“In real life, love is much more than a feeling.
It is a long series of decisions to be together and to give to one another,
a commitment to work together to build a shared life,
a day to day involvement that changes who we are as people.
Love involves your entire being:
your love for someone is a part of you because it involves your feelings, your thoughts, and your actions.”
–Blaine J. Fowler
I’ve been thinking about love lately, about what it really means to love someone. Not just romantic love, but love in a more general way. I think our culture overemphasizes the feeling part of love and underemphasizes the thinking and doing parts of love. Dr. Fowler’s quote above is talking about love in marriage but I think it also applies to love in other relationships, in our friendships, in our family relationships.
Especially the “long series of decisions” part. ACT refers to this as “values in action”, living your life, behaving in your life, in ways that are congruent with what you value, what you want your life to stand for. Loving someone means feeling the feeling of love (that seems to me the easy part:-) but it also means choosing to think loving thoughts and act in loving ways.
Thinking loving thoughts and acting in loving ways when you are not feeling loving feelings is where the rubber meets the road, in my opinion. This deliberate and intentional “values in action” is the part that isn’t taught or emphasized enough in our culture, that loving someone is wonderful and feels good a lot of the time but it is also hard work and deliberate effort.
Worth it, as the saying goes, love is what makes the journey worth it. But also good to be prepared to live love, to think love and do love, not just feel it.
My name is Carol J. Tadeusik. I am a licensed psychologist in Durham, North Carolina. I invite you to read my blog and get to know me and a bit about how I think. And by the way, I love comments!
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