Falling in love. The term is so widely used we may not have stopped to consider its implication that love just happens to us rather than it being a conscience choice. The truth is this:
You cannot make me love you.
I cannot make you love me.
The foundation of healthy relationship is the choice to love.
“I choose you.” This is the foundation of true, lasting relationships. It is the foundation for God’s relationship with you. As Jesus declared to His disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16 NIV). Jesus chose you in the most difficult of circumstances. He chose you while you were in sin, while you were His enemy. His side of the relationship with you does not depend upon your choice, but entirely upon His choice. The question is whether or not you will learn to build your relationships with Him and others upon the foundation of your choice.
Following Jesus’ example of love, here are five declarations of chosen love within the context of marriage:
1. I will choose you first.
Making a choice to love within the context of marriage means we have selected one person out of many. When we make that choice, we have now decided to put that person first. Out of countless people, there is only one with whom we will share a lifelong covenant. “I choose you first” means making our spouse the priority of all human relationships we have.
2. I will choose you every day.
Every day is a new opportunity to love. Life can get busy and pass us by, but intentional love means making daily choices. Most of the choices may seem small, like leaving a little love note to start the day, or never going to sleep without saying, “I love you.” The goal is never to let “I love you” become a secret in your relationship. Whatever is the best way to show love to your spouse, find those ways, and choose it every day.
3. I will choose you no matter your past mistakes.
Every person has made past mistakes prior to a marriage relationship, as well mistakes within the context of that relationship. Love is not dependent on perfect behavior. Love is chosen despite any previous behaviors. It does not mean allowing unhealthy behaviors or abuse to continue without repentance and restoration, but mistakes do not disqualify someone from love.
4. I will choose you even when I don’t feel like it.
At times, we all struggle with feeling affection for our spouse. Thankfully, love is a choice that does not depend on our feelings. Even in moments when we are feeling hurt, angry, or frustrated, we can still keep our love on by making the powerful choice to move toward our spouse, show respect and kindness, and seek resolution and reconnection.
5. I will choose you even when it is hard.
There is no perfect relationship or perfect love. Every relationship will have struggles and challenges. In fact, we should expect these, and allow them to shape us to become stronger and more resilient even in the toughest moments of disagreement. A foundation of love is to choose, even when it is hard.
Love is not always easy. It is full of challenges.
“I choose you” will always strengthen the relationship.
PS) Do you have any questions about specific areas of relational intelligence? Let us know in the comments.
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