“When I fall in love it will be forever, or I’ll never fall in love,” There’s just one problem with this Nat King Cole song. Like many love songs, or dare I say most love song lyrics today, this song refers to “falling in love” as if it is something that happens to us when the right person comes along.
Ever since I was a young girl, I thought people fell in love. As I grew into a young woman, I noticed that many people also fell “out of love.” When I struggled with my own feelings for a boyfriend, I would wonder, “Am I now in love? How will I know when I’m in love? When do I say “I love you”?”
I’d like you to meet my amazing and wonderful husband, Tom. We met in march of 1999. We dated just under 3 years and were married in March of 2002. I recall telling Tom “I love you” when we were dating because I thought I heard him say it first. Apparently he did not say it first, so I felt a little foolish. I can’t tell him I love him if he doesn’t first say it to me!
It wasn’t until about 7 years of marriage when I understood what love truly meant. We had noticed an increase in divorces in our friends’ marriages and in my siblings’ marriages. We couldn’t understand why. There were no warnings, no outcries to us for help. Each time seemed to surprise us and had us scratching our heads.
Sometimes we had the opportunity of listening to the “why” behind the divorce decisions. We heard that they were no longer “in love” or that it wasn’t really “love” in the first place. Or, “it wasn’t meant to be” because he/she wasn’t the “right person.” The more we heard, the more we became frustrated.
IT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE
What if that happens to us? It seemed to happen suddenly without any alarm for so many of the people we know, so why should we think it couldn’t suddenly happen to us? We agreed to attend a weekend marriage retreat called Worldwide Marriage Encounter. In 2010, our marriage was drastically transformed. We learned that we were very much on the same path as so many other couples we knew. Why were we spared and why are we thriving in marriage today?
We chose to love! Love is a choice. It is an action verb. It is not simply something you stumble upon or fall out of. It is making the decision to put your spouse first. It is a decision to be un-selfish in your desires because you choose to put your spouse first. It is giving of yourself without expecting something in return.
Wow! That made a huge difference in our outlook on love. Just as I chose to say “I love you” to Tom because I thought we were in love, I continue to make the choice to love him. That’s it. When we decide, “okay, I think I love him, so I am going to tell him,” what we are really saying is “I choose to put you first because you matter to me.”
We went for so long living together in marriage but not always choosing to love. We became like roommates. We got along well and had fun together, but we were growing apart intimately. We avoided certain subjects of discussion, like finances, because we did not know how to discuss our concerns without becoming frustrated and angry. Then there are these little people who live with us. We now have three sons, and as you may know, it is easy to put the kids first over yourself and especially your spouse.
7 REASONS NOT TO LOVE