I used to believe that love is like a light switch: Something moves it and light comes on.
An overwhelming feeling comes over us. It strikes us as a sack of bricks. Or like a strong arrow. When we know it is there, we simply know. Is it not so?
Not really. Now at 38, and after a failed marriage, I don't look at love that way anymore. I put away Cupid right next to Santa Claus and Easter Bunny.
Love is a series of choices. The first choice is based on many factors, including chemistry, principles, logic, humor, intelligence, body type, desires / needs.
The list goes on and the weight of each factor depends on the individual. Based on these factors, we choose whether or not to start the love process. If we decide to enter this process, moments of "light switch" may occur.
The way he looks at us. How he makes us laugh. The way it makes us feel again when we feel nothing.
But, as with an airplane flight, there is turbulence. Fighting. Disagreements. Little things that bother us. His socks. Her shopping. We begin to wonder if we have made the right choice.
Once we start having doubts, we have to make another choice: continue flying with that person or jump off the plane. This choice is based on a thousand other factors, again depending on the individual and where he or she is heading.
If we choose to jump, a terrible free fall will make us stronger (make us grow together) or unhappy (depressed).
But sooner or later, we'll be at the airport again, waiting to board another plane. Then we will experience turbulence again. Or maybe there is no turbulence. We may have changed our destination. Either way, another choice: fly or jump?
Love is a set of daily choice we make, to love or not to love. That's it. It's that simple. To continue the process or not. We fall in love and we are in love. Even in relationships; especially in relationships. That doesn't mean we don't love that person. That means we made the choice.
There is a difference between feeling love for someone (you care about the person) and when you love someone (your choice is to love that person). We may feel love for someone forever, but that does not mean we have chosen to love that person forever. When we choose to love - it is not a feeling; it is action, it shows in our action.
This is why it is so difficult. We are required to do something and I am not just talking about buying flowers. This could imply that we have to put our demands aside. Also, like chemistry, the capacity for love is not constant: it is changeable. It varies, depending on where we are in our lives and what we are struggling with.
Sometimes it's easy to love. Sometimes it's very difficult. But at the end of the day, it’s always about choices. Although love varies, it also deepens. This means that the longer we stay on that flight, the more easily we can handle it. Our investment pays off. Our choices are getting easier.
We not only become stronger as a couple, but as individuals, assuming that the process of love is healthy, which means that we both strive to make it happy.
So how do you know if it's love we are feeling? That's not the right question to ask. The question is: did you choose to love this person or not? Now. Not tomorrow. Today. Make a choice. Yes or no.
If yes, love as much as you can. Love with all the capacity you currently have in your life. If not, promise me one thing.
Let the fall make you stronger.
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