Springingtiger's Blog

The Language of Choice: Love  ̶ A Committed Choice


Love as I see her.

I think that one of the tragedies of many people’s lives is that they fail to realise that Love is a choice. People tend to associate love with feelings and when the feelings they associate with being in love fade they believe love has died and move on. Their relationship ends and they go looking for someone else who can make them feel warm and fuzzy.

Feelings are incidental to love, certainly they are symptomatic of it but they should not be confused with it. I feel sorry for atheists because most of them are utterly incapable of love as people believe it to be. When reality is reduced to the physical and all that cannot be quantified and empirically demonstrated is rejected then where is the place for something as illogical as love?

In fact everyone is capable of Love because love is a choice and love for another is a committed choice. Love does actually not depend upon an object for its existence. For love to be present it only requires that we choose it. Human emotions and feelings are nothing more than a boiling stew of chemicals triggering thoughts and sensations in the brain. Some people’s love is insubstantial enough to be destroyed by indigestion, but for many it endures the most terrible challenges and continues regardless of how people feel.

I call love ‘a committed choice’ some might call it a ‘stand’. It is a choice that transcends our feelings. It is a choice that we make regardless of the feelings of the other person and ultimately independently of any relationship we may or may not have with them. Our love is something we create within ourselves and experience within ourselves, as is our experience of another’s love for us. Love is not a matter of feeling but of who we choose to be. When in love we choose to love someone else, that choice does not depend upon anything they may do or how we may feel at any moment. Love is a choice that carries us through difficulties because we choose to believe that the person is worth it. However badly they may behave, we choose to believe they are better than their behaviour. We choose to Love because it is a choice to manifest our highest nature. When we love we are most truly ourselves free from mundane and selfish considerations.

Of all our continual choices Love is perhaps the most important. Some relationships  ̶ particularly marriages and Civil Partnerships  ̶ are commitments for life based on choosing to love someone else over and over again. This means choosing to forgive and to love, choosing to love regardless of how you are feeling, choosing to love even in the depths of man-flu. Elsewhere we have talked about choices being given by focussing on what we love, this is especially true in relationships. The choice to love someone is not a ‘one off’, but is kept alive when we keep returning our focus to that love we chose.

Sometimes we do choose to be in temporary relationships, to ‘go out with someone’ or whatever. There is nothing wrong with a temporary relationship as long as we realise it as such and don’t confuse it with love. A misapprehension of love in a relationship that ends leads to feelings of betrayal and guilt and all the other nonsense that prevents people getting on with their lives. There is nothing wrong with a relationship based on mutual interest, affection, a need for company a clearly defined relationship is valid in itself. There may be a point when a temporary relationship becomes more. However a temporary relationship based on warm fuzzy feelings  ̶ even if the sex is great  ̶ should not be confused with the love required for a lifelong commitment. Having a good time is worthwhile in itself, but a long-term relationship requires a determination to transcend circumstances and the only way to transcend circumstances is responsible and committed choice. We alone are the source of our love and regardless of what may happen we can choose to keep that love alive and if it dies it probably wasn’t love.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (Paul of Tarsus)


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