Love is a Choice

Posted: 29th July 2012 by Jason Coleman in Love is a Choice
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For the past several months the media and the American public has been captivated with the ever-increasing stories of high profile divorces. The famed Kardashian 72-day marriage, Demi and Ashton calling it quits after six years, the Terminator terminating his marriage with Maria Shriver, actors Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds splitting up, and the list goes on.

Congressman Weiner became a household name because of his poor judgment, lies, and alleged sexual indiscretions. The announcement that his wife was pregnant gave this story a bizarre twist and intensified the intrigue.

And then there’s the breaking news of a pending divorce between Will and Jada Smith.

With alarming frequency we are learning details of the private decisions public officials and well-known personalities make that are destroying their marriages, and in some cases, ruining their careers.

With each breaking news story, the institution of marriage is weakened and the next generation loses a little more hope that they will experience “till death do us part.”

Marriage is not what it used to be—a bedrock of stability and an institution under which a man and woman establish their commitment and decision to live as husband and wife and agree to be bound by that decision with a legal document.

According to thePewResearchCenter, less than half of US adults are married, which is the lowest percentage ever. W. Bradford Wilcox of the National Marriage Project at theUniversityofVirginiasays that marriage has been “in retreat” for the past 40 years, and the decline has accelerated since 2008.

Many people view marriage as ‘disposable’ and have low expectations that their marriage will last. An increasing number of adults are cohabitating rather than getting married, thinking that is a better option than potentially ending their relationship in divorce court.

Traditional marriage is being challenged legally in many states in theUSand the very definition of marriage is being altered. Just today I heard a news report saying that 70% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 35 support gay marriage.

So what can we do? What will we do? Will we sit idly by and watch this happen on our watch? Or will we raise our voice, make ourselves heard, and teach the next generation to value and respect the institution of marriage?

I believe it begins with a mindset. Society as a whole views marriage differently than even twenty years ago, and we need to change the way we think about marriage if we are going to stem the tide and reverse the trends.

I suggest you Change the way you think about love, your marriage, and your spouse.

Author and speaker John Maxwell says that to change your life, you need to change something you do everyday. In other words, alter or change your habits.

Author and Pastor Andy Stanley says that if you want to change your behavior (habits), you need to change the way you think.

My challenge today is for you to identify something about yourself that you can change that will have a significant impact on your relationship.

Maybe you need to change a bad or annoying habit that drives your spouse crazy.

Maybe your priorities are all out of whack and your spouse feels as if he or she is getting the ‘leftovers’ of your time and attention.

Maybe you need to change something related to your finances and the choices you make about money.

How you think about something is in direct correlation to how you act. That’s why ‘right’ thinking is so important! The media tells you to be concerned about yourself. What you deserve. What you desire and long for–but that is not the truth.

What you should be concerned about is what your spouse needs. Your primary concern, and my primary concern, should be about placing the needs of our spouse before our own.

The more inward your focus is, the more miserable you will be. If all you think about is your constant disappointments and frustrations, and if all you do is focus on the ways your spouse is not meeting your needs, you’re going to be miserable.

 In some cases, maybe the first thing you need to change is how you think about or how you define love. Love is a choice.

That’s right…Love is a Choice–not an Emotion.

Sure, love affects your emotions. Love is powerful. It causes you to laugh and to cry. Love causes you to be happy and sad. Love keeps you awake at night. Love sees no limit to what you can accomplish. Love endures and forgives many wrongs.

Love gives you the lump in your throat, the knot in your stomach, and the cold sweat on your brow. Love drives you to do things and say things you never thought possible. Love makes you willing to take risks beyond what is reasonable.

Yes, love does all those things, but still, love is not an emotion. Love is a choice. Love controls and drives your emotions, but love is a choice.

You don’t fall in love, you decide to love someone. Really…you decide…you choose to love.

Let me explain it this way; love can give you a warm fuzzy feeling when you’re with the one you are attracted to. There’s a definite energy between the two of you that causes your heart to race or skip a beat, causes your pulse to pound, and gives you butterflies in your stomach.

But that’s not really love. And far too many people confuse these emotions with love and think they are in love, when it’s really nothing more than affection and chemistry.

Those effects are all due to the choices you and I make when we choose to love someone.

When we say love is a choice, we’re saying that you must choose to love your spouse everyday in such a manner that you make him or her feel as if they are the most important person in the world to you.

What would happen if love was nothing more than a feeling? What happens if love is simply an emotion, or something based on your mood or disposition?

If that’s all love truly is, then what happens when you have a bad day? Are you going to stop loving your spouse, based on external circumstances?

Of course not! We all have our share of bad days and, on occasion, those whom we love will disappoint us. That’s human nature. To be selfish and stubborn.

But you and I will continue to love because love is not simply a feeling or an emotion that is fragile and fleeting, but love is a choice.

Don’t fall for the worlds’ view of love that says love is an emotion and a feeling that can be changed as often as you change cell phones.

Love is a choice; a conscious decision, and once you start buying into that concept and you change the way you think about your spouse, you will change the way you treat your spouse.

You will also change some of your daily habits because you will begin to value your spouse in new ways.

And when you start changing some daily habits, you will begin to impact your marriage in amazing ways. Ways that you never thought possible!

Keep in mind that no matter where you are in your marriage today, one thing is certain: the choices you make regarding your spouse and your marriage will have an impact with immediate and long-lasting results!


Jason and Debby Coleman are marriage mentors and the authors of “Discovering Your Amazing Marriage” (Seraphina Press). They have survived infidelity during the first year of their marriage and have been married now for over 22 years. They have four children and reside inFederalWay,WA.

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