Love is a choice
It may be easy to throw yourself into a romance, but that is not all love is, and marriage is one relationship that exemplifies this truth. Physical beauty, an sharp wit, and a fondness for the little things in life may have attracted you at first. Hopefully they remain in the years ahead of you, but will be joined by aspects of your partner of which you are less fond. Jealousy and possessiveness may emerge, along with fear, anger, and in the worst of times, deceit. In these moments you must remember that love is more than a feeling—it is also a choice.
When you choose to love someone, particularly in the context of marriage, you accept them as they are. Make no mistake, you will see your spouse more deeply and clearly every day, and you will opt whether or not to choose love. It will require compassion, patience, and at other times, forgiveness. Keep in mind that as you come to see the flaws in your spouse, some will also be seen in you.
My wish is that you choose to love your spouse, even when you are distracted by fear or anger. This does not mean that you allow another to harm or control you. Sometimes the most loving choice means you walk away.
Choose to love yourself as well, for there are times when your spouse will be preoccupied by negative emotions. Find the balance among your true needs, those of your spouse, and the responsibilities you juggle together and apart. Choose to love in your role in the world as spouse, parent, worker, teacher or healer. If you know your choices are based in love, you will have fewer regrets. Even when you make mistakes, you can always choose again. In this case, “I’m sorry” is the harmonizing phrase for “I love you.” Most important, when you find yourself in an argument that seems to have no end, in a circumstance that seems too big to overcome, in a moment when you are caught in the shadow of fear or anger, remember: Love is only a choice away.
Mary Carroll Courtwright is a teacher and writer. Her novel "Song of the Messenger," which is set in Cleveland Heights, was published in 2007. For more information, visit www.marycourtwright.com.