Why I Killed Romanticism

It was me, in the study, with the candlestick. I killed my own romanticism. The good news is that I replaced it with something much, much better. 

As the multitude of angsty love journals hidden in my parents’ attic can attest to, I used to be quite the romantic. I suppose that was part of growing up a confused teenager with a fascination for writing. It also didn’t help that in middle and high school I listened to a lot of Taking Back Sunday and Dashboard Confessional. Yeah, I was one of those kids. 

Phrases like, “the truth is you could slit my throat, and with my one last gasping breath I’d apologize for bleeding on your shirt” (from the TBS song You’re so Last Summer) were mainstays in my emotional vernacular. 

However, despite the rollercoasters of middle/high school I always maintained the sort of fierce romantic optimism that all of your friends make fun of. Despite being turned down by just about every girl I’d ever met because I was always more of the friend type, I somehow believed that the perfect woman was out there and I would one day find her. 

I used to believe that love was the sort of emotion which cured all imperfections. That when two people, who were made for one another, made it past the friends stage and into love (the greatest difficulty of my life) all of life’s troubles floated away. 

It wasn’t until last year that I learned that the beauty of love is that it is a choice–a decision. 

There were a few girls in high school whom I told I loved. Part of me wishes I could go back and take those words from my pubescent lips so I could have used them on someone who really deserves to hear it. My fascination with girls was that they were beautiful, fun, and very physically attractive. Therefore desireable. 

Love happened to me on a daily basis. I felt like Romeo in that I was overtaken by the desires of my ‘heart’ almost hourly. Just like Romeo, I was a fool–a kid who didn’t know any better. 

Brittany (my girlfriend) and I were friends for a very long time before we started dating. I spent the better part of four years trying to convince her that we were perfect for each other (notice a trend?), before she realized the potential in our relationship. Please keep in mind that she was absolutely right about the timing of our relationship and that I will no doubt get flack for simplifying the beauty of our struggle into that one sentence. But If I type any more words about us, there won’t be any stopping me.

Dating Brittany has been the most wonderful experience because I’ve learned that love doesn’t happen to you, you make it happen. I really wish that I had a great story which illustrated that point, but it honestly wasn’t that dramatic. 

One day Britt and I were talking and I realized that love hadn’t hit me with her like it did all those flings of high school. Don’t get me wrong, she’s my favorite person in the world and has been my best friend for years. But when we started dating, it wasn’t because of romanticism. 

There were no doves, no stars crossing, no flowers. It was just a phone call. 

So I killed romanticism. I laid my notions of being swept away to rest, and replaced them with the fierce commitment to make it work with one person. Falling in love is fun, but choosing to stay in love is beautiful.

That’s something I’ve always seen in my parents relationship. They married when my dad was 18 and my mom was 21. Despite being broke Bible College students, they decided to make it work and 24 years later they’re still doing the exact same thing. 

I’m starting to think that it’s not about finding the person who’s perfect, that one fated lover. But rather it’s all about finding someone who you have fun with, who you love, and then deciding that come hell or high water, you’re going to fight for that person for the rest of your life. 

By now you’ve probably realized I’m still a romantic; I’m just a different kind. 

I hope this post isn’t too scattered to understand, it all kind of came out in a different way than usual. Thanks for reading. 

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2 responses to “Why I Killed Romanticism

  1. What a neat post. The whole thing resonated with me. I am also a romantic and I’ve kinda been in that rut for awhile. Love hasn’t “happened” to me yet, and that’s how I’ve always thought about it (without realizing that’s what I was thinking- just continuing to put it in that frame of reference in my mind, whether it’s true or not). What you had to say was important and I appreciate it! I wish you and Brittany all the best.

  2. “Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling…Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go…But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense -love as distinct from “being in love”- is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God… “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it all. -C.S.Lewis

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