The pursuit of love: the flowers, the candlelight dinners, the stargazing, the lazy movie nights, the nights out on the town…it’s all so exciting and new! You skim the surface of the mystery of this stranger—excited by what you see, and wanting to know more. You think about each other when you are apart, and you come up with countless excuses to be together.
Yet what happens if you fast-forward this relationship a few years? I’ve noticed some similar patterns can occur among those that are still together. However, I would like to focus on one pattern in particular that I think is often ignored…
In this kind of relationship, the physical pursuit has remained mostly unchanged. You still say “I love you,” you go on dates, you do nice things for each other, you see each other a lot… etc. Maybe the physical pursuit has expanded to include physical intimacy in one way or another. The relationship continues on like this for months or years. The problem is, neither person has known quite how to word the longing that they have been feeling in their hearts all along; a desire for more. Not more flowers, not more gifts, not more romantic dates even—but more heart, more depth. Yet they have everything love should look like on the outside, so why would either one complain, right?
Without even realizing how it has happened, they suddenly look up and see that they do not know the person that they have claimed to love all these years. Neither knows the thoughts the other thinks throughout the day, nor the worries that burden their hearts. They do not know the times each other have cried, or the moments that made them smile. They do not know the places in the other that are still broken from the past, or the hopes that they have for the future. Neither even knows if they are truly loved by the other, though they’ve heard it said many times before.
Why does this happen?
Perhaps it is because the physical pursuit has eclipsed the pursuit of the heart. Here’s the thing about humanity—we are embodied souls. There is so much more to us than what meets the eye, and we long to be known for who we truly are. However when we do not take the time to pursue the depth of another—the unseen mystery—we fall back on what is easy, what is seen.
Movies, books, and media all tell us that to love someone means to buy them nice gifts, take them on fancy dates, and be sexually intimate with them. But they are not talking about love at all.
Dates, flowers, and cute gifts or gestures can all mean love, but only if it is through genuine love that they are given. The acts themselves do not inherently mean anything. An act is given its meaning by the intent with which it is done, the purpose for which it is instigated, and the greater truth that it expresses. When we just go through the motions of ‘love,’ we rarely ever find it.
Think of the people in your life that you truly love. Your mom? Your best friend? Your sibling? God? You love the people in your life who you feel truly know the real you, and love the real you. These are the people that you want to share your life with.
It is certainly no different when it comes to discerning marriage with someone, and seeking to possibly become one with them. We cannot let the physical pursuit take over our relationships. Speak up when you feel this way, because chances are you aren’t the only one feeling distant. Then make a change and choose times throughout the week to talk, share, and pray together. This is so vital to building and maintaining this foundational pursuit.
We have been created with beautiful mystery. Just as the mystery of our Creator is a pursuit that will take an eternity, each new layer of us contains more beauty and truth than the one before it. As a relationship progresses, more and more is revealed, as long as we are careful to make this the focus of our relationships.
Then if your relationship leads to Holy Matrimony one day, you can stand at the alter and say ‘I Do,’ and look into the eyes and heart of the other, knowing that you are truly ready to commit to those vows, and to a life of continuously pursuing the mystery within them.
Kaylin Koslosky is finishing up her final year at Colorado State University, and is beginning her new journey as a high school science teacher. She loves hiking and being outdoors, and is passionate about sharing the beauty of Christ and this world with others. She is the co-author of “Daughter of the King: Wait, Where’s My Crown?!” and co-founder of www.restoreyourcrown.com with her best friend, Megan Finegan.