Love is an ability
In the movie “Dan in real life”, there is this scene where a young man (Marty) takes a bus from far away to visit with his girlfriend who is on holiday with her whole family at the lake. They arrange this in secret and when her dad (Dan) finds out, he is furious and sends Marty back home. In Dan’s mind these young people cannot possibly understand love. Dan has faced some hard knocks in his own life and has come to see love as very complex. As they walk to the car Dan says to Marty: “Love is a dangerous feeling”. Marty replies: “No sir, love is not a feeling, it is an ability.”
There is something about the simplicity in the love that Marty describes that leads me to ask the question: “Do we not make love too complicated sometimes?” For Marty love was very simple. He saw love as his ability to connect with someone and did not reason about the emotional part of it. Marty simply made up his mind and followed through. I do think love involves both feeling and ability, but I also think that Marty’s statement was grounded in something much deeper. A choice. Love is not only an ability or feeling, but the foundation of love is a choice.
One of the most powerful choices you can make is the choice to love someone and commit to making that decision every day through marriage. If I understand love is a choice, I also understand that I need to take action to communicate love. Waiting for you to communicate your love towards me is fruitless. If I wait until I “feel” like I want to show my love to you, I’ll wait a long time. To choose love requires me to be bold and act on my decision.
When I choose love I have no excuse for growing cold towards my partner. I do not withdraw my love when I do not like what my partner is doing. On the contrary, this is exactly the moment when I communicate my love loud and clear. Our relationship is sustained by the choice to love and not by the feelings that accompany it.
When I create an environment of love for this person in my life, I empower them to become the best possible version of them self.
Acquiring the tools
Making the choice is the first step. Learning how to communicate my love to my partner in a way that they understand is a skill, or the ability, that I will need to develop in order to support my decision to love.
One tool I have found to be very helpful in learning how to communicate my love towards my partner is “The five love languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman. In this 14 minute video I briefly go about explaining the model and how you can put it into action to build a strong relationship.
To discover your primary love language, head over to the love languages website and take the test.
Or you could buy the five love languages book for your own collection