Love is a Four Letter Verb

“I fell in love with him. But I don’t just stay with him by default as if there’s no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me.”

– Tris Prior, “Allegiant”

I’ve started and stopped writing this post off and on for three months now. But thoughts about this have brewed in my mind pretty much since I started paying attention to relationships. My sister’s in particular. When I was younger my older sister and I use to talk a lot. Well, she did most of the talking. I would usually just listen. I like to listen. And observe. And absorb. In all honesty, talking makes me nervous. I can never form words from the thoughts in my head. In fact, this post will probably not do my own internal thoughts any justice. Anyway, she’s the one who put the idea in my head. The idea that love is not a feeling, but a choice.

I thought I loved my boyfriend within a few months of our relationship. He was everything to me. If we had gone to the same school or lived closer to each other I’m pretty sure my friends would have resented me for spending so much time with him. Luckily, we had about 8 miles between us. But we spoke on the phone every night and saw each other every weekend. We were each other’s top friend on MySpace and had lines of sappy, romantic love songs next to our anniversary date in our AIM profiles. It was all very typical. Very teenage. Very young.

And then, two years into our relationship, I broke up with him. I stopped loving him. I tried to justify it with the fact I was losing feelings for him or falling out of love, but in fact I was finding reasons not to love him. Little things that used to charm me would annoy me and instead of attempting to fix the problems I opted out of them. I gave up. I chose not to stay and fight. I chose to leave.

That was, first of all, stupidity on my part because in those three months we were a part he could have easily shut the door on us forever. And second that wasn’t love. Because if I had loved him I would have chosen to do so. I would have taken action into my own hands. I would have remedied whatever was making our relationship falter.

I don’t think people lose feelings for others. You lose feeling in your mouth and go numb when you get a filling (I just got three today), not over a person. Feelings are fleeting, any woman going through PMS can vouch for this. They come and go. They fade with time. I don’t think this is an appropriate definition that describes love.

I believe love takes time. Time to both grow within and into. And time to realize just what love is. It takes effort and energy. There may be quirks and flaws in a person but accepting and maybe even learning to admire them will take a lot of patience. It takes action. Displaying your love (and I do not mean buying your boy/girlfriend a gift for every month anniversary) daily is important. Not just saying it, but showing it. By caring about them. In all aspects of life. Unconditionally and consistently. And it takes a choice. Choosing to stick by even when it’s the hardest thing to do. I think that it is in those times of trial and tribulation that your love should show the most.

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