Over the past few months I’ve done a lot of thinking about love. Maybe it’s the predisposition I have because of being born on Valentine’s Day, maybe it’s the amount of wedding’s I’ve been to this summer, or maybe it’s the relational roller coaster life had me on over the past few months—who knows.
But I remember sitting at the rehearsal dinner for one of my best friends and his dad got up to give the final words of advice and toast. After thoroughly embarrassing his son he switched gears and really spoke some wise words that you could tell had been learned over his many years of marriage. I don’t remember everything he said but there was one phrase that I held onto that I will never forget:
Love is a choice.
I had heard that statement before somewhere I’m sure. I probably believed it intellectually and understood it conceptually, but I don’t think it ever really landed in my heart the way it did that night. It could’ve been I was more primed to it because of the situations I had walked through in the previous months. It could have been he explained it in a very simple yet powerful way. I don’t think I can really put my finger on why it hit me the way it did, but it did—and it hit me hard.
Because I’m wired as a hopeless romantic it is really easy for me to get attached emotionally and get caught up in all of the overtly romantic gestures—holding hands while walking through a park a dusk, slipping notes where she will be surprised to find it, spontaneous date night decisions, etc. Not that any of these are a bad thing. All of those things are beautiful and are extremely important for any and every stage of a relationship, from dating to marriage, but if that is what your love is based on then it’s built on a lot of trivial and superficial actions.
While that sounds harsh, that’s the reality of life: it’s not always going to be spontaneous date nights and surprise flowers at work. When life happens those “feel good” emotions are the first things to evaporate, and if that’s what your relationship is built on, then your love is going to dry up really quickly and your relationship is going to suffer because of it.
That’s why choosing love is so vitally important. Choosing love goes beyond the butterflies you get when you receive an “I’m-Praying-for-You-this-Morning” text. Choosing to love says…
Regardless of what the budget allows, I’m choosing to pursue you with all I have.
Regardless of what you hold back from me, I’m choosing to fight for you.
Regardless of how far deep in depression you get, I’m choosing to build you up.
Regardless of how alienated you feel with your family, I’m choosing to make this a safe space.
Regardless of how much hurt you cause me, I’m choosing to reconcile and forgive.
Regardless of how much suffering we endure, I’m choosing to keep persevering.
Regardless of how little I can do to fix everything, I’m choosing to care in spite of my shortcomings.
Regardless of how many times I screw up, I’m choosing to humility in my weakness.
Regardless of how many bad days outweigh the good, I’m choosing joy.
Regardless of what parts of you you show me, I’m choosing to believe the best.
Regardless of what life might throw at us, I’m choosing to stand with you the whole time.
Regardless of circumstances we face, I’m choosing you.
That is what choosing love looks like. It’s more than just choosing the emotional high you get when someone else returns the feelings you have—which is great, don’t get me wrong. But love demands a choice. And in the moments where you are getting bashed up one side and down the other with temptation, frustration, negativity, or just plain “I just don’t like this person right now,” you have to make a conscious decision to choose love.
Because, in those moments, it’s not easy, but in those moments, is where you see real love.
I want to choose love.
…and I want someone to choose to love me.