Love is a choice. It is not something that happens to us, or that we ‘fall into’, at least not long term. We may ‘fall into’ love initially by feeling something towards another we cannot explain but only experience but it is only by choice that we stay in love. It is created as we spend time together, as we communicate one with another, and as we sacrifice to come together. Love is built according to the time, communication, and sacrifice we put into it. These are the things upon which relationships feed, are nourished, and grow.
Love is like a seed that, once planted, must be nurtured with great care. If we nurture it carefully it will take root in our hearts and grow into something more wonderful than we in this world have the words to express. In planting the seed of love in our hearts, we will discover quickly if it is a good seed – or a pure love. If it expands, and enlarges the soul, then we may know that it is a good seed that should be nourished carefully, that it may take root in our hearts and grow. If the experience of planting the seed in our hearts darkens the soul and clouds the mind, then we may know of a surety that it is a seed that we should NOT nourish, but cast out of our hearts before it bears fruit in our lives.
In a world where darkness seems to reign upon the face of the earth, there are yet many bright spots of light that we all too often miss. These bright spots consist of the genuinely loving relationships that quietly and selflessly exist in the world around us. The forms and functions of these relationships are idolized in films, movies, and games. Their ends are held aloft for all to see and long for, while their foundations are completely misrepresented and misconstrued.
In films, movies, and games, love is an object of desire primarily, and only rarely and secondarily – a longing of the soul. Love – true love – is something which cannot be simply found, sought after, or fallen into. It must be created. Its ends (the closeness, passion, security, trust, comfort, and love), the things the media seeks to duplicate, cannot be realized without the proper foundation: communication, time, service, sacrifice, humility, forgiveness, respect, and trust.
True love is not self-serving; it is selfless. It is about putting the needs of another above the needs of the self. Thus, any medium which portrays love as a purely passionate endeavor does the world a great disservice. We watch these relationships, applaud them, cry at them, and internalize their messages. Then, after doing all these things, we wonder why divorce is so prevalent and the happy marriage so rare. In these mediums, have we not portrayed the foundational basis of every truly great and loving relationship incorrectly? Have we not, as a people, sought the ends without establishing or even knowing the foundational attributes from which such relationships spring?
Do not be surprised that the world cannot teach you of true love. The world is only concerned with the lusts of the body and what it can market to a willing mind. Though there are movies which portray true love well, they are not the norm. Great care must be taken to winnow out the messages which will not serve us in creating loving relationships in our lives.
In the absence of a pure source of information on love in the media, we must seek our answers elsewhere. We need to seek them from someone who knows the reality of what it takes to create a loving relationship in the first place. We must ask men and women who have created such relationships and are currently enjoying them. In my journey, these types of men and women have taught me much. No matter how different each of their relationships look on the surface, I was taught and instructed in much the same way. They shared stories and asked questions of me.
Here are some of the questions that I have been asked over the years, and seen reflected back in the loving relationships I have seen over the course of my life:
- Can you communicate easily with each other? Can you talk about anything?
- Do you enjoy spending time together, and not just physically, but talking, doing things, traveling, etc?
- Do you serve one another? Do you want to make each other happy?
- Are you willing to sacrifice what you want – either altogether or to meet somewhere in the middle – for the good of your relationship, or in order to meet your family responsibilities? Can you let your pride go, and do what needs to be done to come together or stay together?
- Can you forgive one another your trespasses and make things right? Are you humble enough to forgive each other?
- Do you respect each other’s wishes, hopes, dreams, and desires? Do you respect each others bodies, hearts, and minds?
- Do you trust one another? Do you invite trust by the way you treat one another?
Communication, time, service, sacrifice, humility, forgiveness, and trust – these are the key foundational attributes in the creation of a loving relationship. Love is not something that happens by chance; it is created by men and women dedicated to these things. Love is a choice. It is reaffirmed in action, moment by moment. Choose your love and love your choice.