Apr 272015 3 Responses

People Fall in Love in Mysterious Ways

Ed Sheeran sings, “People fall in love in mysterious ways, maybe just the touch of the hand.”

I love to hear the stories of how people first fell in love. Every story has a unique quality to it. For most, there was a minor moment which deeply changed the course of their history—a chance meeting, something that caught their eye, or a moment in which their heart skipped a beat. Without falling in love, these moments would long be forgotten, but because a love developed, the moment is long-remembered.

For me, it was a touch. (See: On George Straight, a First Kiss, and Seminary Women)

Jenny and I went on our first date in college. Before we went out that first night, I went through my normal class schedule which that semester included a class on human sexuality. I only remember two specific aspects of the class:

1. Continually being embarrassed as my 5’2″, grandmotherly professor was far more open about human sexuality than this naive boy had ever heard.

2. In a dating relationship, if a woman is interested in the man she will likely make the first touch. Watch for it and if it happens, reciprocate the touch.

The second point is only remembered because it was said the week Jenny and I were supposed to go out. The professor was lecturing about something and, as an off-handed comment, simply mentioned the importance of touch. To illustrate how touch can communicate she mentioned that research had shown on a first date women often make the first touch if they are interested in the other person. It isn’t a conscious move, just a natural response to the closeness they are feeling. If, within a reasonable time-frame, that touch is reciprocated, the relationship will move forward. If it is never offered or not reciprocated, the relationship will probably never develop.

I have no idea if this is true or not, but I do know that going into our first date I was waiting to see if Jenny would touch me.

And she did. (See: A Touchy Subject in Marriage)

After dinner as we were walking and talking, I said something playful and she gently hit my arm as she responded. To this day she said it meant nothing, but at the moment it meant everything to me. She touched me, which according to the latest in human sexuality, meant she liked me so I better touch her back. It took about five minutes but I finally found my opportunity to gently make physical contact and the rest is history. (Jenny is now rolling her eyes.)

Had we not gotten married, that touch would have meant very little. Because we got married I can still tell you exactly where we were the moment she touched my arm.

“People fall in love in mysterious ways, maybe just the touch of a hand.”

But people stay in love in very predictable ways. (See: Four Rights of Marriage)

The mystery of what makes us fall in love is fascinating, but staying in love is not mysterious. It is predictable, universal, and completely under our control.

People stay in love in very common ways:

  • Making the relationship a priority.
  • Being committed solely to one another.
  • Intentionally building their friendship with one another.
  • Continually growing as individuals and a couple.
  • Assuming the best about one another and being worthy of receiving that assumption.
  • Being fair toward one another.
  • Understanding the power of little things like saying “thank you” and “you’re welcome.”
  • Making an effort to know one another and continually growing in that knowledge.
  • Discussing important issues but always in the context of it just being one issue.
  • Choosing to act in love even when love isn’t felt.

It sounds much cooler to talk about the mysteries of love. We like the idea that love is unexplainable because if we can’t explain it we can’t be expected to maintain it or grow it.

Yet love doesn’t work that way. It might begin as a mystery, but it continues in the mundane. What feels overwhelming when it comes to us is actually completely in our control as we choose whether or not we will live out our vows for a lifetime.

The unconscious touch of a hand on a first date must become the very conscious touch of a hand in every day of marriage.

People stay in love in very predictable ways.

3 Responses to People Fall in Love in Mysterious Ways
  1. Jen Stapleton Reply

    Love it! We’ve been married for almost 12 years and have two girls (one with DS, thank you very much for visiting us aka the DSG in KC a few years back). While this was also true pre-K (before kids), it especially rings true now. In the trenches. When were overwhelmed with schedules and appointments. It’s a lot more of a conscious decision to engage and determine how we interact. Thanks you for speaking er writing this truth!! Preach on!

  2. […] Expressed. Once appreciation is felt, it must be expressed. We must find meaningful ways to communic... kevinathompson.com/appreciation-in-marriage

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