Love is a Decision
I find that many women do not like the idea that love is a decision rather than an emotion. Conversely, I also find that many men tend to agree with the concept that love is a decision. The daily decision to love unconditionally strengthens the foundations of the relationship so that all the positive emotions can be enjoyed.
Hollywood usually shows us the beginnings of relationships, but seldom the long-term results. In many stories it is more about the emotions of passion and lust rather than successfully navigating the storms of life.
Couples have to face many stresses in their relationships. We all bring our past history, good and bad, into a marriage. Different understanding of finances is a huge stress, as are any addictions. Children can be a blessing and sometimes not so much. Communication that is gracious and respectful is a skill that has to be learnt.
David Riddell talks about ‘truth statements’. That means telling ourselves things that are factual and true, not lies about ourselves that we have come to believe. People who suffer from rejection for example, tell themselves that other people don’t like them for reasons that are not accurate. This makes it hard for them to receive love. Other ‘stinking thinking’ leads people to be negative, critical and to carry unresolved hurts. This unforgiving thinking makes them hard to love!
No wonder then, that so many marriages struggle and fail. Valentine’s Day may seem like a foreign concept if you find yourself in a contentious marriage. That brings me back to my statement that love is a decision.
I would like to say that I am an expert on women and that being married to Kerrie has always just been sheer bliss. I would like to say that, but it is not true. Somehow, we survived many adversities to arrive in our current life stage of semi-retirement with five adult children. We are more than ready for grandchildren, but our kids are not obliging yet.
A friend said recently that a characteristic of retirement is that your social contacts tend to reduce as you move away from a work context. This means that you are spending more time together with your spouse, so it helps if you really like each other!
About a decade ago, I realised that there are many battles that we can have in marriage that are just not worth fighting. Kerrie is an adult and makes her own decisions. She has chosen to live with me, but if she changes her mind, there is nothing that I can do about that. Many have unfortunately found this out the hard way as social pressures work against marriages. Since that realisation, our relationship has been far more peaceful which in turn makes the positive feelings stronger. I can’t believe how much more we enjoy each other now than we did decades ago. We just love being together and working towards common goals. We enjoy being with others but also appreciate time alone.
On Valentine’s Day, we will head off on a military vehicle convoy to the East Cape area, with 35 other people and 20 army trucks. We will be away two weeks and travel two thousand kilometres in our WWII 1940 Dodge 4x4 pickup. My hobby has not always been something that Kerrie has embraced, but now she is excited to go with me! It is a real blessing to have a companion to share the journey with and create memories.
Jesus showed us how to love unconditionally. He started with the decision to do His Father’s will, and Jesus served His father. When I came to my conclusion that love is based on a decision that I make every day, I got some wall art and put it in our bedroom so that it is the first thing that Kerrie sees each morning.
“Loved you yesterday
Love you still
It is a reminder to both of us as we start a new day, of the foundation that we share.
May God bless you and those you love today, and every day.