My brother once dated a girl and the two of them constantly got on my nerves. They had this weird relationship that was addicted to drama. Things could never be normal. Any semblance of normality and one of them would pick a fight with the other. It was like the relationship ran on high emotion. They constantly had to feel turbocharged to feel the relationship was justified.
When I was dating the woman who would become my wife, the lack of drama was kind of hard to believe. It made me wonder if we were really in love. I was, like most of us, addicted to the romance trap. Thought everything needed to be high emotion. We always needed to be fixing some part of the relationship, having deep conversations, or passionate sex.
The most incredible thing about love is how normal it is. How it feels ‘just right’ to be doing life beside Kylie.
So why are we so addicted to our emotions? Why do we think things need to be turbocharged to be right?
The first is that high emotions make the circumstances intense and therefore make the stakes feel higher. We are a Netflix generation. With the Internet and the myriad of ways to entertain ourselves, we are being fed this idea that things need to be extreme to be real. Every show on TV has pretty drama-filled moments – last minute proposals, secret affairs, shotgun weddings. It’s fiction. But it feeds our reality.
We start to think emotions are king. We respond to them and justify in the next episode. How we feel has become the Lord of our lives.
Emotions have their proper place and Master is not it. We need high stakes circumstances to serve our master, Emotions. It is like an offering to its altar.
The problem is that reality is more complex than our emotions. We love television shows and movies because it narrows down the human experience into something small, digestible, and emotional. This isn’t all bad. But it can be if we forget the other ingredients that make life real.
Emotions are triggers. They activate the brain to consider a value that is being pressed. After consideration, we make a choice. We decide on a behavior. This is the proper way life works. But we have smushed things together so much that the “think” part gets suffocated and squeezed out. We obey our emotions without a filter.
The truth of relationships is that our addiction to emotions is detrimental. My brother and that girl broke up, inevitably, because if you can’t just sit in a room with a person and be ok, you probably aren’t in love with them.
Drama can be helpful. It can trigger important conversations about values and vision and unity. It can also be a distraction from reality. The health of our relationships depends on our ability to overcome the addiction to emotions and put them in their proper place.