Infatuation is a Choice

I’m utterly, stupidly, wildly infatuated with my wife, Nicole. Honestly, it’s silly how ridiculously in love I am with her and how good we have it together.

Of course, I know that love and infatuation are not the same thing.

In my experience, I’ve heard people talk regularly about how “love is a choice.” Love is exemplified in the daily decisions to choose kindness and stick it out with people, even when the going gets tough. I’ve read books on it. I’ve preached it. I understand the general sentiment.

On the flip side, I’ve come across people who think of infatuation as little more than butterflies in the stomach. It generates waves of intense emotion and attraction that can’t be helped in the midst of such experience. There’s no control. It overpowers someone. One can either give into or resist it, but many believe it’s impossible to invoke the feeling.

Back to my wife and me. Over the years, upon viewing our marriage firsthand, we’ve had tons of people say to us, “You’re lucky.” I agree. I scored big time. But honestly, what we have is something beyond luck. And as meaningful and enduring as love is, I believe we have something different than that, too. Quite simply, we’re infatuated with each other.

How can that be after nearly twelve-years of marriage, three kids, and all the ups and downs life brings over time?

It’s like kindling

If love is the fat, long-lasting log that keeps the fire and coals burning hot, infatuation can be likened to the kindling that stokes that fire. Both are important. And yes, love is the more important equation in the mix.

Just as with any romance, after a fire has burned a while, the heat dies down. The light from the flame dims. It takes work to step away from the warm comfort of a campfire and seek out the little stuff that will burn up quickly and add fuel to the flame. But that is exactly what it takes to keep a fire burning bright. Sparks fly when kindled.

Romantic messages and notes. Flowers and gifts. Massages and candlelight. Talking about Nicole as I would my girlfriend. Vacations and spa days. Weekly date nights. Making out at the movies. Dancing in the kitchen. Showering together. Extravagance. All of this bolsters the flame of our love even all these years later. In fact, to kindle our romance this way even returns me to feeling those same overpowering emotions I felt in the beginning. Not always, but much more than some might expect.

Of course, it takes more than romantic gestures to build and maintain a healthy relationship. But this is key for us personally. As short as it may last, I will never give up on seeking out the little stuff, the kindling. The fire of our love for one another burns hotter, brighter, and longer as a result.

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