The Trappings of Love

Photo by  Roman Kraft  on  Unsplash

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

The big wedding they had to showcase their love. The honeymoon they were expected to have. The gifts they gave each other to represent eternal companionship.

The Instagram photos they curated. Their Facebook account as a couple with all the feels. The fixed smiles. The new house. The white picket fence. The general appearance of abject happiness.

Those were the trappings of love.

The outward signs associated with love.

But the trappings of love were not the foundation of love. The trappings of love were not the embodiment of love. The trappings of love were only what others thought love should look like. And it’s what they thought love was.

But they were wrong.

They wanted to get engaged. To get married. To build a home together. To have children. To do what people do.

But they were so focused on the trappings of love that they got lost inside of them. The notion. The highlights. The dream. And in that, they lost themselves. And soon they would lose each other.

They would go furniture shopping together for the perfect complement to their new living room. He was a minimalist. She liked a fair amount of accoutrements. He was plain. She was anything but.

So they got a couch that they both thought was decidedly average. They settled in the middle. And neither of them were happy. Except for the appearance on Instagram of them with their first new sofa as a married couple. Smiles off the chain.

But inside they were both thinking about things other than the couch. Other than Instagram. They were just programmed to “celebrate” that way. Inside told a different story. Beyond the trappings of love.

Photo by  Justin Schüler  on  Unsplash

Photo by Justin Schüler on Unsplash

Everyone wanted them to have a baby. They assumed that’s why they got married. To procreate and live harmoniously as part of modern society. But he didn’t even like kids. She knew this, but ignored it. She thought he would change. No, she didn’t. She ignored it and didn’t think about it. Because she assumed that kids were an automatic part of love for everyone.

She got pregnant. They celebrated all over Facebook. Their friends commenting on how they will make the best parents and congratulations this and best wishes that. But he was numb. And scared. Because he didn’t want this.

She was scared too. Because she knew that he was not up to the task. But the necklace he got her for surpassing her first trimester surely meant he was happy about the prospect of parenting. She knew. She always knew. So did he.

But the trappings of love entrapped them. An outward manifestation of love and happiness hiding lackluster feelings and general malaise.

The white picket fence and the swing set in the backyard certainly seemed like an outward sign of a happy marriage. But maybe that was just for passers-by. Or for what they wanted it to be. In theory.

Their parents thought they were the definition of a happy family. Because they saw the photos on Facebook of them having so much fun together. Their parents didn’t know about the fight they got into trying to get the right light for the sunset photo of their daughter on the back deck.

The photo tells the story of a happy little girl. Because she was. Because she was loved. She wasn’t engulfed in the trappings of love. She didn’t know any better. But they did.

The big wedding was reduced to half-hearted memories and a photo album. The honeymoon was gone from their minds. The gifts they gave each other to represent eternal companionship were now mere tokens in the Ponzi scheme of false expectations.

The Instagram photos they curated were deleted. Their Facebook account as a couple was gone. The fixed smiles were still there, but separately. To keep up appearances.

The new house was for sale. So they could both move to separate, smaller condos. The white picket fence was decaying. The general appearance of abject happiness was different now.

These were the new trappings of love.

Because the trappings of love were never the foundation of love.

They were only the appearance of love.

A love which was lost.

A love which they will both only find if they give up the trappings of love.

And allow love to find them. In time.