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At the start of my relationship with my husband I made it very clear. I was dating with a purpose.
When I got married, I would not be getting divorced.
He is a former foster child. He was incredibly scared to open up his heart to anyone because throughout his childhood the people who he loved were continually ripped away from him.
Out of the need to protect our hearts we never “fell” in love with one another.
My husband puts what we did instead in my favorite way possible.
We walked slowly and deliberately into love.
We liked each other, saw potential in each other, and grew our relationship in a unromantically calculated way. Making sure that before we chose to be in love with one another we were on the same page in life and about our feelings about the other.
Why do we feel this is better than falling in love?
Falling in love with someone sounds like something that is completely out of your control. You ran into a guy today and now you’re madly in love. But you’re capable of falling out of love just as easily.
Society has conditioned us to believe in an intense love that always burns so bright and can endure everything. It’s always going to be as strong. But real life isn’t like a fairy tale. Sometimes you are faced with tough situations. Maybe you’ve lost your job or have an expensive medical problem.
Loving each other then isn’t as easy.
When it doesn’t feel as smooth, do you question if the love is gone?
Couples get divorced citing no particular reason besides the fact that they just don’t feel in love anymore.
Feelings aren’t king. They come and they go.
Today I madly love my husband because he’s been attentive, he’s been happy, we haven’t fought. I love him when he’s not as present, when he’s upset, when we are fighting, but it doesn’t feel as good. It’s there, but I’m sad and I’m lonely and those feelings overshadow the love I have for him.
Love has to be a choice or else you’re dooming your relationship to the fickle nature of feelings.
I choose you. I’ve learned you and know you. You’ve learned and know me. And we choose to be in love with one another.
When we said our wedding vows we promised to keep choosing to love each other everyday for the rest of our lives. Unlike our feelings this is a commitment we can honor because we have control of our choices.
While I understand that choosing to walk deliberately into love with someone doesn’t sound all that romantic, the romance comes when you’ve put the real work into your relationship. When you’ve vetted each other for who you are and not based your love purely on feelings, when you’ve been through trials and made it out on the other side stronger and better than before.
That’s more romantic than: “I promise to love you in sickness and in health. Until we don’t love each other anymore, do we part.”
A spontaneous passionate month of infatuation is not as good as the slow burn of decades of real mature love. I’m here for the long haul.