Love is a conscious choice!Our culture perpetuates unrealistic romantic expectations – and women, in particular, are predisposed to these expectations because from the time we're old enough to think, we dream that one day a Prince Charming will come along, fall in love with us, and we'll live happily ever after.
What's wrong with that picture?
Well, first of all, when we look to someone other than ourselves to be the source of our happiness or completion, that's a recipe for dysfunctional co-dependence, not true love. It trains us to hold off being happy until that perfect someone, soul mate or Mr. Right comes along.
A better strategy would be for you to be happy first -- whether you're in a relationship or not. And above all, love yourself first (i.e., hold yourself in high esteem) -- and you'll find no trouble finding men who will want to love you. After all, how can you expect someone to love you if you don't first love yourself?
Expecting love to be a happily-ever-after state of being, nothing could be further from the truth. Most of the time, the feeling of being "in love" dissipates from your relationship. When that happens, you become dissatisfied with your relationship, and you experience unnecessary pain and heartbreak as a result.
Perhaps one of the most important lessons you can ever learn about being, and staying, in love for life -- and for keeps -- is this: Never confuse the feeling of being "in love" with love. True love is a choice.
"Love is not just a feeling. It's a choice, a commitment, a way of behaving toward another. Love is not simply an event that happens to you. Rather, love is something you choose to do. The state of being in love is simply a prelude to love. But most people make the mistake of thinking they're one and the same thing. We are all given circumstances by which we can exercise the choice to love. That's the thunderbolt that God supplies. It's that instant attraction to another person, those warm, fuzzy feelings, that fever akin to drunkenness or madness that causes you to know that you're in love. But it's what you choose to do after that thunderbolt has passed that matters. You choose whether you're going to continue loving the other person after the drunkenness has dissipated, after the frills of romance have fallen away. You choose whether you're going to continue to seek the best interests of the other person, and care about him or her through any and all circumstances -- and for how long. Love is a conscious choice."
A successful relationship between a man and a woman is not born, but made. If you allow romantic love, or feelings, to become the basis for marriage and happiness, the foundation is likely to be unstable because you or your mate are likely to seek new emotional highs as time goes by. Feelings and emotions are fickle, and the circumstances that give rise to them, even more so.
After all, even if you're in the best relationship, there will always be days when you feel you love your mate -- other days you may not. Some days you could feel loved, and other days you don't. Even if you met someone who you imagine is your ideal mate, would they still love you five, ten, or twenty years down the road -- or would you still love them?
Love is an ongoing choice you make every day of your life. You wake up every morning and you say to yourself, "I choose to love this person today and every day of my life" -- their imperfections notwithstanding. And you rejoice in the knowledge that "I get to love this person" and expect to be loved the same way in return.
Love is a privilege, not an obligation.