Friday, October 7, 2016

7. Love is a Choice

Justin and I got married very young. And despite having read many marriage books and having a front row seat to some hard marriages in my friends/family circle, I still wrote this in my journal shortly after our wedding: I can't imagine ever feeling animosity toward my husband. 

Folks, I'm here to tell you that the newlywed phase wears off. Haha. 11 years later I can safely say that animosity has been felt by both husband and wife in this marriage. So when asked to share marriage advice at bridal showers or when searching for something to write in wedding cards, I usually go this route: Enjoy that newlywed phase. Cherish it and nurture it, but don't be blindsided when it starts to fade. Be prepared and know what to do with the feelings of anger and resentment that will inevitably crop up.

We've all heard the adage that love is more than a feeling; it's a choice. But what does that really mean? How can I practically love someone even when I'm upset or hurt or irritated? I originally utilized this in my marriage, but it has also been useful in parenting and even my other relationships. My advice to loving practically is to apply the most-read wedding scripture of all time:

Image Source

It's the most read for a reason: it is chock full of truth. But it's so easy to gloss over and think, "Yeah, that's nice." When I get angry with Justin or my kids I force myself to slow down, take it line by line, and put myself into it.

Love is Patient. . . am I being patient? [I usually don't get farther than this. Patience is not my forte.]
Love is Kind. . . am I treating my husband/kids with kindness even though I'm upset?
Love is not Proud . . . am I being proud? Am I assuming my way is the only way?
Love is not Self-Seeking . . . am I just upset because I'm not getting my way?

I came across this on Pinterest recently:
So true, but so hard!
I obviously don't have this down to a science (Justin would vouch for that), but it gives me a place to go when my frustrations threaten to overcome me. Instead of stewing and dwelling and fuming, I try to make myself stop and go through this chapter . . . and usually pray hard that God would change my heart and give me a love for my husband and kids that always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres!

To see more from my Write31Days series, click the image below:

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