While this is a slight divergence from my normal topics, it is still health related as stress is the number one cause of inflammation and relationship stress is a big deal.
Having now been married 20.5 years, I have often given the marriage advice that love is a choice. You aren’t always going to like the person you are married to, though it helps, but (barring abuse) staying married is all about choices.
But here is the thing, while it is true that love is a choice, especially after the hormones and pheromones fade a bit and life happens, it is important to make the distinction about what choosing love actually means. I am NOT choosing to love you because you mostly suck but I can magnanimously handle it, making me the hero of this scenario. (Though I really DO like to be the hero of my life.)
(By the way, choosing love doesn’t happen only in a marriage/partnership situation. It happens in friendship, in family, even with your own children.)
Choosing love is actually about humility.
I choose to see the inherent good in you. I choose to see your value.
I choose to remember the things that drew me to you in the first place.
I choose to see that the behavior I don’t like is very likely born out of pain and have compassion for that pain.
I choose to see the little things that you do to make my life easier every day.
I choose to look at why I might be upset with you through a self evaluating lens. How do I need to change my story about you? What fear am I functioning out of? Where is my anger or disappointment really coming from?
I choose to see that you are uniquely amazing; that you have things to offer that no one else on the planet has; that some of the things that I like about myself have been shaped by my time with you.
I choose tenderness toward you, softening my heart to allow love to flourish.
I choose to recognize how hard it might be to live with me sometimes. I choose gratitude for your fortitude.
This is me choosing love.