This is how I know that love is a choice
The beginning of relationships are beautiful. The newness is exciting. The excitement is breathtaking. It is breathtaking how much you can love someone new, so quickly.
Deciding to love someone, the same someone, for an extended period of time is the hardest commitment. Long term love is like the ocean. It comes and goes. It floods and recedes. It ebbs and flows. You fear the dry seasons, and you feel overwhelmed as the tide comes in.
This is Elliott, my husband of the past five years, and my someone for the past almost seven years. We were kids when we began this journey. I was nineteen, he was twenty. We originally met when we were kids, somewhere around the eight of 8. We coincidentally met again in high school, on the first day of my freshman year, his sophomore, as his locker was below mine. We were kind acquaintances, and nothing more until I was seventeen and he was eighteen. Come seventeen, I looked at him with stars in my eyes, and he was merely a flirt who playfully took advantage of my affection. At twenty, for him, he came around, and he now looked at me with stars in his eyes – the rest is history. Rough, painful, and inspiring history. Nearly seven years later, with mistakes, fights, and pain, in our history, and of course, in our future as well. This face is how I know that love is choice. These past seven years, we have ebbed and flowed. We have turned our backs on each other, we have clawed at each other, we have fought each other, and fought for each other. We have experienced life and love at it’s fullest, it has broken us, and we have mended each other. He has chosen other things, relationships, hobbies, and himself. In return, I have chosen other relationships, work, and school. I have put other interests before our relationship, as I began to lose myself in the midst of his other choosing’s. As we have decided to solely and only choose each other, we have never thrived as well.
This is what I choose. A personal flaw of mine is that I can be fickle and flighty. I was not always like this, but as life and loss continued, staying in one place, and feel contentment began to feel like a chore instead of an opportunity. Loving me comes with a lot of commitment, especially, when I begin to stop cherishing commitment. Every day we love, it is a choice. The longer you know someone, most often, the more you know, and the harder it becomes to see someone. With each day, you have to choose to love, and each time you choose the one that chooses you, love grows. It blooms. It manifests. It strengthens.
I am not blind to the mistakes that I have made, and the ways that I have attributed to the rough times in our relationship, and as human nature would have it be, I am even more attune and unrelenting to the mistakes he has made. Love is seeing these mistakes, and still saying each day, “I see you; I believe in you, I will not abandon you because you are not perfect. I will not abandon you because you are human.”
So, to him I say, thank you for bringing out the human in me. The mess in me. The parts of me I won’t show anyone else. Thank you for knowing my darkest moments, and choosing to not exploit them. Love is showing someone the depths of their soul, and trusting them to hold it close, to hold it dear, and to love it deeper than they love your perfect parts – because that is intimacy, that is sacred, that is love.
Choose something today. Commit to something today. Adopt a dog. Get a tattoo. Chase a career, a person, a dream. Commit to a life long something. Choose you.