This piece comes from my sweet work friend, Missy. She made my transition to a new office SO easy and wonderful. She and I instantly became close friends, and even though we don’t work together anymore, we still love chatting and meeting up when we can. Missy is SUCH a hard worker, a talented writer (as you’ll read) and is going to be a FANTASTIC mom in a week or so. I am so lucky to know her, to learn from her, and to get to share her words with you!
Love is supposed to be boring. I’m not talking about the love you see in most romantic comedies. I mean the real kind, the one that lasts. Real love is what keeps people together for sixty plus years and leaves an indentation from their wedding ring on their finger. That’s real love. And the people who have real love, their story isn’t anything extraordinary–and it shouldn’t be.
One of my all-time favorite love stories is Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. If you’re not familiar with the story, let me summarize. Jane Eyre is an orphaned girl who is sent to live with her cruel aunt shortly after her parents die. Her aunt, who isn’t particularly fond of her, sends her to a girl’s school where she spends the rest of her childhood. Upon leaving school, she’s hired by Mr. Rochester to be a teacher and nurse-maid to his young ward. Over time, she falls in love with him and he her. She then accepts his marriage proposal and they begin preparing for marriage. However, something happens that forces them apart and she leaves. She takes a job in a new town and tries to get over him. She spends a year or two away from him, but never stops loving him. Eventually, she makes her way back to him and they live happily ever after.
This may not sound like the most exciting of stories, but again, it’s one of my favorites. Let me explain. Most of this story takes place at Thornfield, Mr. Rochester’s home. Jane spends her days teaching and caring for a young French girl. Mr. Rochester takes care of the estate and maintaining his social life. Their paths rarely cross, and when they do, it’s mostly professional. Though, there are times where they discuss novels, nature, or the outside world. It’s in those moments that you begin to see Jane fall in love with him. And he her.
The way Bronte describes these little moments are beautiful! She does a fantastic job of creating this deep, passionate love in these fleeting moments. A single glance or a short conversation is enough to see the depth of their love. The whole story is told from Jane’s perspective so you get to see just how much those little moments affect her. And it’s beautiful! That is exactly why I love this story so much. There’s no big romantic gesture, no elaborate schemes. It’s just the day-to-day, simple, mundane, boring moments between two people in love. It’s real, lasting love–not something built on a one-night stand or some big demonstration of love.
I’m not saying that passion doesn’t play a part in love, because it does. There are times when passion and spontaneity keep love alive. But a love built only on those passionate moments doesn’t last. There comes a time where the spontaneous road trips or big romantic gestures become a rarity. They’re replaced by the mundaneness of life–work, bills, a home to maintain, or a family to raise. But you don’t ever truly lose that passion. It takes a backseat and, if you’re lucky, gets replaced by real love.
My husband and I had a lot of fun while we were dating. We always tried to do something whenever we were together, whether that was going out to eat or seeing a movie. It was always something. When things got more serious, those activities were replaced by the more boring stuff. Our “dates” consisted of doing homework, running errands, or going grocery shopping. After we got married, things got even more boring. Jake spends most of his weeknights studying late into the night. I spend them unwinding after work by obsessively cleaning the house or watching Netflix. “Date night” changed from getting dinner at sit-down places to grabbing Chick-Fil-A before heading off on an errand. Anyone looking at our life would say that it’s boring–and it is. But I love our perfect, boring life.
When I think about our marriage, the times that I treasure the most are the mundane times. The Saturdays we’ve spent cleaning the house. Discussing finances over a dinner of pancakes. Assembling furniture together. Or, more recently, the countless times we’ve spent talking about what we need to do to be ready for our baby boy. It’s the times that I’ve spent up in Jake’s study reading while he studies, going to the grocery store together, or laying on our bed scrolling through our phones while a movie plays in the background that I hold close to my heart. It’s in those moments that I most love my husband.
Those boring moments will make up the majority of our life. The fact that I’m able to enjoy them as much as I do reassures me that my husband and I have real love. We don’t need big romantic gestures or elaborate declarations of love. We get as much joy in doing the dishes together as we do in getting dressed up for a night out.
Too often, we get caught up in the idea that love should be dramatic, passionate, and wild. We have an unrealistic expectation that our love life should consist of wild stories, crazy adventures, or unexpected twists and turns. If it’s not, we abandon it. We move on to someone else, hoping that the next person will keep things exciting. That’s not what real love is. The love that lasts is the one that holds as much excitement in a night paying bills as going to a five-star restaurant. Finding this type of love with someone helps you find the beauty and the magic of life, even in the most dull of times.
The best love stories aren’t filled with big romantic gestures or continuous proofs of love. They’re mundane–simple. They tell the tale of two people finding each other in the most ordinary places and facing life together. Of course, there are times of trial or heartache, but these moments don’t make up the majority of their story. Most of their story involves the monotony of life. Going to work, paying bills, raising a family, and maintaining a house. It’s precisely those deliciously dull moments that made their story so exciting. It’s not about the exciting trips they took or the expensive gifts they gave or received. Instead, their happily ever after consists of finding happiness together and continuing in that joy throughout the mundane.