I remember that one day, when my boyfriend and I were lying in bed. It was within the first few months of our relationship and we were crazy in love. He asked me this:
What if one day we don’t feel like this anymore? What if the excitement and passion are gone?
I never understood his question. For me the answer was easy. You just work on keeping it exciting. You decide how long it lasts.
I think too many people confuse falling in love with love. But it’s not the same.
When you fall in love, you do just that: you fall. It’s a passive act. This amazing and strong feeling overflows you. But you don’t have to do much yourself. You don’t have to force yourself to do anything. Everything comes naturally. It’s as there was some power doing things for you.
True love is what comes after that.
When you’re not falling anymore. When you’re standing, fully in control.
And now that things stop just happening to you, what do you choose? Do you choose to love or not?
I know this couple who has been married for 3 years now. And whenever I see them, they are radiating, full of love and appreciation for each other. Really inspiring. They wrote an article about love, and here is what he says about love:
What is love?
We can say we love someone for their smile, their intelligence or even their dress sense. What we love about those things are how they make us feel, and to me, that’s not love — that’s the “feeling” of love which changes, dulls over time and eventually dissipates, to return again when the wind blows.
What if that aspect of what you love were permanently gone? What if a “loved” one suffered a stroke and become immobile and unable to smile, lose their intellect or even the ability to dress themselves?
Would you stop loving them?
What if they did something to make you mad?
To me, love is a decision. A conscious choice to love is the decision to be kind, compassionate, affectionate and understanding towards someone.
The decision to be joyful in bringing someone happiness. And the more you love them, the more you would be those things for them. So even if the things they were that made you feel love for them weren’t there, it’s your choice to love them that counts.
You can’t always feel the love, but you can always make the choice to act with love.
To me love is exactly this. It’s a conscious decision.
Imagine you decide to lose weight. That’s your decision, your commitment.
You know what you have to do to lose weight. You need to work out, you need to eat healthy, drink more water, sleep more.
You will not always feel like working out, you might have other (much more interesting) plans, but you know that if you want to lose weight, you need to go to the gym. It will not always be easy, and sometimes maybe not even that enjoyable, but if you made a decision to lose weight and if you’re committed, you know what to do.
And you might not always want to stick to a diet, but you know if you break it, you will not lose weight. Your decision is followed by more decisions, and sometimes you have to stick to them despite the obstacles. You know the reward. A much better thing is just around the corner. And you know that you might have to struggle on the way, but your focus remains on that sweet feeling you chose for yourself.
Love is the same. It’s a choice.
There will be times when you’d rather act in an unloving or selfish way. You will not always feel attracted to your partner. You will not always want to deal with the drama and problems and wonder why you have to help them overcome their problems and support them. There will be times when you’d much rather go out with your friends then be there for your partner when they need you.
And in all these moments you make a decision: do I choose to love or not? And once you answer this question, you know exactly what to do.
There is another beautiful quote about love, and this one comes from 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People. By no means is it a book about relationships, and yet one of the best advice I ever got about love comes from there.
He says that people too often forget that love is a verb. They complain they don’t love their partners anymore.
Then he asks them: What do you do?
And they usually respond that nothing. They’re just waiting for the love to come back again.
But if you want love, than act with love, he says. What do people in love do? Do the same. Touch and hug your partner. Get them gifts. Spend time with them. Appreciate them. Only this way can you make love re-appear in your life. Actively.
Life is not meant to be just pain and suffering. And certainly love is not meant to be a continuous struggle. I remember thinking many times in my relationship : It shouldn’t be that difficult. And I really don’t think it should. It should be much easier.
Said that, life is not all joy and excitement. You will hit obstacles. Just like you hit obstacles with everything you do in your life, be it work, traveling, buying a house, you will hit obstacles with your partner, too. But how come we are ready to overcome them in any other area of our lives but love? How come when it comes to relationships the moment we experience difficulties we give up? You don’t quit your work if you make a mistake. Why would you quit your relationship then?
I see many people giving up saying that it wasn’t meant to be. Just because a difficult time came.
Maybe. But maybe it was meant to be. Maybe she or he was the one. Maybe there was a reason for this difficulty to show up.
Imagine two people deeply in love. And imagine that a woman was getting sick and one day would develop cancer. And she will lose her hair, her breast, she will become pale and white. Her beauty and light will disappear. She will need a strong man by her side to love her despite all.
So maybe that difficulty was for the man to make him stronger and to love her despite her looks and moods. Maybe it was to build a man’s strength so that in the moment when she will really need him, he will not have doubts, but strongly and lovingly be by her side, just like she needs him to?
Maybe they were meant to be but they just gave up too easily?
If you look at love as a conscious decision, you will love them no matter the obstacles.
When you fall in love, you’re given a very precious gift. It’s like a big box filled with all the amazing things you’ve ever wanted and wished for. And it’s all yours. But there is one thing that we tend to ignore. It’s that writing on the box: Fragile. You’ll be able to enjoy it as long as you take care of it. But if you shake it too much, you kick it around, and you neglect it, then you’ll break it.
If you believe in God, or Universe, think of falling in love as a gift from a higher power. They are showing you how amazing your life can be if there is love in it. But the higher power cannot love for you. Only you can do it. They are showing you something amazing and asking: Would you like that in your life? You decision to love (or not) is the answer to that question.
Make a decision to love. And then do simply that. Love