Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Choosing to Love

"I made the choice to love you." What?! A choice? Like, you didn't really feel it but made yourself?  Does this mean that your heart doesn't feel "the love"? I was so confused by my husband's statement– weren't you supposed to be in love with your spouse?  Slowly I have realized that this is truly a wonderful thing.  He does not base his love for me on his feelings; it is unconditional.  I don't need to worry about earning his love through awesome home-cooked meals, wearing skirts, and assuring him daily that he is a hot provider (although this probably wouldn't hurt our marriage). He loves me when I'm irritable and in my sweats (although he draws the line at a pair of onesie pj's I have!)  He is committed, in love, to our relationship. I wish I was better at this.  I do love him, every day, but I often let my emotions get in the way–I'm a passionate woman; I feel those highs and lows to the extremes.  In those moments, where I'm frustrated, I remind myself, "He is a great man. I love him. I love him. I love him."


This sentiment feels different with our children.  They are sweet, adorable, funny, and smart...usually. Sometimes.  They are also fighting, screaming, and whining, machines. Do I love them any more or less dependent on their attitudes?  I might enjoy them more (okay, I definitely do) when they are happy and agreeable, but I love them just the same.   My love for them is unconditional and nothing they can do will make me love them less.  I know that they will continue to frustrate and disappoint me at times, just as I did for my parents, but beneath it all is a foundation of love that will not waver.  I don't have to choose to love them, it just...happens. Why is it different?  Why do I extend so much more grace to my kids? Is it because of different expectations?


This choice to love has never been more evident than with having a foster child; a child that is not mine, will never be mine, and yet I treat as my own.  There are days when the love comes easy, you know, the ones that are full of giggles, smiles, and eager participation. And then, there are the days where I have to encourage myself, "This child is so very special. Love this child. You are making a difference and it's worth it. Choose love." We have seen what love can do.  We have witnessed the emergence of a huge personality that was just waiting for a way to surface.  Love, in the form of comfort, commitment, and safety, has allowed this Little One to grow into who they were meant to be. Is it easy? No. It can be so frustrating, discouraging, and lonely. We choose love daily and are smothered by it in return.


There is so much talk of falling in love and having great chemistry and these things are great.  Would I want my marriage based on this? No. Do I want my marriage to be based on a commitment to love with a good dose of chemistry in there? Yes, please.  Love isn't easy.  Marriage and parenting aren't easy; it requires work and putting your pride aside.  It's worth it.  May you know unconditional love. May you choose to love those on your path each day.

Love,
Louise

PS Gary, if you're reading this, you are a hot provider and I'm loving that beard.

12 comments:

  1. Great post, Louise!

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  2. YES. Our wedding vows included this quote from CS Lewis: "This love is not only a feeling, but a deep unity maintained by will, deliberately strengthened by habit, and reinforced by grace that can only be received from God."

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    1. "...deliberately strengthened by habit" so good!

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  3. Found you on Triberr! Love this post! Love is a choice not a feeling. :)

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    1. Aww, thanks Rachelle!! Yay for Triberr :)

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  4. Yes yes yes! This is what I want for my marriage!

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    1. So happy for you, Lindsay!!

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  5. Great read. I think there are more people out there that believe in these words like I do! PS. My husband just shaved his Santa beard- THANK GOD! :)

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  6. So good! Ps I like my hubby bearded too ;)

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    1. Thanks, Emily!! ANd yes, he totally suits a beard!

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