If someone tells you love is a feeling that sparks in the gut and blooms into an absolute sense of magical knowing that spurts rainbows around your heart, they are so full of shit.
A long-term relationship is the ultimate definition of love. It is a choice. It is work. It is action. It is a job. Trust me. I’ve been working my ass off for over twenty years. But it is a job that comes with incomparable benefits (Yes, let your mind go there. That’s exactly what I mean). More on benefits in a moment.
Every relationship is furrowed with trenches. And guaranteed, you’ll tumble into the trenches and maybe even fall out of love. That’s okay. As long as both of you don’t fall out at the same time, the other will be there, waiting until you find your way back. He/she might even offer a hand to help you up.
Uh oh. Where the hell is this coming from? Well, since I’m writing a romantic manuscript, I’ve spent a lot of time evaluating the elusive concept of love. Real love. Not the culture in romance novels. Not the drugging addiction in the infancy of commitment. I’m trying to capture the real love that can only be found in the back-breaking, sun-spotted, nagging, I’ve-been-doing-this-for-twenty-years-dammit chosen role in a relationship worn by time and apathy.
If you’ve been married as long as I have, you know these trenches intimately. You’re either wallowing in one now, or you’ve recently climbed out, or you’re about to fall and you don’t realize it yet. Yeah, I sound fatalistic. Accept it. Deal with it. And this is how:
Have lots and lots and lots of sex. Make it the first thing you do when you get home from work and the last thing you do before you go to bed. I recommend the just-woke-up-and-late-for-work sex, too. When you’re in a trench and feeling particularly hateful, drag the source of all the world’s problems into the bedroom. I bet you’re not hating him/her as much twenty minutes later. (And if your partner isn’t cooperating, this is where the job comes in. Seduce him/her, you lazy ass.)
Am I delusional? Probably. But not about this. A friend of mine sent me a message today to thank me for giving her the “have lots and lots of sex” advice a couple years ago. She fell into that impending rut and tackled it by challenging herself to seven days of sex. At the end, she was healed. And whenever the next rut comes, she just recharges with sex. Done. “Emotional issues clarified.” <–Her words. Smart girl.
I have a lot of ideas about why this works. It pulls you out of your unproductive head. It keeps you connected to your partner when all the other messy connections are unraveling. It shows devotion where words and emotions fail. And it’s the most primitive, natural, and intimate thing two adults can do together.
Sex is the fringe benefit, one that is too often overlooked. The job requirements include (but are not limited to): communication, trust, patience, tolerance, open-mindedness…seduction.
So, the next time you fall, lose your connection, and feel like choking him as soon as you look at him, then choke him while you’re straddling him. Oh! There’s the connection you were missing.
Now, tell me. What is love? The best answer wins a Guinness (I’ll drink it in your honor).