Do not confuse it with love … Love is more than just a feeling – International Culture Project

I have a younger memory of talking to my mom about boys and relationships when she suddenly said to me, “You know, in the end, I had to choose to love your dad.” My little 13-year-old tips on fairy tales and love, which have always come so naturally, that two people who were destined from the beginning of time to be together forever are so crushed that I just could not believe what my mother had not. just told me … I grew up like so many of us do with stories Fantasies, Disney movies, romance novels, and this changing idea in my mind about what love looks like.

Do not get me wrong, having an optimistic view of “Disney-esc” love is not a bad thing, but it’s not the whole picture either. We often think that love is just a feeling. Butterflies in your stomach, the way your heart apparently stops when you make eye contact with that particular person, and as long as that feeling is there – you are in love.

But as I went through relationships in my teens and high school years, I realized pretty quickly that this mysterious feeling does not last forever. Not even close. In fact, the “honeymoon phase” usually lasts only a short while. And as I was afraid that my boyfriend or lover would stop “loving” me, I was even more afraid for the moment that I would stop “loving” them. It was inevitable, wasn’t it? What if one day I wake up and no longer feel like it? What if they drive me crazy? What if someone else catches my eye? And the thing is, it all happened … actually a lot. And I thought I could not love because of this. I did not trust my ability to love someone because I knew my heart was fickle.

What I remember that such patterns persist are those words my mother said long ago that I never understood. “… in the end I had to choose love …” I became more curious about this phrase because my version of love never worked (i.e. to stay with a guy until the butterfly feeling is gone and then end the relationship in disappointment because of course he should not have been My soulmate if you could “fall in love” with him).

what is love?

I did not hear the true definition of love until I was in my early twenties. A Dominican monk and doctor of the church, Saint Thomas Aquinas defined it: “Love is the will of good for others.” Love is a choice, an act. So my problem before I learned was that I limited love to just a feeling. Feels very nice. And because I was well aware that this feeling has the power to go away sometimes, I did not trust my ability to love.

And yes, that love does not sound very sexy. When my mom says she should choose to love my dad, part of the reason for my infatuation was precisely because he did not look sexy. Of course, love based on feelings can be exciting, but the reason things are so exciting is that there is also fear attached to them. Because this thing is very risky because it can get lost. Do you want someone to love you based on their feelings? Are you willing to risk that loss in exchange for just the excitement? I will swap this ‘excitement’ for ‘security’ in no time. In fact, it’s exciting to be safe in the knowledge that someone loves you, and that someone will choose to love you, rather than waiting in fear that their “feelings” will disappear.

It’s the initial excitement and feelings of attraction that evoke love, but then it’s the choice to want the other’s goodness, no matter how strong or weak your emotions or desires are at present, what it’s what it does to the keep going.

So, what does the choice of love actually look like? How can we live out this radical expression of love even in the moments when we do not feel like it?


  1. First, do not beat yourself up when something unavoidable happens and you start to feel other things than “hot fuzziness”. You also have a misunderstanding or an argument and you feel angry, impatient, hopeless and upset. It does not mean that you are not capable of maintaining love … it does mean that you are human. So give yourself a little grace.
  2. Also remember that it is not perfect. Give them a blessing because they can feel the same range of emotions as you.
  3. However, notice if the patterns of impatience and restlessness persist for too long and determine if it is a relationship to stay in. Learning to view love as a choice is not an excuse to justify behavior.
  4. The security and happiness in a relationship equals the degree of confidence you have that they will choose you, and that they will choose to love you even when they do not “feel” it. Just as you strive to choose them, just as you are “willing for their good”, you must be confident that they will do the same for you. Ewe yoke, honey.

True love extends far beyond what Disney and fairy tales have led us to believe. Those stories that fascinate us when we are younger are important because they awaken that ingrained desire in all of us to love and be loved, but we need to realize that true love is not just about feelings. By navigating relationships over the years, I found love as an option that filled my heart more than my 13-year-old self could ever imagine.

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