I was having the discussion of whether love was an action or a feeling recently. I thought I would list the reasons I think love is more than a feeling.
The number one thing that stands out to me is that feelings change. We all know that we can feel great one moment, happy and on top of the world, then the next, we can be angry or hurt. Things that happen, both in and out of our control, can quickly change how we feel.
This goes for “feeling” love, too. One minute, we are happy with a friend, partner, or one of the kids, but the next moment they say or do something that deeply hurts or offends us. Our feelings toward them are no longer benevolent. In fact, we can quickly become angry, cold, or disconnected. If the same hurt reoccurs, or several hurts happen back to back, those benevolent feelings may be hard to get back.
Then what? I’m married to someone I don’t “feel” very kindly toward? I’m raising kids that I don’t “feel” very happy with? Hmmm.
Our happy/good feelings come and go, so do the bad ones.
Love is meant to stand the test of time, and I fully believe that love is a choice, an action, and a commitment.
Did I say it was easy? No? Good thing. It’s not always easy. Some days it is, some days we are full of happy/good feelings, the cap is on the toothpaste, the toilet paper is turned the right way, and we feel somewhat caught up on the daily chores. It is easy to enjoy our spouse and the kids on those days.
But on the days when there is toothpaste all over the bathroom, no toilet paper to be found, there are piles of laundry in every room of the house, and the dishes are piling up, those are the days we learn about the action and commitment of love. Those are the days when easy would be to pack a bag with the one clean pair of underwear we have, and go somewhere quieter, with less work and less mess.
But love in action, committed love, sticks around through those days. That kind of love keeps trying to find ways to show love – in the small things, like the note in the lunch box, the folded shirts, the mopped floors, getting each others coffee in the morning, and the kiss in the hallway.
The feelings won’t always be there, but if we can stay committed and make a choice to use actions that are kind, caring, loving, then we will get through those times, and be able to enjoy the seasons where the feelings are there.