Monday, 1 April 2013

Is Love a Choice or a Feeling?

19 And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. 20 I will take you for my wife in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord.  Hosea 2:19-20 NRSV

It seems as though couples can fall in and out of love quicker than Starbucks can make a Caramel Mocha Frappuccino.  Fortunately for us, God is much more committed to a long-term relationship – as in eternal.  In several places in Scripture God refers to his children as His bride, He being the faithful bridegroom. We are in a covenantal relationship with God, a loving relationship that lasts forever.

As long as we equate love with a feeling our commitment to the relationship will be fleeting.  Feeling is an emotion and even the most placid, steady, unobservant male experiences shifts in his emotions.  Our emotions change several times throughout any given day.  No one can stay on an emotional high even if they were to use cannabinoids.

Even the euphoric act of “falling in love” is a conscious choice and so it must be said of “staying in love.”  Those who stay in love tend to dwell on the positive aspects of their marriage while those who are disillusioned focus on the negative.  That is a choice.

Those who stay in love treat love as an action verb.  They go out of their way for one another, to put the other’s needs ahead of their own.  They accept that their spouse is part of God’s sanctification plan and that their spouse is an instrument in God’s hands to bring about change.

Those who stay in love celebrate their differences instead of bemoaning them.  They recognize that God is Sovereign and that He has a plan for each of us.  They see their spouse as a gift from God – again that is a choice.

It has been said that we talk to ourselves more than anyone else does and we tend to listen to ourselves, believing what we hear.  The next time you start to dwell on the negatives in your marriage – STOP- and think about as many positive things about your spouse as you can.  By retraining your mind you will begin to change your feelings about your spouse.  This is not a manipulative trick, it is what God does with us every moment of every day.  It is called grace.  God chooses not to dwell on our flaws and blemishes.

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