Katie and I celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary this week. Ironically, I’ve heard a lot of people talking about “falling in love” recently. I know what people mean by that and it’s not all bad. But, after 11 years of marriage I’ve learned that love isn’t something you fall into.
I don’t mean to be cynical. Most people are talking about that feeling you get in the early days of dating when all you can think about is the other person. It’s fun. But, if you aren’t careful it’s like being drunk. Your judgement can be seriously impaired.
The problem with falling in love is that a lot of people fall out. The whole idea is that you aren’t in control, that love happens to you. When you fall out of love you have no choice but to move on even if it hurts other people.
That isn’t noble. It’s selfish.
Love is a choice, not something you fall into.
If you aren’t intentional and you allow yourself to drift, you’ll end up being unloving. Love is not self-seeking (1 Cor. 13:5). Love pursues what is best for other people. You don’t fall into that because it doesn’t come naturally.
I believe marriage is one of many things God uses to help us become more like Christ. It’s a discipleship tool! So, one of my favorite passages to use in weddings is Philippians 2:3-8. These verses capture the essence of that section…
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:3-5
When you choose to love, basically, you’re choosing to be like Jesus.
When you choose to love you choose to value someone else above yourself…
…you look out for the interest of others above your own…
…you treat people better than they deserve to be treated.
You have to choose to love. You don’t fall into it.
I once heard a good friend say, “Feelings follow actions.” He’s right. Most of us want the feelings of love first so the actions can follow. But, the best feelings in marriage come on the heels of choosing love over and over again.
When Katie and I were engaged I hated it when married couples would say things like, “You have no idea what it’s going to be like!” That much was obvious. We’d never been married before! But, they were right. We’ve both been stretched.
But, married life only gets better with time when you choose to love, when you choose to be like Jesus. Choosing to act in loving ways leads to incredible feelings of love that don’t compare to anything else.
Happy anniversary, Katie! I love you!
What have you learned about relationships? I’d love to hear your insights! Leave a comment below.