Why is love a choice or a decision and not a feeling or an emotion?

Most of my life I was under the delusion that love was a feeling, something that was going to happen to me. I’m sure many of  you may have had the same opinion. So our description to love has always been like, “love is blind”, “Love Is kind” and so on.

Well, you should know that love is not something that happens to you but something that you make happen to you and happen to others. Love is something that grows from your actions and decisions and if you don’t have it and or not experiencing it then there is something you don’t know about love! I spent most of my adult life waiting for love to happen to me and after one failed marriage and endless searching for “the right person” I finally realized the truth about love, how to have it, how to create it and how to sustain it. We as a couple had recently attended the wedding preparation course and the interesting fact that we learnt was that Love is not a feeling, love is a decision you make and continue to make in order to create an experience that is described as love. Love is an action that if you don’t use it you lose it. Love is like any communication, if you never send it out, you won’t get a return. Love is something you give to others not something you feel because something happens to you.

I may meet a woman/man who strongly attracts me, whom I feel like loving, but because it would be destructive to my marriage to have an affair, I will say vocally or in the silence of my heart, “I feel like loving you, but I am not going to.” My feelings of love may be unbounded, but my capacity to be loving is limited. I therefore must choose the person on whom to focus my capacity to love, toward whom to direct my will to love. True love is not a feeling by which we are overwhelmed. It is a committed, thoughtful decision.

Feelings change and are not easily controlled. Love is not only a feeling, it is more than a feeling. Love is a decision. Action follows emotion. Love comes from the underlying emotions we feel for another human being. Love is a decision to be open and to share when you don’t feel like it. Love is a decision when you don’t think your spouse deserves your love. Love is a decision to be open to honest when communicating with your spouse. This does not only mean talking, but also listening. It means choosing to forgive when your spouse is remorseful and apologetic after hurting you. It can also mean not carrying a grudge and looking ahead instead of back.

Making the decision to love includes the everyday, little things that you often do for one another, especially when you’re not feeling loving. From the action of deciding to love, often the feeling of love will follow.

Making love a decision also means allowing yourself to be loved.
It is about the choice to be vulnerable and put yourself out there to let another person in. This other person will see the good, the bad, your strengths and weaknesses and so on.

Making the decision to love DOES NOT mean you love and accept abusive behavior. If your spouse is abusing you, either emotionally or physically, making the decision to love is getting out of the abusive situation. You must love yourself as well and take care of your own well-being. You should never allow someone to threaten your life of put you in danger. Often times, making the decision to love is getting help for both you and your spouse if possible.

Making the decision to love DOES NOT mean you love and accept your spouse’s addiction.  You should do what you can to get your spouse help. If this does not work, you are under no obligation to become as unhealthy as your spouse. You will fall down into the pit right with them. In fact, the most loving thing you can do, often termed “tough love” is to not enable.

Making the decision to love DOES NOT mean you love and accept infidelity. If your spouse is a serial cheater, this behavior may never end. Your spouse has make the decision to not uphold their vows. Continuing to love someone who will only be unfaithful is hazardous to your well-being and sanity!

The decision to love is a good one if your partner has made that decision as well. It does not mean you both will not make mistakes and take missteps with each other. It does mean that you uphold the promises you made on your wedding day. It does not mean accepting on-gong negative and destructive treatment that can occur with abuse, addiction and infidelity.  


Why is love a choice and not a feeling or an emotion?


The emotional component of love that we associate with feeling “loving” isn’t consistent. For a relationship to be solid, there has to be consistency. Choosing to love means one will choose actions that demonstrate love regardless of the emotion that is felt. Here are five things that you choose to do when you love someone whether you are feeling angry, disappointed, distant, hurt, upset, loving, irritated, happy, and unhappy or anything else:


You act in a way that is in the person’s best interest. When you love someone, you have goodwill toward that person and act in a way that supports and cares. You do not purposefully bring harm or ill will toward them. You want to see the person happy, successful, secure, and fulfilled. Loving someone means you are invested fully in the person’s wellbeing. This is part of the commitment you make to the person when you enter the relationship.


You take the person’s needs into consideration. It doesn’t mean you always have to do what the person wants or that it is wrong to put your own needs first. It just means you will consider what the other person wants and needs as much as you take your own needs into consideration. It is a balancing act that means you will sometimes sacrifice your own needs and wants for the other person and other times decide that you need to put yourself first.


You work toward understanding the person’s viewpoint. Your own viewpoint makes sense to you, because it is yours. However when you love someone, it is important that you work toward understanding how he/she thinks and sees things. That person’s opinions and emotions, although often different than yours, are equally important and you need to put energy into getting what is going on with the person. Part of feeling loved is to be understood for who you are.


You treat the person respectively.
No matter how you feel, you can control how you act. You don’t have the right to mistreat someone just because you are emotionally upset. One of the worst things you can do in a relationship is to treat your partner with contempt and disrespect. When you respect your partner, you speak and act in a way that conveys that the person is valuable to you.


You are committed to the relationship.
If love were demonstrated only when one had loving feelings, then relationships would be roller coasters. Commitment is the additive that makes the road smooth and flat. Commitment means the relationship is bigger than either one of the partners. The good of the relationship becomes the goal. The marriage, relationship, or partnership is more important than either of the people in it. This helps both people rise above each person’s sometimes competing views and needs. God views marriage and a committed sexual relationship as an entity.


 “Love is a decision, it is a judgment, and it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgment and decision?” ― Erich Fromm, the Art of Loving.


So, why is a love a choice and not a feeling or not an emotion?

Because, it wouldn’t be love if it depended on the ups and downs of the emotional feeling we associate with feeling “loving.”


Categories: Inspiration

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