Forget Love, You Better Like the One You’re With!

Love is friendship caught on fire.
— Jeremy Taylor

Anyone who knows me knows that my husband and I were friends for 3 years before we started dating. I tease him relentlessly to this day about him just wanting to be friends and how unaware he was that I always wanted more. But as much as I wanted to date him (I was crushing on him pretty hard back then) I’m glad that we took the years as friends and confidantes to really get to know each other.  

We met freshman year of college at URI and we almost immediately had a connection. We would stay up really late either talking on the phone or IMing on AIM (yes, this was the prehistoric times before texts and Snapchat) about all kinds of things: news, politics, our classes, favorite hobbies, etc. My favorite conversations with him though were always the philosophical ones when we would talk about the personal belief systems we had. So many of these discussions would start with us asking each other questions like “does God really exist; is there really another galaxy out there just like ours with life on it; would we ever want to be born in a different time” and then we’d have a long debate on how we felt or what we would do. These are still some of my most cherished memories of the beginning of the most important relationship of my life. We found that our views on many important topics were similar, but he always (and still does!) challenged me on my strongly held beliefs. He still is the best person I know at playing devil’s advocate. And to be honest this is what has made our eventual falling in love, relationship, and marriage withstand some tough adversaries.  

It was during the years of friendship that I grew to genuinely like my husband as a person. I could see that behind his stoic presence that he was gentle, kind, and capable of more than he thought. My husband is also calm and level-headed, a drastic contrast to my outgoing and over-the-top personality (I blame it on my mama!) and he is both able to bring me back down to earth while also pushing back enough to help me see things from a different perspective.  

Love is an amazing thing. It has the power to bring people together, to change people’s minds and to change the world. But it’s also very complicated and sometimes it makes us do crazy things, stupid things, or even bad things. There is no doubt that I love my husband very much, but I believe our relationship has thrived because we actually like each other, because we respect each other as individuals, and we want to be partners on the journey of life together. 

Over the summer my best friend got married and during my toast, I read this poem, words that struck a chord in me, in an “ah-ha!” kind of way, that I think perfectly describes how I interpret romantic love and the comfort and happiness that can come from being “in like”:

“Love is a temporary madness,
It erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
And when it subsides you have to make a decision.
You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness,
It is not excitement,
It is not the promulgation of eternal passion.
That is just being “in love” which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
And this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
And when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches,
They find that they are one tree and not two.” - Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

I hope that everyone has a chance to fall in perfect “like” with someone else and to find happiness and contentment of being with someone you admire. And Happy Valentine’s Day to my sweet husband, I like you a lot!