Is there such a thing as love at first sight?
This depends upon what you mean by “love.” Many people think of love as an intoxicating emotion. If that’s love, then plenty of people experience “love” at first sight. But if love is the virtue of doing what’s best for the other, then most people don’t even think of it when they first meet a person.
Usually, “love at first sight” is when two people are immediately infatuated, and the relationship ends up working out. But the reason it worked out is not because of that intense first impression, but because they decided to love each other, even when the infatuation faded.
Occasionally, you have the immediate infatuation that ends up becoming a 75-year marriage. Other times, two people experience an immediate infatuation and they jump into a relationship, but it putters out when the feelings fade. On other occasions, people experience an immediate attraction, but they never officially meet!
What really matters is not that we long for a fairy tale “love at first sight” romance, but that we remain open to what God has in mind for us. He is the author of romance, and his will for us is perfect. The closer we cleave to him, the more our hands will be open to receive the gifts he wishes to give us.
With all that having been said, I do admit that during my very first conversation when I met my wife Crystalina, I thought to myself, “Should I tell her now, or later, that I am going to marry her?” I didn’t tell her this until a year later, and she shared with me that the same thought passed through her mind during the same conversation. I think one reason for this is that we were both taking a clear break from relationships in our lives to pursue the will of God, free from distractions. I had been away from the dating scene for about a year, and she had been free from it for three years. Without question, this season of singleness and prayerfulness gave us more clarity. But, what makes our marital relationship last isn’t the mysterious feeling we had when we first saw each other. The foundation of our union is the day-to-day sacrifices to love the other with plenty of patience and forgiveness.
As Archbishop Fulton Sheen wrote:
“The greatest illusion of lovers is to believe that the intensity of their sexual attraction is the guarantee of the perpetuity of their love. It is because of this failure to distinguish between the glandular and spiritual—or between sex which we have in common with animals, and love which we have in common with God—that marriages are so full of deception. What some people love is not a person, but the experience of being in love. The first is irreplaceable; the second is not. As soon as the glands cease to react with their pristine force, couples who identified emotionalism and love claim they no longer love one another. If such is the case they never loved the other person in the first place; they only loved being loved, which is the highest form of egotism.”