Happy New Year! It’s Kirbie today to share with you about a podcast I was listening to recently. It was on a topic many people misunderstand – love. In the coaching Gregg and I do, love is always a huge factor. We are all in one of these phases – I just lost someone I love, I have someone I love and I want to keep him, or I want to find someone to love. Most of our coaching deals with the first – I just lost someone I love. It was this, combined with the podcast, which inspired me to write to you today about this burning question – what is love all about?

You Choose to Love

Love isn’t going to land in your lap. As much as I would like it to happen, love isn’t going to just land in my life. When we meet a new man, something either clicks between you or it doesn’t, but this isn’t love. It’s excitement or infatuation, maybe lust. You can make a choice, though, to learn more about this person, and over time, you build intimacy together and begin showing one another your love.

We all know someone we would describe as being ‘incapable of loving’. A person who can be described in this way is someone who is choosing another emotion, like anger, instead of love. Your emotions are a choice you make, but many don’t realize this. We often coach women to begin listening to the voice in their heads – to hear the negative thoughts and insert positive replacements. This is the beginning of controlling your own emotions.

Think of it this way. You’re driving down the highway, minding your own business until someone cuts you off, causing you to slam on your breaks or swerve. What you do next is your choice. You can choose to be grateful you didn’t get into an accident or you can choose to rant and rave, flip them off, and generally have a hissy fit. Whether you realize it or not, you make a choice.

Your Actions Show Your Love

When you are in a committed relationship, love is something you do, something you show your partner. Love isn’t something you just feel. You choose to love someone by being there for him. If your spouse is up in the middle of the night ill, you choose to love him when you get up with him, to comfort him and meet any immediate needs he may have. This is an act of love. A choice you made to love him by caring for him.

By the same token, you can show someone you don’t love them by your inaction. I have a very close relative who has major medical issues which often land him in the emergency room. His (now ex) wife wouldn’t even lift a finger to help him. He either had to call a rescue squad or ask another family member to take him to the ER. His wife never missed a beat in her life. She showed him she didn’t love him by her lack of action.

When You Love, You make a Commitment

For those of you who are parents, you may understand this better than anyone. You love your children, and you, as a good parent, know that showing your love to your children means supporting them, disciplining them when necessary, encouraging them to learn and grow, and taking on their feeding and daily care. This isn’t something you do because you’re required to. I have seen the results of parents who don’t love their children. It does happen and with devastating results. You make a choice to love them, and with that choice, you make a commitment to their care and well-being.

The same goes for a relationship. When you choose to love someone, you make a commitment to them – to be supportive of their dreams, to care for them when they are ill or injured, to be honest and open with them.

Recognize Love

With all of that said, do you recognize love, or a lack of it, when it is in your life? Gregg spends a lot of time in his books explaining how men love, and much of this fits how men love. We both hear many women tell us “he doesn’t love me”, then they go on to explain how the man in question came over and fixed their car, garbage disposal, garage door or leaky toilet. Maybe he came and hung a shelf, dug a new garden, mowed your lawn or took out your trash.

His actions showed you his love. He chose to do those things instead of hanging with his buddies or watching sports. He made a commitment to you to help you.

On the other hand, does your man only provide lip service? Be careful of a man who only says he loves you without putting actions behind his words. Especially a man who is treating you poorly, hurting you more often than he helps you. He makes many promises, delivers on few, if any. He says he loves you, but he chooses to work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, spending day 7 in front of the television or out playing golf. He says he loves you, but instead of spending time with you on your one night off, he chooses to go to the bar with the same buddies he was just with 2 nights prior.

So Then, What is Love?

Love is deliberate, not something that just happens. What we often call love is really emotions like euphoria, desire, excitement, happiness and maybe even lust. Those things come and go as quickly as the things which cause them. He says he loves you, you feel excited and happy. He chooses to date another woman, you feel devastation and heartbreak. Rather than listen to what he says, look at the choices he makes, the commitment he has to your relationship or his actions toward you.

The same goes for you. If he doesn’t feel loved, are you showing him you love him? Did you make a commitment to the relationship? Did your actions show him you love him? Did you choose him over an extra 3 hours of yoga class? Love goes both ways and requires a lot of effort.

For more ways to learn about strengthening your relationship through actions, commitment and choice, read Gregg’s latest book, for sale only on the Who Holds the Cards Website, Pennies in the Jar: How to Keep a Man for Life.

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