Intentional-LoveAt what point do you choose to love your partner?

We often attribute falling in love to chance or to the fact that we think the person is “The One”. We effortlessly float off into bliss, but at which point did we consciously make the effort and the choice to love?

When you are in the beginning stages of love it is often exciting, preoccupying and surreal. It can be hard to think about anything else and impossible to imagine that you will ever encounter differences or that the same person you can’t get enough of will eventually annoy you. At this stage in the development of romantic love, loving that person doesn’t really take a conscious decision or effort. It just happens. It comes naturally and easily without much thought or contemplation. But this feeling doesn’t last forever and we find ourselves asking,

Why did it fade?
Did I do something wrong?
What changed?

Maybe in your mind they have changed. They don’t do the same things anymore or say the same things. You may feel less loved by them and the relationship takes more work. For many people this is where they question whether they chose the right person after all. They ask themselves how so many differences and idiosyncrasies could have gone unnoticed.

When the feeling of being in love has worn off, you are left with your partner and with a choice. So often when we come to this place in a relationship where we are forced to choose to love someone intentionally, we go back to the pursuit of the “in love feeling” instead.

But your relationships will always come to a place where you will consciously have to choose to love your partner. To compromise, make sacrifices and even put their needs above your own. It may be the end of one phase that brought you both so close together but it is also the beginning of a life-long journey of true intimacy and friendship.

Passion can be conjured up. It can be confused with counterfeits such as desire and preoccupied obsession, but intimacy cannot be fabricated. It can only come out of a journey through life together that is authentic and devoted.

I encourage you to love your partner with intent and watch as their heart is filled and they love you more in return. Take the next week to study your partner and the ways they express and receive love and make a conscious effort to love them in that way. It will completely change your relationship and will be the start of a new and intimate journey together.

This article was originally written for and posted on Liveabundantly.ca