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Today, we're diving into the second post in my new relationship series here on the blog. And what better topic than that of "the spark"?
A decades old way of describing that indescribable feeling with someone that you've just met. When you look in their eyes and feel all the butterflies that you've always dreamt of feeling. And without this feeling, you probably don't think it's worth it to even consider dating this person.
How many of you have said this before, "He's nice, but there's just no spark." ?
The spark is generally used to decipher whether or not a potential suitor is right for us. Because if there's no spark, it probably won't last.. right? Maybe. Maybe not.
Let's talk about this idea of the spark, where it comes from and whether or not it's a necessity to a lasting, loving, and healthy relationship.
As I started thinking about this post, I came to the conclusion that the spark occurs when you have an intense connection with someone in one (or both) of the following two areas:
When the spark happens in the area of physical attraction, this is typically with the person who gives you those butterflies I talked about earlier. Locking eyes with them causes time to stop and your breath to quicken. You can cut the sexual tension with a knife. On a very baseline, animalistic level, you just want them. And there's no real rhyme or reason behind it, aside from an intrinsic attraction.
When the spark happens in the area of emotional attraction, you might find yourself connecting with them after something highly emotional has occurred in one or both of your lives. It could be after the passing of a mutual friend, or after a divorce. The basis of your connection is more than likely tied to an intense emotion. A perfect example would be those Lifetime or Hallmark movies where there's a young, new widower who goes to his deceased wife's best friend's house after the funeral only to find himself making out with her an hour later. Next thing you know, they are engaged within the year. A spark is lit because of trauma.
But generally speaking, I think when we usually talk about the spark with our girlfriends at brunch, we're talking about physical attraction. And more often than not, we use it as a barometer for whether or not we should give the poor chap another chance.
If we felt the spark, we're excited. We're experiencing the adrenaline and dopamine rush that is associated with being around them, and we want to feel it again. And that feeling of longing creates desire, and that desire creates tension. The same tension we feel when we're around them, which convinces us that they are our person. That this is how we're supposed to feel. If we didn't feel the spark, we're convinced they couldn't possibly be right for us. After all, initial chemistry is everything, right?
But there's also a dangerous side to this version of the spark. And I think Justin Long said it best in one of my favorite movies, "He's Just Not That Into You".
"The spark thing is bullshit…Guys invented the spark so they could not call, and treat you kinda bad, and keep you guessing…and they convince you that, that anxiety and that fear that just develops naturally is actually just a spark. And you guys all buy it; you eat it up, and you love it. You love it because you feed off that, that drama. You all love that drama…"- Justin Long, "He's Just Not That Into You"
Now while I don't agree with the sentiment that all women love drama, he's got a point.
I've noticed in my own experiences and the experiences of my closest friends, we usually feel "the spark" with a guy who is totally wrong for us. The one who's toying with our emotions or being distant. And we feel absolutely nothing for the nice guy who calls when he says he will and takes us out on real dates.
Which begs the question, is the spark the actual connection? Or is it just the anxiety that builds when trying to figure out if someone likes us as much as we like them? Why is it that we conveniently only feel a spark with guys who are rude to us and don't text back? But somehow don't feel it with the men who are kind and respectful of us?
See, if you ask me, the spark is very real. But it's not always what we should use to guide us in our decision making.
Don't get me wrong, I do believe chemistry is important. But I also believe chemistry can grow.
If the spark was a requirement or necessity to a lasting marriage, then marriages based on love would last longer than say, arranged marriages. But, interestingly enough, love marriages have a divorce rate of 40-50%, while the arranged marriages in countries like India, have a divorce rate of only 1%.
(Of course, there are situations where I imagine the woman might not have the resources or ability to leave the way we have in here in the States. And there is less stigma attached to divorce here. But still, it begs the question...)
If the spark doesn't result in long-lasting love, why are we so obsessed with it?
I think there are a few answers to this:
1. The media.
2. We're gluttons for punishment.
How many meet-cute's have you watched and thought to yourself, "Now THAT is how I want to meet my person! And THAT is how he should look! Just like Matthew McConaughey in The Wedding Planner!"
We've become so invested in the movie version of how people find love, that we've placed initial attraction above everything else. We've stopped asking ourselves, "Do his morals align with mine?" and started asking, "Did I feel a spark?"
Additionally, we somehow have this twisted notion that love is supposed to be messy and complicated because that's how it is in all of the most romantic movies! And if it's not ridden with very high highs, very low lows, extreme passion, and agonizing waiting periods wondering when or if he'll call, then this must not be real love.
We also lose sight of the fact that sparks are called sparks for a reason.
Similar to fireworks or sparklers at a wedding, they fizzle out. They're not sustainable. They can't last.
Not because you don't like or love the person, but because that's their nature.
Even if you do feel an initial spark with the person who is meant to be your forever, that spark can, and often does, die down over time. Forcing you to then look your partner in the eyes, and ask yourself what you actually like about them.
Do they have qualities and characteristics that you enjoy? Or did you just feel that rush of initial spark and physical attraction?
Don't get me wrong, I don't think the spark is all bad. It can be quite exhilarating and tantalizing to experience that rush of excitement when you're starting a relationship with someone new. I experienced it with my Cain.
I just don't think it should be the primary pre-requisite to deciding if you want to start a relationship or not.
I do believe the spark is real, I don't believe it's necessary.
When searching for a suitable life partner, there are so many questions we need to ask ourselves before giving someone the boot, or, even worse, too much of our time.
Instead, ask yourself if you think he's even ready for a relationship. Ask yourself if your morals and values align. Can you see him being a good husband and father? Be honest with yourself, and focus on the important things. The foundational things. The things that won't fizzle.
Well loves, that's all I have for you today! I hope you enjoyed this installment of my relationship series. Do you believe the spark is a necessity? Comment yes or no below!
If you need more inspiration for what you should look for in a partner or potential husband, check out my Husband Material video that I released last week!
I love you all so much.