What I am about to surmise may seem obvious, and at first you may very likely think you agree with it. But from my experience most people ultimately do not agree with this. If you read this entire blog then at the end I will give you a test and you’ll find out your stance for yourself.
My belief is that love is a choice.
I’ve believed this since I was 16. This was the explanation I came up with at that age after observing love in different contexts including observing my own perceptions and feelings. I’ve always a bit of a Freud in that way. It works great! : )
There were two prominent contexts of ‘love’ that I observed from which I was able to make this conclusion.
- The first context was that of boyfriend/girlfriend relationships and school crushes that took place between class mates and the actions taken and opinions/views stated thereof.
- The second context was that of marriage between adults generally over 40 years old. This was the age of my parents as well as many influential adults to me when I was a teenager so it provided the ‘older and experienced’ perspective you could say.
What I observed early on was that young people almost always thought of love and responded to it as a feeling, while the older married group, almost across the board, gave the explanation, “Love has to be learned.” The reason for the two perspectives seemed and still does seem very clear to me, and as most perspectives they seemed to be supported/justified by personal experience:
- The younger generation is not experienced in relationships and the feelings and actions associated with attraction and love. So they explain their feelings as just that – feelings, and those feeling are almost the entire basis for their actions in pursuing and maintain a romantic/love relationship.
- The married group is experienced in the feelings and actions associated with love, but they don’t have those butterfly feelings anymore that were most likely the basis of their initial relationships. As such this group has to act more by choice than feeling and thus they explain their actions and fidelity (or lack there of in some cases) by saying, “love and marriage is difficult and has to be learned.”
It has always been clear to me that both of these perspectives had truth in them. Yes, love can be a feeling and when you feel it for someone it is magical and makes you want to do things for them and with them. Love definitely has an emotional side, no doubt! And yes, sometimes that emotional side/feeling isn’t there, and that’s an experience that you must go through to understand love in a deeper context and to understand know how to maintain a loving relationship when that’s not there. Hence, maintaining a loving relationship definitely has aspect to it that are learned, no question about it! Although I saw the truth in both perspectives, they always seemed like the far ends of the perspective spectrum that didn’t understand the real truth that lied at the center of both explanations, which I believe is this:
Love can have emotion but it supersedes emotion, and love can be predicated on time and circumstance but it supersedes time and circumstance. Love, and the act of loving someone, both from the first day and then forever after is a choice.
Ten years later I agree with my conclusion all the more. And of course, I’m not dumb. I know you can’t ‘choose’ to have butterflies in your stomach every time you see someone. But I also believe that it doesn’t take 20 years of living with someone to decide you love them and always will. It fact, if love is a choice then to make that decision you don’t even have to meet them.
So now the test: do you believe that?