As many of you may have read, I am beginning a series on the misconceptions of marriage. I was asked to speak about this recently and it seems many people struggle with pieces of advice that don’t always pan out.
The second myth is “Love is all you need.” The truth is, while love is often what draws you together in the beginning, it’s often not enough to keep the relationship healthy. We can love someone but not know what to do with our hurt feelings. We can love someone but not feel respected by them. We can love someone but no longer enjoy spending time with them. Love is not enough to help us heal these issues.
Couples need a healthy friendship, they need to have trust, they need to give and receive respect and they need healthy conflict resolution skills. Too many marriages today expect everlasting marital bliss from simply having fallen in love when they first met. We must remember that feelings are fleeting. We can be in love with someone one day and very angry with them the next. We can have fun with someone one minute and be utterly irritated by their quirks the next.
I like to think of love as more of a conscious choice I make, rather than a feeling I hope to always have. If we don’t choose to remain loving towards our partner, than we have very little motivation to have compassion when they falter, or have patience with our differences. Our faith is our moral compass and reminds us to choose compassion, love, respect and understanding when it would be easier to choose righteous indignation. When we forget that moral compass, it is easy to stay drifting, lost and disconnected waiting for the love to return on it’s own. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8).
Remember love is a choice. When we choose to love, we are choosing to communicate with gentleness, patience, respect, understanding and kindness. When we communicate in these ways, conflict mends, friendship forms, having fun becomes possible and love feels alive again!