30/30: The Love Guru. Is love a feeling or choice?

15 07 2008

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. I John 3:16

Kathy and I went on a date night to see “The Love Guru” last weekend (it wasn’t very funny) and it got me thinking. Is real love a feeling or a choice?Almost every movie, song and TV show celebrates the popular notion in our culture that you just “fall in love” with someone. The Bible says real love is not based on emotions, but real love is a choice. Emotions and are part of love…but real love is a choice. You don’t fall in love, you choose to be in love.

Think about it. You don’t just fall in love with someone. You choose to spend time with them. You choose to be close to them. You choose to vulnerable to them. You choose to be open and honest with them. All of these choices you make lead to falling in Love. The truth is feelings follow actions. Whatever you do, the corresponding feelings will follow. As you choose to spend time with them, it’s natural for those feelings to develop. When someone says, “I just can’t control it. I just fell in love with that person.” That’s just not true. You made choices that led to that feeling.

I’m not trying to diminish this thing called love or the feelings that go with it. I believe saying “love is a choice” elevates love. The problem of saying love is an emotion is that emotions change. Emotions come and go. Emotions go up and down. Emotions fade. You can’t base your relationships on how you feel. You have to base your relationships on your choices.

How are you doing at making choices to love? Do tend to love when you feel like it? Or do you make a choice to love even when the feelings aren’t ther?

After 16 years of marriage I am more “in love” with my wife Kathy than the day we met in 1989. I still have moments where my feelings are “of the hook” crazy for her. Why? It all goes back to choices. Feelings follow actions. Real love is choosing to be loving over and over again. Real love is living out your marriage vows day after day, week after week, year after year. Real love is found when we hang with Christ who chose to love us.

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. Ephesians 5:1-2

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