Monday, December 11, 2006

Choosing to Love


Dr. Gary Chapman speaks volumes about the language of love, especially for married couples. According to him, the biblical concept of love is, "LOVE IS A CHOICE." Real love does not claim warm, excited feelings. It chooses to love, whether or not it is natural for us.

As an illustration, Dr. Chapman writes, "Most of us do many things each day that do not come "naturally" for us. For some of us, that is getting out of bed in the morning. We go against our feelings and get out of bed. Why? Because we believe there is something worthwhile to do that day. And normally, before the day is over, we feel good about having gotten up. Our actions preceded our emotions."

A real-life example can be learned from one Christian missionary wife who sent this testimony to Charles Shepson of Fairhaven Counseling, USA:

"I felt trapped between my feelings and my Christian convictions. I hated my husband and wanted to leave. I did not honestly know how I could go on living with him, feeling the way I did. I knew that to leave him was wrong and would have far reaching consequences for my family. And we were missionaries! I knew what was right. I could quote all the verses ... but I was rejecting everything I believed in. My husband and I were given an opportunity to go to the retreat center for counseling, and in agreeing to go, I made my first tentative choice to work on our marriage. My first day there, I made a deliberate choice to commit myself to my husband and to our marriage. It was a decision based upon what I knew to be right, but in no way reflected my feelings at the time. I still felt rebellious and bitter. I felt no love, and these feelings stayed with me. Each positive step I took was a response to my choice as I ignored my feelings. We started to rebuild our marriage. Our first aim was friendship, since we felt this was a measurable, reachable goal. I had no expectations, but I was stuck with it, knowing only that I was doing the right thing. My miracle happened -- slowly .... As I acted on my choice and built on it, my feelings began to change. Over the months, I began to feel respect, then tenderness, and finally love for my husband. I saw his weakness, and I saw his strength. I saw him through entirely different eyes, and I loved him."

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