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.