I read a thoughtful post on love recently. The author considered love an emotion and talked about the power of an emotion and and the other side of that emotion, the fear created from the concern that love won’t be returned. It made me think about what love has meant in my life.
The emotional dimension of love is the one we usually address. It’s the one we see in the popular media and the one we remember from our youth. But there is more to love than just emotion. For a person like me who acts more from reason than emotion (this is not a judgment or recommendation, just a fact) the emotional side of love is fleeting and usually tentative. That may not be true for everybody but for me the lasting dimension of love is commitment. It is what you can build a life around. I love my wife. It may have begun as emotion (or hormones) but over the years my emotions have run hot and cold. If I followed my emotions alone, I am sure that I would be unhappily divorced today. Because I have come to understand love as commitment, I have learned to love my wife (commit myself to making her the most important person in my life) even though at times I may not really like her. My love for her is a commitment to making her life as good as I am able. She responds the same way.
Do we make each other feel wonderful every moment of every day? Definitely not. I often fail and sometimes my failure is big time. My wife is gracious (or at least gives me another try) in my failings because she has learned that it is never my intention to hurt her despite the apparent evidence to the contrary. My only point here is not to diminish the emotion in our lives but to suggest that emotion may lead to hasty actions and long regrets. Building on the motion with commitment can make a relationship that stands the test of time.