I “fell in love” with my husband while I was only a teenager. I actually remember the moment quite clearly. I have known my husband all my life pretty much and we were very good friends for quite a while before we ever actually dated. (This is not counting a brief period of time in Jr. High that we were “going out”, but never actually went anywhere. But, that is story for another day.) During High School Jamey wasn’t exactly a serial dater. It wasn’t that he couldn’t have been, he just was more interested in snowboarding, football, etc. Since we were such good friends, it wasn’t uncommon for girls that liked him to approach me to see if I could arrange for them to get a date with Jamey.
One day I was in the car with three of my girlfriends and the conversation turned to boys. One of them started talking about how cute Jamey was. Everyone readily agreed and I had this shocking moment where I found myself agreeing too. This had never happened before! It wan’t that I had ever found anything unappealing about Jamey, he had just always been my friend. I never thought about him any other way. In fact, I had always been a bit perplexed by the way some of the girls seemed to swoon over him, if I am to be honest. And here I was suddenly realizing that I was…gulp…becoming one of those girls!
Shortly after that we started dating, and while it wasn’t completely smooth sailing from that moment on, we married just a couple years after graduation and are well into our “happily ever after”. And, the truth is that I am still quite attracted to him and he is still my best friend. He makes me laugh; he has a kind heart; he pushes me to experience new things that I would never try on my own and end up loving; he is the most loving father I have ever seen; he is strong and courageous and totally authentic; I could go on, but you get the point. In short, I love him.
Except, I have a confession to make. Sometimes I don’t feel like I am “in love”. Don’t get me wrong, I always love him, but that tingling feeling that makes you weak in the knees? That hasn’t lasted through every moment together over the years. Even that, “How did I get so amazingly lucky to be married to such a wonderful man?” feeling? That has come and gone too. Don’t misunderstand, I always know it to be true. I just don’t always feel it.
Which is why I have good news. It is this: love is a choice. It isn’t that love dose not include feelings. It is just that it doesn’t start there. Choose love and the feelings will follow. This is good news, because then on the days when you haven’t had enough sleep and you aren’t seeing the world clearly, you can still love your husband! This is good news because the longer you are married the better you will get at love. I think love is like a muscle that you develop over time. The deepest and richest and strongest loves are those that have been built by consciously and continuously choosing love in all kinds of circumstances.
This is good news because the longer Jamey and I have been married the more we realize that each year just keeps getting better and we can look forward to it continuing to get better. How is that possible? Because we are getting better at love.
Do you want to know what it looks like to choose love? Look at 1 Corinthians 13, for a start. I know, its that famous “love” chapter that people read at weddings but have heard so many times that it seems like a fancy poem written simply for romantic moments. But, it isn’t. It isn’t actually written for the context of marriage at all. But, it certainly fits.
What would happen if you chose today to be patient with your spouse? What if you chose to on purpose be kind? What if you weren’t easily angered, but instead forgave quickly and freely? What if you put their interests before yours?
I know what would happen. You would find yourself “falling in love” all over again. You would discover that in choosing love you actually begin to feel love. You will find life and joy and rediscover the amazing blessing that your spouse is to you. And you will find that things are good and just going to continue to get better.