Love Is A Choice

Love Is A Choice | Self Governance Project
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When my wife and I got married, one of our first disagreements was over which song would be our wedding song.

We both had differing ideas of what we wanted in a song. I wanted something modern with meaningful lyrics, and she wanted something old school or country sounding.

We went back and forth for quite a while. I threw out every song I could think of, and then I remembered a song by John Mayer called ‘Love Is A Verb’ (see the video below if you haven’t heard it). I thought it was perfect, so I pitched it to my then-fiancé.

She wasn’t a huge fan, but she let me have it. I thought it perfectly encapsulated what my idea of love was.

“Love ain’t a crutch // It ain’t an excuse // No you can’t get through love // On just a pile of I-O-Us // Love ain’t a drug // Despite what you’ve heard // Yeah love ain’t a thing // Love is a verb”

For whatever moral failings John Mayer might have, I think he got this one right. Love is so much more than a feeling. Love is action. Love is a choice.

Falling In And Falling Out

Throughout time, many have conflated passion, sex, lust, and infatuation with love. In our day, we have this idea that in order to be in love with someone, we must constantly have those same feelings as when we “fell in love.”

One of the natural consequences of this kind of thinking is that if we once “fell in love”, it is also possible to “fall out of love”, thus removing all responsibility from anyone.

That oft used phrase is really just an excuse for not making choices that lead to love and for making choices that push us out of love. Often, we are really just hoping that our lover will do things to show us love first. I speak from experience when I say that rarely do we take the initiative to meet our significant other’s needs. Over time, when we and our partner feel our needs haven’t been met, we say “we fell out of love.”

The hard truth is: there is no such thing as “falling out of love.”

The Modern Concept Of Love

I’m not a huge fan of rom-coms. Sure, they may be funny and make you cry at times, but they’re not real and can twist people’s understanding of healthy relationships. These films and TV shows idealize relationships that are built around feelings. This is what the modern concept of love has come to be: a feeling that comes and goes when it pleases.

What these flicks don’t show are those first years of marriage that can be eye-opening and difficult for most people. They don’t show what happens 5-10 years down the road

Today, most of us want that culture-promoted relationship where we’re madly in love every day and can’t bear to be apart from the other person. There’s a constant flow of emotional energy that manifests itself all the time. But most of the time, those feelings are really just infatuation and/or lust.

Instead of choosing how to feel about a person, it just happens to you. Therefore, you have no control over whether you should stay in a relationship or leave. You’re no longer responsible because it’s the feelings that determine your response.

Love Is Your Choice

In every relationship, hard times come. It may be personal challenges, challenges that come to your significant other, or external factors. With these challenges that may seek to drive you and your love apart, you have a choice.

Will you do things that will bring you closer together?

Or will you do things that will drive you apart?

There is no in between. Each day we make choices that either foster love and affection with those we love, or we make choices that create or widen the gap.

After my wife and I were first married, we encountered some intense challenges. These challenges caused my wife to struggle personally. As a result, she was not able to provide the emotional and physical connection that I needed.

Now, I’m no saint, and this time in my life was very difficult. But throughout these struggles, I kept reminding myself that I needed to choose love. I needed to stop focusing on my needs and put hers above mine in order to weather the storm.

When the storm cleared, my investment and sacrifice paid off. Because of those times where I chose to serve and put my wife’s needs first, we came out of the hard times much closer, and our love for each other deepened.

Valentines Day certainly can be a day for outward expressions of love and affection for your significant other. But it should not be one of the few days out of each year that we show our love. Our love should be show through our actions.

Love is a verb.

Love is sacrifice.

Love is consistency.

Love is a choice.

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