Love = Choice

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Love is a choice that we make and not a feeling that we can depend on. Feelings are fleeting and temporary and if you build your hope and future on that, it will crumble. How do I know this to be absolute fact? I am living it right now. This time last year I discovered that my marriage was over and my husband had chosen his new relationship over our family. In the span of one week he was gone from our home and left a gaping hole in his absence. We had been together for 8 years and while I knew things were hard, I had no idea this was the path that I was walking. He was my best friend and he held my heart. In what felt like the blink of an eye my young son and I had our world turned upside down. It was then that I was able to first see clearly the reality that every relationship will go on a journey of its own with highs and lows, anger, sorrow, joy, and triumphs. This is something that we know in our heads but when it truly becomes real to the heart, it is a whole other ball game. The current statistic for our country states that every 2 out of 3 marriages will end in divorce. We have surpassed 50% in our country alone. I could write 10 pages on why this is but the bottom line is quite simple. Love is a choice.

Is there anything wrong with the butterflies of first meeting someone and being overcome by love and feeling swept off your feet? Absolutely not. That’s how God designed relationship. But step two is where many of us fail. When those butterflies fade and the glow of new love dims what we are left with is the foundation on which the future of that relationship will be built on. Suddenly the cute quirks that made you laugh are now just annoying habits. This is where one of the true tests of love comes into play. You are faced with a choice. Do I embrace this person for who they are and what they stand for, and choose to love them; or do I move on and chase the next relationship that will offer butterflies and giggly love? The reality is that chasing that high in a relationship comes from someplace inside that is broken. Until you face that brokenness and truly get to the root of where it sits in your mind and heart, you will never be able to fully commit to any relationship. As commitment is tested it becomes increasingly easier for you to cut your losses, continue the cycle, and move on to the next person. Love is a choice.

This scenario is not just one that I have witnessed in those around me, it was me. A little over a year ago I began going to counseling and really committing to getting to the bottom of who I am and how I operate. I was blessed to meet a counselor who has not only committed to walking this process out with me but also someone who was able to speak Truth to my heart. I have finally been able to see the missing pieces in my own heart and understand why I made certain life changing decisions that have brought me to where I am now. More importantly, I have been able to truly learn how valuable I am. I no longer need to live the way that I once did. The pattern of hurt and rejection that I was putting myself through stops now.  Love is a choice.

I come from a broken family and I live in a society that treats marriage as if it were disposable. I am ashamed to admit that at one time I definitely subscribed to that concept. At one point in my life I was very much ok with the thought process that if things weren’t going well and especially if the ultimate no-no in a marriage took place, throwing in the towel  without a second glance was acceptable. In going through what I have been through, I am no longer a part of that club. This change in me does not come from a place of being a victim or overly co-dependent. I don’t excuse unfaithfulness in a marriage and never will. Nor do I judge a man or woman who chooses to leave their marriage because they were so deeply wronged. But at the end of the day, love is a choice that we make. Commitment is a decision that we make. And for me, when push came to shove I chose to stick to my commitment. Despite knowing what I knew and seeing the devastation that betrayal had caused, my marriage was a precious commitment to me and one to be honored to the very end. I’ve been called crazy and unrealistic because of this, and that is totally fine with me. At the end of the day, loving someone is a choice. For me it boiled down to this: showing him that I accept him and his flaws (no matter how deep) because that was the choice that I made when I committed to spend the rest of my life by his side. “Until death do us part”. Love is a choice.

I feel lead to add that I am not in any way saying that I think divorce is not to be considered as an option. There are situations (like mine) where it is inevitable because of the simple fact that it takes two people to remain committed to a marriage. Bottom line is that I found myself in this awesome place of realization alone. The other half of any equation is given free will to choose. If they do not choose to honor the commitment that they made to you, you will be forced to move on alone. Love is a choice.

We serve a mighty God who sees all and knows all…nothing surprises Him! Even in my own circumstances that were so sudden and so devastating, He already knew every gory detail. And the coolest part is that He had a perfect plan before it happened, while it was happening, and now as I pick up the pieces of my life and move forward. It breaks His heart more than it breaks mine. He allows circumstances such as this, but He doesn’t just abandon us and leave us to survive on our own. He calls us to follow Him and to trust Him. And let me tell you first hand, when you do, it is life changing! As soon as I let go and stood before Him truly broken and surrendering my heart, He gave me a peace that was unexplainable and undeniable. There were so many clear moments that despite the chaos of my life, I felt calm. He reached out His hand and asked me to follow and I did. Has it been easy? Far from it! But when you are following a Father who loves you with an unfathomable love you soon see that He makes a way even in the darkest times of your life. Just like love is a choice, following our Heavenly Father is a choice. Grab hold of that commitment and you will not be disappointed, friend. You are loved beyond comprehension, you hold value beyond measure, you have purpose, and you are enough just as you are.

Kim Teske