Choose to Love

(I felt like writing an encouraging letter for love today. Today is an anniversary of sorts, so as I plug nostalgically along, I hope the message hits home for whoever needs to hear these words.)

The world has written countless novels, plays, and histories based on love. Love truly has changed the courses of people, families, and even nations! An affection for Helen of Troy launched a thousand ships into war. A desire for Anne Boleyn set in motion the English protestant reformation. Romeo and Juliet. Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth. People have yearned for millennia to find one whom their heart desires.

I don’t believe in soul mates, because the idea that only one person in the world can satisfy your heart is a bit heart-breaking. Instead, I think that love is a choice; a choice born out of swooning emotion, rational logic, heart flutters, and peaceful comfort all swirled together. 

Love is a journey, a beautiful process that develops over time. It is only natural that marriage vows eventually follow true love to contain its wonderful promises of joy, trust, and contentment.

Eight years ago today, I started that journey. 
Eight years ago I stopped being afraid of falling in love and took that leap. 

For years, I had been afraid to fall in love. I don’t know why. That problem was compounded by the fact that every guy I dated lost his charm after a couple weeks; I just got bored and stopped being interested. My roommates in college could predict this, and they knew if I ever went on a walk with someone around Porter Park it was over. They nicknamed my breakup talk "the walk of shame." I had championed the line of "it's not you, it's me" because I said it so many times. Luckily, I wasn’t doomed to always be running away.

A guy named Johnny popped into my life. Like so many guys before him, I was super interested. I day dreamed about him. I flirted and tried to catch his eye. There was something special about him though - he didn’t pick up on my hints! He wasn’t pushing me away; he was legitimately unaware of the flirting. For me, that made the chase even more fun, and eventually he flirted back. My interest in him made it past the two week mark, and he asked me on our first date. Three days after our first date, I knew that I would marry him!

Any thought about marriage in the past would have freaked me out and made me run away, but not this time. Knowing that I would marry him three days after the first date left me feeling so peaceful. I don’t know exactly how to describe the feeling, but I knew. For so long I had prayed about my future and marriage, and this peaceful confident feeling came as a result of prayer. It was a tender mercy to me from my Father in Heaven.

Eight years ago I wrote in my journal:
“I know it – I’m going to marry Johnny. . . this morning before church I felt the inspiration, I knew, that if he chose it, we would fall in love and marry. . . Now granted we’re not even dating yet, and nothing has really happened yet apart from hanging out and flirty text messages, but I know that if we both let faith overturn our fear, it’ll be amazing.”

And amazing it has been! Shortly after this journal entry, we had our second date. Six days later we held hands for the first time. After holding hands I journaled, “He’s so awesome, and I can’t wait to watch us fall in love.” One week after knowing that he was the one I would marry, he asked me to be his girlfriend officially. The rest is history.

I chose to love. Johnny chose to love.

When you meet someone that meets all your expectations, makes your heart pound, and has the ability to sweep all your fears away, pay attention. When you meet someone that balances your imperfections and praises your strengths, pay attention. Love refines us to be more selfless, more kind, more giving, and more honest. Love is amazing. Love truly alters the course of our lives!

Obviously both people need to choose love. Both people need to nurture the relationship. But if you have found someone to love and the relationship is healthy, uplifting, honest, and easy, then hold on tight. Don’t be afraid to take the leap of faith towards marriage. If your stars have aligned and everything’s right, then enjoy your blessing from heaven. Marriage is awesome too!

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