This weekend marks my 12th wedding anniversary. People will tell me congratulations and how great an accomplishment 12 years of marriage is, but I know better. I know the accomplishment and congratulations shouldn’t be for me, but for my husband who figured out this one truth long before I ever did: Love is a choice.
There is a huge part of us that doesn’t want to hear that. Why? Because when love dies or seemingly perfect relationships fail it’s on us. It’s so much easier to believe that wonderful, blissful thing we fell into just faded away and there was nothing we could do to stop it. I’m lucky because my husband chose me when he was sixteen. He told his mom he was going to marry me and then, well, he did.
That’s the short story. The long story is, he believed in the power of his choice. Could he have loved someone else? Yes. Did he? No, because he had already chosen me. Now, I’m an idiot and it took me a long time before I made that choice, the one that I would never go back on. In our college years, I dated other people. Did a part of me love them? Sure, but when the relationship died, that love died too. A part of me thought that there was no way my husband could be the love of my life because I had feelings for other people. When he asked me to marry him, I took two months to really think about it. I loved the heck out of the guy, but was it fair if he had loved me more, or better?
Thankfully, I was blessed to wake up a realize I had a choice. The choice to choose him. And to choose him forever. To love him more and better every day. That was the best choice I ever made and will ever make.
I believe we can fall. We can fall in love in brutal, painful, and wonderful ways. The staying in love is where the choice comes. I promise there is nothing more romantic than having that someone who has seen your worst, even been the brunt of your worst, wake up beside you and say, “I love you.” In that moment, you know there’s no crazy outside force holding them there. It’s a inner force, an inner strength of feeling that goes beyond anything you can imagine and only gets stronger with time.
I’m so glad my amazing husband understood this and has taken the last twelve years to teach me love is really about the choice.