You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13 (NIV)
Like most families with teenagers, some conversations with our kids are so repetitive. It seems like there are certain talks we have over and over again. One of those conversations at our house has to do with dating and the opposite sex. I want to prepare my kids to have a healthy marriage, and I want them to understand that the typical dating habits of most young people don’t prepare them for commitment-based love. The infatuation and warm feelings during a typical teenage romance are so unlike marriage – at least marriages that last.
I want my kids to know that some day when they’re married they will need more to go on than feelings of infatuation because marriage takes commitment, love, and hard work. The promise at the altar is to love in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad. My kids hate to hear me say it, but I want them to understand that sometimes in marriage you must choose to love because it’s right…not because you feel like it. Ultimately, I want them to know that love is a decision not a feeling. Feelings will change, but if they have predetermined to love their spouse through thick and thin, their marriage will have a much greater chance of lasting.
Really, love works this way in all relationships. If we only love others when we feel like it, this world would be a pretty sad place. And if we were naturally inclined to love others all the time, then why did God give us so many instructions in the Bible on the matter?
I find I need lots of encouragement and reminders to choose to love. After all love is so much more than a feeling. It’s a choice.