Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is Love a Feeling or a Decision?

First let me say, this one can cause some controversy! I am going to give you MY OPINION here. You may agree. You may disagree. And that's ok.

I wanted love to be a feeling. In fact I expected it to be a feeling. And I was let down big time.

My view of love for most of my life has been someone to provide for me, rescue me, wine and dine me, romance me, make me laugh, write me love notes, pray with and for me, etc. Someone that I would forever be crazy about and feel all lovey dovey with. I believed in loved stories and wanted one in my own life so badly.

This view is not wrong. But for me it wasn't real. And that was the problem. I so desired those "characteristics" of love...but I wasn't feeling them. So, because I didn't feel love did that mean I wasn't loved or in love?

So, in my opinion, love is a decision. Maybe there are some that think it is a feeling. But feelings change quickly and love cannot change. Not if it's forever it can't. Feelings are so fickle. And if you are going to be with someone forever, well then you have to decide to love them. Life enters and interferes with fairy tale romance. So, doesn't love have to be a decision?

The first time I ever heard of love being a decision was when I started reading Karen Kingsbury novels, the Baxter Family series. Then I began "The Love Dare" and the concept was reinforced. In fact it brought me comfort. It made me feel more normal that I had to decide to love and didn't feel it all the time. And that doesn't take away from my love for Jeff. I am excited to decide to love Jeff.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13 that love is patient and kind. Well I don't know about you, but patient and kind don't come natural to me. Especially the patient part. To be patient and kind, I have to decide to be patient and kind. So if love is patient and kind, for me it is a decision. I don't ever feel patient. Maybe kind. But not patient. It's a decision.

So, choose to love. If you are married, love your husband. Choose it. Choose it. Choose it. You have a choice. Love him. You chose to marry him and took vows to love him for better or worse. So choose to love him.

We'll talk about more later. Please comment and question.

Blessings,

Melissa

16 comments:

Chef Diane said...

Melissa,

Oh my, you got me in the heart sister. I am right there,I believe it is a decision as well. When I stood at the alter and CHOOSE to say those vows I meant them for life.
It takes two to make the marriage and two to break it.
God can restore it with two willing hearts, but it takes two. That willingness is also a choice.
This is some powerful stuff my friend.
Hugs,
Diane

Soey Lam said...

Dear sister,

I thank God for a wonderful person like you!!Your writings have encourged me a lot.I finished reading your book-Do you think I am beautiful, while I was on my way home for winter break,and I was crying all along the way.It was like saying things I was never able to express.And I am so touched.I am so glad to know you.And I love reading your blog you.May God bless you even more!
Love,
Soey

WeaverD said...

I agree that you choose it, your feelings can change so quickly! If I acted on my feelings everytime my life would be a mess!! I think you also have to take in account on how men love...it's so much different than women. My husband and I are taking this course by Dr. Emmerson Love & Respect which he bases all his teachings from the bible. It is awsome and has so many GREAT insights on why a woman & a man clash so much in a marriage and how to understand eachother better.

WeaverD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joyful said...

I totally agree with you - love is a decision. Love is deciding to forgive when you want to be resentful. Love is deciding to pick up his dirty clothes when you want to get angry instead. Love is deciding to hold your tongue when you'd like to speak your mind in anger. Loving is deciding not to speak harshly when he doesn't call and comes home late for dinner. Love is deciding to be kind even when you don't think he deserves it.

Often from the act of deciding to love, the feelings of love follow. To love someone takes time, effort and work. There are days it's incredibly hard. Days when 'throwing in the towel' seems easier. It can be exhausting. Christ made the ultimate decision to love when He willingly surrendered Himself on the cross for us. His love took Him to the cross. Most of us will never begin to come close to being asked to love that much.

Choosing to love,
Joy

Anonymous said...

Melissa, this is ME! Thank you SO much for sharing your POV and thoughts.
What a comfort it is to know that someone else wants(ed) the "fairy tale", and came to a place where they were able to overcome!
I recently began the Love Dare, and even though i already love my husband unconditionally, it has taught me so much about HOW to love him WELL.
Like you, patience is not a gift that God gave me at birth, and i have to work hard to choose to be patient every day. It's amazing to me how much smoother life flows when we make choices that honor God. :)
Thank you so much for your wonderful encouragement. God is using you in a BIG way!!
Tera
(STL, MO)

Jody said...

Most definitely agree that love is a choice! "Joyful" nailed it when she said Christ chose to die for us. You think he wanted to get beaten and crucified? Don't think so. He CHOSE to do it because he loved us. The Bible calls for us to exemplify Christ and in doing so, we need to choose to love just like he did. If everyone went off of how they felt all the time then divorce would be 100% and the world would be a much uglier place. Love is a decision, even though a hard one sometimes (ok, maybe a lot of times ;o).

Thanks for sharing your heart. Looking forward to hearing more of your marriage story.

Blessings,
Jody

Anonymous said...

Such encouragement from all of you!! I am at the point where I'm putting the last bit of "love is a feeling" aside, replacing it with the conscious decision to love every day. And as some have already expressed - what a RELIEF! It's emotionally draining to beat ourselves up every day wondering why we don't have the feeling of love; why we don't have the fairy tale that is portrayed to us in so many movies or that we portray onto others' relationships. Choosing to DO something is easier than choosing to FEEL something. The more you DO the less hard it becomes and as Joyful says the feelings will follow.
Blessings to you all
Sue

Anonymous said...

I loved Joy's comments, so true! Love is a decision which I've recently realized myself. I've been divorced for seven years now and am in my first "real" relationship since. I believe that this time around, being much older and wiser, love is a decision. I love all of the qualities of this man and his values, etc.... the 'feelings' aren't my sole focus this time around. I choose this man, and I'm so lucky to have a second chance with this broader knowledge of what love really is!

Deb said...

Hi Melissa,
I totally agree about love being a decision. Feelings come and go and change overtime but the world wants us to think love is a feeling. A lot of our perceptions of love come from tv, movies and books.

As a side note. I started reading the Redemption series because you mentioned the books in a previous posting. Wow they are so powerful. I am glad I was reading your blog that day.

Thanks,
Deb

Cheri Bunch said...

Melissa,
I love this! You hit the nail on the head for me! I have been asking this question at some Bible studies I have been in lately.......asking others what they think.....

I believe it is a choice........a lovely choice.....we don't have to, we get to choose to love....It is an action not a feeling, but just as it has been so well shared.....feelings come....and when they come they are so much better than we ever could have thought them to be...

Thank you for sharing this! It is so important to get this message out. Our culture screams that it is all about us and they miss the fact that there is such a satisfaction in satisfying those around us......

Thanks again!
Cheri

Anonymous said...

Thank you Melissa for sharing from your life and thanks to all others who posted.This is such an important issue. I am assuming that "The Love Dare" is a book??? Could someone tell me the author please? Thanks
Eva

Michelle Lee said...

I remember reading sometime ago about the conditioned response and for me this worked in my decision to love a unfaithful husband. it was hard but now I look back on the pain and tears and when I look in the present at my husband totally involved in church and his marriage, love is a decison of conditoned responses and we can do all things, really ALL Things through Him who strengthens us. Thanks ladies for telling me I am not alone.

Bobbi said...

My husband and I had a very similiar conversation just a few days ago. We've had several friends going through divorces and it just breaks our hearts. Talking between ourselves we have discussed how we know that we won't always be "happy" in our marriage but we can make a choice to love each other no matter what. Thank you for your encouraging blog posts...marriage takes an ongoing effort and it's nice to be reminded of these topics over and over again! Keep them coming. God Bless You!!!

Jody said...

I love it how a couple women have mentioned how media influences us. Media gives us these wacked "realities" on how love, sex and relationships really are, and then we're very disappointed when those unrealistic expectations aren't met. Just another reason why it's really important to guard what we watch, read, listen to, etc. - especially as women because we are sooo into the big, emotional feelings of everything!

Kudos to ML who chose to love an unfaithful husband. I have never faced that and cannot imagine how hard that would be short of the Lord stepping in and loving my husband for me! God is amazing!

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