feelings are a good and legitmate human response to love. You can’t rely on them like they are love, but they should be there at some points.


#10

ChefEmily

Well said… thats exactly what I think too. I mean… I’d be pretty sad if my future husband would choose to love me and have me as a partner but not be romantically and sexually attracted to me… yes… all has its time… but why deny the authenticity and sacredness of falling in love with the right person at the right time?
I remember when I fell in love with Jesus … we have gone through some heavy trials me and Him… but I would not have missed out on our first honeymoon days :wink:


#11

This would be why…

DL82, you are not over the pain of this breakup yet, and it’s clouding your vision. You can, and probably will, find both agape and eros with the person you marry. You need to hold out for what you value and need, and NOT ignore unacceptable personal failings in people. That is the act of an immature person living on fantasy, not a mature one seeking an appropriate life partner. You also need to be honest about who you are, or you would be swindling someone into love, and even marriage, with a lie, a fake person who does not exist.

My DH and I have been together 15 years, and married for 11 1/2. We have the agape of mutual partnership and mature friendship, along with the eros of passionate love and romance. A good marriage has both, and NEEDS both, to last a lifetime.


#12

ChefEmily, feelings might be a small factor in the aspect of love but not an important one. Love should not rely on feelings. If it was then the word unconditional would never apply to love since feelings can alter one person’s point of view. Love in the other hand does not. If it’s true love (then similar to how angels and demons feel toward God) then it’s one way and it shall remain in that position. What is your definition of romantic feeling???


#13

It ended. It is over. Sticking to it in your mind will not prolong it or give it back. You cannot make it as good as it was before. Only in the future can you find something equally good or better than that. Stick to the future.

Now I’m not sure how to get back to just wanting companionship.

There’s no need to.

I’m sure if I did meet a woman now, one I have things in common with, who I can pray with and support and be a father to her children, I’d still feel like I was missing something unless it had that giddy romantic, can’t-keep-our-lips-off-eachother feeling that I had with my fiancee.

Things do feel that way.

I know I won’t feel that for anybody else,

Hardly true. You will only not feel that for anybody else if you choose not to.

so I know if I’m to marry, it’s got to be to someone who will be a faithful companion, and just that.

I know how it feels to you right now, but if you actually followed on those feelings, it would pretty much be choosing to limit the extent of your new relationship so that you can accommodate some nostalgia for the past one. Don’t. There’s no need to stick to the old romance. Open yourself to the new girl - when you are ready.

There are many such good women at the University parish where I regularly worship, and I’d love to be able to start discerning whether I’m to marry one of them, but it seems unfair, both to them and to me, to deprive them of this romantic love I felt for my fiancee. I don’t feel that way about any of them, and never would.

You get the point of what I said above. You got it before I started talking. :wink: You basically need some time to heal the wounds. Things will be better later. Don’t become bitter.

Realistically, I know that historically-speaking most married couples had only the love of companionship, growing into a mature agape through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, and this hollywood romantic nonsense doesn’t figure in God’s plan for faithful husbands, wives and parents.

Really? I’m not so sure of that. I mean, sure, the standard hollywood nonsense… such nonsense was already around in the middle ages in the form of courtly love. But one doesn’t love a wife as one loves a sister - I mean, it’s not exactly the same. The difference is there.

How do I get back to having my feet on the ground? Should I just accept that I missed my chance and resign myself to being single now? Should I look for that spark again, even though it was more eros than agape?

Don’t resign yourself to anything. Just live on. :wink: Avoid drama and try to live on your daily life. Find something interesting to do. Push forward your job matters (being a provider counts). Learn something. Don’t know… study, acquire a new skill, find a hobby. Your current time will not be given back if you spend it on being sad. :wink:


#14

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.