Ah, Love! What could be more wonderful than falling in love? We find ourselves attracted to another and regardless of our age we feel like a teenager falling in love for the first time. And for a period of time, all is right with the world. But then reality sets in. We begin to notice things about our partner that we are not particularly fond of. The more time spent together, the more irritating they become. Eventually, our feelings begin to change as the inevitable approaches. We fall out of love and the relationship ends. Sadly, this happens in more than 50% of marriages. Yet few couples realize what is necessary to stay in love.
Love is not something that just happens, something one cannot choose or control. Oh contraire! Love is actually a choice, a decision, and takes a conscious effort to keep alive. When love dies, in actuality, it is because one or both parties chooses to no longer love. Let me explain:
I met my husband seventeen years ago. Within five minutes of saying hello, I knew he was a sweet man, easy going, laid back, funny, and kind. We tied the knot ten months later. Immediately, I felt as though I had made a big mistake and contemplated the “D” word. But I felt that God had brought us together for a reason and I needed to stay even thougth I kept telling myself, “This is not what I thought it was going to be. I don’t like _____ about him. I wish he was different.” So, like any good wife, I decided to fix him, (no – not neuter!) to make him a new and improved version of himself. And of course, any reasonable husband would adore his wife for making him a better person, she wrote sarcastically.
Then one day, God whispered in my ear, “Stop trying to fix him! He isn’t broken. Just love him the way I do – unconditionally. When I created him, I put so much beauty and goodness in him. Acknowledge it and appreciate him exactly the way he is.”
I realized that the more I focused on what I didn’t like about him (he never puts stuff away when he’s done using it), the more irritated I became. That changed how I felt about him. Of course, dummy! You know that your thoughts are responsible for your feelings. You’ve taught that to thousands of people. How about following your own advice?
I could see the goodness – it was so obvious. I listened to God. I focused on everything I loved and appreciated about him. He’s easy to be with, never criticizes me, allows me to be who I am and do what is important to me, loves my kids and grandchildren like his own, has integrity, is honest, hardworking, and the list goes on and on. Oh, and he makes me laugh. How can I not love him?
The ONE KEY to staying in love forever is to train yourself to continually recognize the beauty and goodness in your partner. The more you focus on the positive the more it generates feelings of love. When you concentrate on the negative, it changes the love to disappointment and anger. And thus forms the belief that we have fallen out of love. Think love and you will feel love. And the more you feel love the more the relationship endures.
Read my wedding vows, “A New Way to Love”, @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-newsletter.html#newway.
Janet Pfeiffer, The Great Truth and The Secret Side of Anger