If you’d have asked me two years ago what makes a good relationship, I probably wouldn’t have known what to say. If anything, I would have given some vague, generic response, like, “You make each other happy,” or, “you always have fun together,” or, “you can let go of a grudge after a fight.” Don’t get me wrong, those things are definitely true, but there’s so much more to it than that. How do two people come to make each other happy? And what is it about a couple that makes them always have fun together? Why do some couples fall apart after a fight while others somehow manage to grow closer?
The answer? Simple – love is an action, not an emotion.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Wait, Amy, that can’t be right! That doesn’t make sense! Even the dictionary defines love as an emotion!”
Okay, love is commonly viewed as a feeling. It’s certainly emotional, isn’t it? How many times have you asked someone why they chose their partner, only to be told that they “just knew he/she was The One?” That they just “had a good feeling” about their significant other? The question I would want answered, then, is why? How did you know? What gave you that feeling?
I’d be willing to bet that it was something that they did.
Think about it this way: even saying, “I love you,” is an action. But it’s not enough to just say it. Speaking is easy. Words can be empty. Lips can lie. Love isn’t something that you just stumble into; the right partner isn’t a magical creation conjured just for you. There’s no such thing as a perfect person. If there was, loving someone would be easy. There would never be any disagreements or misunderstandings.
Love is hard. Every day when you love someone, you are making a choice to put their needs before yours. You are giving a piece of yourself to them that you know you can’t get back. You are allowing them into your heart, knowing that if they break it, that scar will be there forever.
Have you ever heard that love is a choice? I have. Ever since first reading that statement, my entire view of love has changed. Love isn’t something that you find, it’s something that you make. Love is an action, and you have to choose to make that action every single day.
So how do you choose someone? What does that mean? Choosing your partner is a compilation of actions spread out over hours, days, months, and years. When you wake up in the morning, you choose to give them a kiss on the cheek before you leave for the work. At dinner, you choose to put your phone away listen to their hopes, their dreams, and their ambitions. You choose to cherish the relationship that you’ve built together – and you choose to show them that you cherish it. You choose to make sure that they know how much you appreciate them.
On a bad day, you choose to hold them in your arms as they cry. You choose to make them a cup of soup when they’re sick. When they’re a little extra tired, you choose to tiptoe through the house to take the dogs out for a walk and give them a little more time to sleep. After an argument, you choose to let it go rather than hold it over them.
Loving someone is making a conscious decision to love them and keep loving them, no matter what the world brings your way.
Don’t just tell your partner that you love them. Show them.
You’ll be glad that you did.