You can’t help who you fall in love with. Right? Love is a powerful force and we are totally at its mercy. Right? One minute you are walking down the street, the next minute you’re confronted by a gorgeous bloke/girl (delete as appropriate) and that’s it, head over heels in love. Right?
You can’t help who you’re attracted to, true, but you definitely can help who you love.
The feeling you have when you see that person is lust not love. Lust is an intense desire for something, a person or an object. We desire it in order to satisfy ourselves. When you love a person you seek to put them first and consider their needs. Love is a gift you give to someone else.
Take these two examples of love in action. Firstly, you prepare a meal for your partner at home, you appreciate so much the way they never complain about their job and want to give them something special. As you get the food ready your feelings of love and appreciation grow, you can’t wait for them to get home and enjoy it. That’s love.
Secondly, you and your partner have had a row, you feel angry and defensive and you want to storm out. As your partner sits in the other room you know they feel it too. You boil the kettle and take in a cup of tea. That’s love.
In the first example you go with your feelings, in the second example you go against them.
My son came home from school one day having had an assembly in which he was told ‘You can’t help who you fall in love with.’ ‘What do you think?’ I said. He said ‘Well, I suppose that’s right.’ ‘Humm..’ said I, ‘What would happen if I popped out to the Tesco now and while I was there I saw this gorgeous bloke that I fell in love with. Would that be the end of my marriage to Dad, would that be the end of our family?’ My boy looked a bit shocked.
If we are really just a slave to our feelings, who knows what would happen when you pop out to Tesco? The truth is we are all free to make choices, choices that cause our feelings to grow or to diminish.
Lust is an emotional and physical response. Love might start with a feeling, but then it’s is a choice followed by action. As we continue to act in love towards our partner our feelings will grow stronger than ever.