Monday, September 23, 2013

Choosing to be In Love

We tend to think love is a feeling that comes naturally and easily. And many of us go into marriage expecting regular sunset strolls, bouquets of flowers, and passionate thoughts. I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but.... that's unrealistic.

Now, I am in love with my husband. But even in our short, three and a half years of marriage I have not always treated him lovingly like I should. Yeah I know, I'm human so it's okay. I'm excused from that. Right? Eh....wrong. Our culture is all about "feelings." Have you noticed that? Have you heard the songs? Seen the movies? When something goes wrong or when our rose colored glasses begin to show a more realistic picture, we are conditioned to go with our feelings. We get angry. We get selfish and refuse to meet his needs. We gossip to our girlfriends. We withhold our hearts. We snap and nag. We leave....

I cringe when I hear couples say, "We just fell out of love. We didn't mean for it to happen, but it did. We aren't in love anymore." That is all about feelings. Every couple is going to have some really hard times, but that is no excuse to end what God ordained to be a lifelong commitment.

Would you believe that I have not 
always felt in love with my husband?


Yes, that's true.

  • That day when he didn't meet my needs.
  • That time he wasn't romantic when I wanted him to be.
  • That moment he said something Prince Charming would never say!
  • That time when he was too preoccupied to show concern about my emotions.
  • That day when he was just mad and needed support....and I took it personally and got mad right back. 
....and so on.

It's silly to latch on to those very real moments that happen in every single marriage and view them as a lack of love. He didn't do this, so we are obviously not in love anymore! That's immature and believe you me, I have had my share of immature moments too. I'm ashamed of it, but it's true. 

Acting according to our feelings is a marriage killer. Love is not a feeling because, if you are a woman, you know full well that feelings come and go. We feel a lot of very different things every day. Ever had a day when you are overflowing with joy one minute, and then suddenly all seems lost and you end up crying your eyes out over the kitchen sink? Come on, let's be honest. We feel but that doesn't always mean our feelings are correct. And it certainly doesn't mean that we should act on them all the time.

Love a choice. To be in love is a choice. Let's look at 1 Corinthians 13.

Charity (love) suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth:

In the real world, no one will ever feel patient all the time. Or kind. It is a choice to be patient, to be kind, to refuse to envy or be prideful. It is a choice we make to behave gracefully, to be sacrificial and giving of ourselves, to resist the urge to be provoked to anger, or to think evil of someone else - including our spouse. Choosing to be those things, regardless of our feelings, is what love is. I am in love with my husband, not because he is perfect or because I am perfect, and not because we "feel" like loving each other with 1 Corinthians 13 love, but because I chose to be in love with him. I make a choice every moment, in the good times and in the bad, to love the man God gave me. Or not to love him like He said.

That choice is yours too. And I encourage you - and oh golly myself too! - to get control over our feelings and make the right choice every single day.

Here's to a happy marriage! 

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