” … such a beautiful view with a long way to fall …
i was afraid how it could hurt to leave the safety up above
but if it doesn’t, it’s not love.” — sean watkins, not sure

is falling in love a myth?


no, really. click that link and read pages 72-73 of this issue of relevant magazine. it’s an article by debra k. fileta about falling in love and what “love” as a word, concept and action really means. whether you agree with her or disagree, it’s good food for thought.

so the question is — what do i think about this notion of falling in love?

my first answer is i’m not sure i can discuss it because i haven’t experienced it. i am well-schooled in the hollywood, storybook idea of falling in love. i don’t know about the falling part — but love? pretty sure i’ve never truly loved anyone in the romantic sense.

my second answer is that i hate falling. i’ve had too many head injuries.

but let’s go back and talk about love.

1 corinthians 13 is one of the most famous passages of the bible devoted to love. there are lots of others, of course, but 1 corinthians 13 is read at weddings a lot and hung up on walls in the form of counted cross-stitch samplers. here’s how eugene peterson words the attributes of love in his bible paraphrase “the message”:

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

love is not about me; love is about you. love is ultimately about Him. so, romantic love, for me, is two imperfect sinners, who have undeservedly been ransomed from death and transformed into beloved children of God, seeking true life and happiness in Him together for the rest of their lives on earth. i think it must be a very deep, rich, wild, multifaceted thing when it is being lived out the way God intended.

now let’s talk about falling.

fileta says “falling in love” is the idea of something over which you have no control, a “feeling of the heart that cannot be resisted.” so basically, if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen, and you can’t do anything about it, sucker.

i had to memorize a monologue (or soliloquy?) once in which my character tried to figure out why she loved another character. she said “i think i love him because he his masculine — and because he is mine. there is no other reason, i suppose. … but one thing i’m sure of — this kind of love is not the product of reasoning or statistics. it just comes — who knows from where — and cannot explain itself. and doesn’t need to.”

i’m not sure how far i’d trust the argument of this passage (it’s an extract of mark twain, for the sake of reference), but i think it does have a good point in that people don’t love each other through means of scientific theorems or experimentation. the first is sterile and the second could be wanton. besides, if we relied solely on logic, would anybody love anybody? we’re a bunch of pretty unlovable people, and we’re great at hurting each other. is it logical that holy God should love sinful man? no — that’s why francis chan wrote a book called “crazy love.” (i need to put that book on my reading list.)

i think there is, however, a necessary element of logical deliberation. there is, perhaps, a time to be impulsive, but there’s also a time to think things through. there’s a time to be level-headed and clear-eyed, to consider what will most glorify God and most increase the love for Him of the person you’re loving toward.

but at the same time, love is crazy, it is wild — it is safe and it isn’t.

as much as i love black and white answers, i’m finding there are more shades of gray than i thought. is this something that needs a conclusive yes-or-no answer? i don’t think so.

but what was requested was my opinion, so here it is:

truly “falling in love” is the conscious, deliberate decision to take someone’s hand and jump off a cliff together into the boundless depths of God’s love.

will that do?