Most of us tend to focus on falling in love and use the feeling of love to determine the duration of a relationship. Falling in love is easy to do, almost effortless, but losing that feeling of love is not that hard to do.
Of course, when a relationship is new, it is mostly fun and filled with countless mushy moments. We are constantly thinking about the new person in our life, wanting to spend all of our time together and share new experiences with each other. We want to show how we feel by getting gifts or just sending a cute text message.
Feelings, however, can be fleeting. No one seems to talk about how those mushy love feelings can fade, or that it takes work to keep the flame of love alive, and that choosing to stay in love is a choice.
Who we love is as much of a choice as it is a feeling. Staying in love takes commitment. There are days we might not feel those butterflies in our tummy or even the initial mushiness and as the days go by, we will begin to see the scars and weaknesses of the one we love. It is at this point we have to make a decision: Do we want to love this person and commit to a relationship together, or are we going to let this person go?
Once we have made the decision that we have found the person we want to be with and commit to through the highs and the lows, the work begins. A big part of that work is making many other choices.
- It is a choice to see the good in our partner every day, rather than focusing on the negative things that bother us. We can choose to accept them and love them as they are. If we go into a relationship thinking we can change someone, we are setting our relationship and ourselves up to fail. We all have flaws and quirks and are weird in some ways. Accepting those differences is part of love.
- We can choose to ignore the petty, irritating small things our partner may do. If our partner forgets to take out the garbage, or leaves the cap off the toothpaste, we can talk about it with them, but we also can accept that they just might be forgetful, and choose to move on. Trying to change our partner to become just like us is one of the biggest relationship mistakes we can make.
- Another important choice we can make is to choose to remember the reasons why we committed to this person. Our relationship may not always be pleasant and there may be times for serious discussions and disagreement. There might be trying times and even bad times that we will need to work through together. The key to surviving these times is to remember to be respectful, acknowledge our commitment, and work through whatever is at hand together. During these times it really helps to remind ourselves of why we chose to love them in the first place.
Love is all about choices. We can choose to see the good, ignore the petty, look for what we can do for our partner, and remember why we love our partner. Choosing to put in the effort to do these things is what love looks like, and with that work comes the wonderful reward of staying in love.
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