Love is Not a Feeling
Through the years of counseling and mentoring people, one thing that I see people inherently believe often is love is a feeling. But this always backfires in a variety of ways: like when their partner does something stupid, or a couple who didn't invest in their relationship now has to contend with faded feelings, or even when children grow from cute to infuriating (I know, that doesn't happen at all....). And of course the examples don't end there, but you get the picture. I argue time and time again that love is not a feeling.
Love is a choice: Despite my spouse's mistakes I will choose to forgive, work through it, and move through the healing process. It's a choice to invest in a relationship I'd rather leave behind. It's a choice to respond gently when all I want to do is scream.
In my marriage, this has been a key point for me to embrace and live out. After being with the same man for 18 years, as you can imagine "love" - the hot, passionate (my mom is probably blushing), feeling we have for one another when we started dating - has certainly faded. We've gone through some really REALLY tough things and when I thought it would have been easier to run, to quit, to move on, I choose to love instead. Was it easy? Hell no. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
Choosing love means saying no to selfish desires and to staying comfortable.
What does it look like to choose love? One clear earmark is actively finding ways to engage and participate in moving things forward. Generally such acts are covered in the fragrance of sacrifice as we deny ourselves to pour into others.
Where did I discover this? Jesus. He choose love... carrying the weight of our rebellious decisions, to wipe our slate clean, wasn't an exciting adventure. Dying on the cross wasn't giving him "warm and fuzzy" feelings. No. It was a choice which matches God's character of love and showcases the definition of true love.