Is love a feeling or a choice?
That’s the question posed by Taylor Myers, a 25- year-old poet from Ohio. Taylor shared her thoughts on her Tumblr blog, and her insights were so surprising that they might make you ponder that question deeply for the first time ever.
Whenever the topic of biggest fears comes up, Taylor explained that she has a rather unusual answer.
“When I was 17 I took a class called Relationships For Life and I learned that most people fall out of love for the same reasons they fell in it,” Taylor wrote. “That their lover’s once endearing stubbornness has now become refusal to compromise and their one track mind is now immaturity and their bad habits that you once adored is now money down the drain. Their spontaneity becomes reckless and irresponsible and their feet up on your dash is no longer sexy, just another distraction in your busy life.”
Taylor went on to say that what scares her most is that she could possibly turn ugly to the person whom she loves the most. While she now admits that she was feeling a little “emo” when she wrote the passage above, the sentiments she expressed are not without merit. However, what happened next in her class changed her mind.
After my teacher introduced us to this theory, she asked us, ‘Is love a feeling? Or is it a choice?’ We were all a bunch of teenagers. Naturally we said it was a feeling. She said that if we clung to that belief, we’d never have a lasting relationship of any sort.
The teacher gave her class an assignment to interview a dozen adults with marriage experience to find out what they think. These were all people who had been married before, and either remained married or had divorced. Taylor proceeded with the assignment, speaking at length to married and formerly married people. At the end of each interview, she asked the crucial question: Is love an emotion or a choice?
Everybody said that it was a choice. It was a conscious commitment. It was something you choose to make work every day with a person who has chosen the same thing. They all said that at one point in their marriage, the ‘feeling of love’ had vanished or faded and they weren’t happy. They said feelings are always changing and you cannot build something that will last on such a shaky foundation.
It bears repeating that both those who remained married and those who divorced all agree: love is a choice. Whether you choose to work at your relationship or choose not to, you’re making a decision. Love doesn’t always flow openly and evenly in all directions; sometimes you’ve got to help it along a little.
The married ones said that when things were bad, they chose to open the communication, chose to identify what broke and how to fix it, and chose to recreate something worth falling in love with. The divorced ones said they chose to walk away.
Taylor said that ever since that class project, she’s looked at relationships very differently. She no longer fears that the person she adores will suddenly decide they don’t love her anymore. She knows that if she finds a person who is determined to keep choosing her no matter what, she’ll find true love.
Ever since that class, since that project, I never looked at relationships the same way. I understood why arranged marriages were successful. I discovered the difference in feelings and commitments. I’ve never gone for the person who makes my heart flutter or my head spin. I’ve chosen the people who were committed to choosing me, dedicated to finding something to adore even on the ugliest days.
Powerful insight from such a young woman! Thank you, Taylor, for expressing this important sentiment and doing the legwork for us. Maybe next time we’re feeling like we don’t know or love our partner anymore, we’ll remember that love is about choosing that person over and over again. Every day is a new chance to fall in love, as long as you are committed to doing so.
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