Consciously developing infatuation into marital love is generally overlooked as something you need to “do”, because people are not taught about love in the correct way.
There is some discussion about the types of love delineated by Greek philosophers, which is mostly misunderstood (sexual attraction is not actually love). But at any rate most people think love just happens, or is just there. They look at love as kind of a spectator, using terms like “falling in love”. So they never learn how to nurture and develop love.
Most people then take love for granted, as if it comes and goes on its own. This lack of knowledge about love, the very foundation for marriage, proves to be the undoing of happiness, and many marriages.
Infatuation is the natural attraction we feel for someone based primarily on physical characteristics and other outer attributes, such as the other’s attitudes (especially towards ourselves) and aptitudes.
We feel attracted to those who are pleasing to us. Naturally, physical attraction plays a big role in infatuation. All of a sudden a man will become infatuated with a woman, not realizing his subconscious mind guides him to feel this way because of the opportunity for procreation. That’s why men tend to “fall in love” first. Women, on the other hand, have a more complex inner checklist guiding them. They are told by their subconscious mind when it is okay to mate based on more important indicators; which she only sometimes understands.
Infatuation, as nice as it feels, is not particularly useful for lifetime marriage, though. So it is important to understand consciously developing infatuation into marital love.
Turning infatuation into marital love
Marital love seldom just happens. For some people it does, but that is rare. In fact, in most marriages over-familiarity is the course of marital evolution. The individuals start to take each other for granted, more and more, and the love that could have been, is smothered by selfish expectation, and frustrations.
In every unhappy marriage you will find over-familiarity. In fact, over-familiarity is the first of the three killers of marriage. Infatuation, by the nature of fleeting tastes and the mind’s tendency to always look for something better, has a relatively short life span.
When I speak to people in the wedding business I always hear the same thing, that a third of the couples are fighting by the time they are picking out the tuxedos. People who truly love each other don’t fight!
Turning infatuation into marital love requires learned skills which one needs to learn. It does not come naturally. Not only that, but you have to learn about what marital love “looks” like, so you can hold it as the vision for your marriage.
One important rule of thumb is to always appreciate, and never criticize. I offer this to you knowing that although it is a good yardstick, it is also very difficult as a stand alone.
The fact that marriage will deliver such overwhelming happiness is missed by most due to a lack of marital knowledge, but it is is within everyone’s reach. Like anything else, when you learn and practice, it becomes second nature. I do hope you “get the message”, and get premarital education. It is the most useful thing you will ever do!