I love Elvis as much as the next person. "Jailhouse Rock" and "Burning Love" are among my top ten favorite songs, but as I was exploring the Elvis Presley Spotify page, I realized I have a problem with his most popular track. It goes like this:
Wise men say only fools rush in
But I can't help falling in love with you
Shall I stay
Would it be a sin
If I can't help falling in love with you
The sentiment is sweet, and I'm not calling for a boycott of the song or anything like that. I simply want to bring to attention the common phrase Elvis and many other people use: "falling in love." I absolutely hate the term. On the surface, it sounds sweet. It might bring to mind images of Ryan Gosling rowing a boat through a swan-filled lake or Taylor Swift songs, but it actually does love a disservice.
The phrase reeks of passivity. Just as Elvis puts it -"I can't help falling in love with you." To think of yourself "falling in love" implies that love is something that just happens to you without any say or effort on your part. When it comes to love, we shouldn't be passive bystanders.
Love is a choice, not an inevitable phenomenon. Love is a verb, not just a feeling.
Taking away the romance?
I know, condemning "falling in love" seems to take away from the romance of budding relationships.
It might not sound as romantic as suddenly seeing "the one" and being helpless to resist falling for them, but that's just not the way it works. When you're in a relationship with someone, you chose to be with them and they chose you. To me, that's actually even more romantic. Your partner didn't trip and fall into the relationship you share; they chose to be there.
A dangerous way to think
I had a friend who started to realize her then-boyfriend could be rude at times. But she was so wrapped up in the mindset that she had "fallen in love" that she truly believed she couldn't help but stay in love. She ended up letting things go on much longer than they should have, enduring verbal abuse from him the whole time, all because she had the mindset of being helpless to resist falling in love with him.
Thinking that love chooses you rather than the other way around is dangerous - it can lead to abusive relationships, as my friend experienced. But it can also lead to a failed relationship between two perfectly great people.
If you have the mindset that love is passive, don't think you'll hold on to your significant other for long because love isn't something that happens to you. Love takes work.
It might have been easier to choose love in the beginning stages, but at one point or another, your relationship will need a conscious effort from both of you to keep from falling apart.
You need to make the choice every day to stay in love. Choosing love includes supporting your partner and their dreams, making an effort to treat them kindly and working together through trials.
When you find that person that makes your heart soar, don't think of yourself as falling in love. Rather, think of yourself as choosing to be in love. If you've found a person so wonderful you want to spend the rest of your life with them, you need to make a conscious choice to show them love.
With this revised mindset about love, our relationships will be healthier and happier. Your sweetheart deserves someone who puts work into making your relationship better.
So don't fall in love - you'll most likely end up taking a hard hit. Choose to be in love and stay that way.