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Why say ‘I will’ and not ‘I do’?

May 15, 2011

love‘What is love’ is an age old question over which much ink has been spilled and from which numerous other questions have been born; Is love really a feeling you ‘feel in your fingers and your toes’?! How do you know when you’re ‘in love’?! How can you guarantee love will last?! and numerous other questions…I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, but I have pondered numerous questions regarding love and I will attempt to share some of my thoughts here. Please do share yours too…

I am particularly thinking about romantic love here, but no doubt some of the principles will be apply in other situations too. I’m going to start my considering some things that I don’t think love CAN be reliably based on…

Firstly, from my ponderings I don’t think that true love can just be based upon feelings, despite the lyrics of the famous ‘Love is all Around’ song! Part of this conclusion is based on experience – feelings cannot be trusted. If we take the principle from ‘Love is all Around’ that ‘my mind’s made up by the way that I feel’ – we’re heading for disaster, particularly if you’re anything like me! Feelings and emotions can be so variable and fickle that if I was to base my love for another on whether I ‘felt’ love for them it would be a nightmare, there would be no security and you could never make a commitment, just in case you woke up one morning and your feelings had changed.

A quote from the film ‘Fireproof’ helpfully explores this;

…don’t just follow your heart…’cause your heart can be deceived. You’ve got to lead your heart…

I believe love needs to be based on something solid, something stable, something which isn’t fickle…

Secondly, I don’t think that love can be based upon how lovable the other person is…luckily for me! Of course, sometimes there will be times when people do things which make you think how lovely they are…then it’s easy to love them. BUT what about those inevitable times when people who are close to us let us down or hurt us? If love’s based on how lovable someone is…love would never last long, because the first time they did anything which upset us, or we didn’t agree with, that would be the end of ‘love’! Also, as none of us is perfect, love could never last if it was based upon another person being lovable.

Thinking about love in terms of God’s love towards us. God IS love, He loves perfectly, so we can learn a lot about love and the nature of it from Him and how He relates to us;

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10

God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us, when we were still His enemies! So, true love cannot be dependent upon how lovable the recipient is…

So what can love be reliably based upon?! Not to be unromantic, but I think true love is based upon a commitment. Love is ultimately a choice – like God chooses to love His people, He has made a commitment, a promise, a covenant with them. The quotation from 1 John 4 highlights another element of love; it is shown in action. God didn’t just sit back feeling warm and fuzzy; He showed His love by acting. Every day you have numerous situations where you have to decide whether to love, or not. It is a decision of whether to put the interests of another above your own, whether to lovingly serve another, or not. When someone close to you hurts you or upsets you…or when you don’t FEEL like loving someone, you have the choice – to show love, or not…

This is shown in the Church of England‘s marriage vows, when the bride and groom are asked; “will you love him/her…?” – they’re not asking if you feel like you love someone at that moment in time, because no life-long commitment could be based on that, as that feeling could change. But the question is ‘will you?’ and the answer, I will, is a promise to choose to love, even when the other person’s not particularly lovable, or when it’s difficult. It’s a promise, based upon a decision, not upon our changing feelings.

I don’t know what you think about this? But, I find it so reassuring as Mike and I prepare for marriage that it is not based solely upon my feelings and even now I can see that love is a choice and a commitment, so it won’t fall apart when I wake up one morning and don’t feel particularly ‘in love’.

if you enjoyed this then take a look at the video here!

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2011 3:51 pm

    My hubby and I are just a few months away from celebrating our 20th Anniversary, and I can say from experience, that Love is definitely a Choice. There are those times when we look at each other and say, “WHAT WERE WE THINKING!” 😉 It’s definitely a choice…..

    • Natalie permalink
      May 30, 2011 9:12 am

      Thank you so much for your comment, A.Marie and congratulations on 20 years of marriage! It is so useful to hear from people who have had many years of experience in love and marriage, and can say whether my thoughts, before I get married, match up to their experience or not. Thank you!

  2. May 15, 2011 5:14 pm

    Jer 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” is a verse that came to mind. Feelings get us into lots of trouble!

    Love is a choice, and commitment is a choice. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no reason any marriage should survive because we’re all sinners, we’re all imperfect and even when we’re saved, we still struggle with the flesh. Generally speaking, “bad” marriages can endure because the partners are committed to sticking it out and “good” marriages can end because one partner decides (s)he’s had enough. (Things aren’t always what they appear!)

    All that to say, yep, it’s a choice…….

  3. strengthplay permalink
    May 15, 2011 5:23 pm

    Love is most certainly NOT a choice. Love is all there was, all there is, and all there ever will be. Everything sprang from Love, and nothing exists outside of Love. The choice comes in how you want to express it. The choice comes in what you allow yourself to feel. Love is the fabric that holds existence in place. When you close yourself off from Love, you die a little bit each day, but when you embrace Love, you open yourself up to life.. Everlasting. There really is Nothing But Love. http://strengthplay.com/2011/05/13/nothing-but-love-fridays-nbl/

  4. May 15, 2011 5:33 pm

    I think I said, “Yup.” 🙂

  5. baggedemotions permalink
    May 15, 2011 5:41 pm

    nice blog… I really enjoyed it! check out mines and let me know what you think! Thanks 🙂

  6. Lyndsey permalink
    May 15, 2011 8:44 pm

    Very good. Yes I agree.

  7. May 15, 2011 9:35 pm

    i wish i could say it better then strenghtplay did. god is love and in you. it how you share it. then you really feel it.

  8. Fil permalink
    May 15, 2011 10:37 pm

    Love is an Action.

  9. May 20, 2011 10:24 pm

    After almost 17 years of marriage, if love were a feeling, we wouldn’t have made it past the first year. You choose to love your spouse through thick and thin – whether they are acting loveable or not. Love in marriage is an action. We choose to love each other as Christ loves the church.

  10. November 27, 2011 7:18 pm

    The only marriage counselling my pastor gave to my husband and I before we married was: “love isn’t what you read about in the magazines and books. Love is a choice”. And those words are so valuable in our marriage, and more precious than months of any other counselling he could have given. You’re right, love isn’t a feeling, because feelings come and go.
    Especially with all the fairy-tales we ladies have told, marriage may not match our expectations. But it’s still fabulous, as long as each one in the marriage chooses to love, and asks for help and outpouring of love from the Holy Spirit!

    By the way, I love the layout of your blog, it’s so neat!

    (This is mine, I’m not as eloquent as you though 🙂 http://fearfullyandwonderfullymade.co.uk/ )

  11. November 27, 2011 7:42 pm

    You have explained that in a way that leave no room for doubts. I agree with you a 100 %, if only people knew thit then they avoid so many problems for believing that love is just a feeling and not a choice. Great article.

  12. November 27, 2011 7:59 pm

    You are so wise to understand that love is more than a fleeting feeling. It is a daily choice and those who stay in love are those who develop a plan for staying in love that reflects the love that God has modeled for us.

  13. November 27, 2011 10:57 pm

    Yes! Love is, most of all, a commitment to the other person, the promise to go through thick and thin together no matter what. It will not last if it’s only a “feeling”. I love the quote from “Fireproof” that we have to LEAD with our hearts, not follow them.
    God bless Mike and you as your wedding day approaches! 🙂

  14. November 28, 2011 7:38 am

    Mike, today it is six months since I got married and in the morning we prayed about how each day is a learning experience. I am not old enough to say whether the points mentioned by you are valid but I definitely believe that they are. We need posts as these to reinstate certain hard truths about life.

    Thanks, Mike and god bless you and your family.

    Joy always,
    Susan

  15. Savira permalink
    November 28, 2011 9:00 am

    Love is not a choice… Love is a feeling that is within all of us but we have chosen to use it to our advantage or to use it against another.. Love varies in its ways and depth.
    I do not think God chooses to love his people… he loves all no matter their differences. Yes love like any other trait requires nourishing and effort to keep it alive…

  16. Janaki Nagaraj permalink
    November 28, 2011 11:21 am

    Love is a feeling and to stay in love is a choice and commitment.

  17. November 28, 2011 12:53 pm

    You hit the nail on the head with this statement: “I think true love is based upon a commitment. ” So true. I agree with you, emotions can come and go…true love stays a steady course through life’s waves. It isn’t always pretty, but it is always there 😉

  18. November 28, 2011 4:05 pm

    Wonderful post Mike. In life and love, there has to be a commitment. Thank you for sharing this post. It definitely has me thinking 🙂

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