“Though the mountains leave their place and the hills be shaken, My love shall never leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken, says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” (Isaiah 54:10)
As Christ was on the cross, He freely chose to remain there out of love. He understood God’s plan for mercy and redemption in the world and His great part in that plan. He understood that love conquers all and that this love must be freely chosen. He is God and He could have taken himself down from that cross, relieved himself from all suffering at any point. But He didn’t. He instead chose to love through the difficult times. He demonstrated for us that love isn’t always about the great feelings – it is about a conscious decision to love through all feelings, good and bad. He couldn’t have been feeling all that great while he was in so much physical pain from the torture he endured. He couldn’t have been feeling supported or loved from all the people, including some of his own beloved disciples, who abandoned and rejected him. In his final moments he even felt abandoned by his own father. However, although he probably wasn’t feeling very loved or filled with great emotions of love for the world, he still chose to act out of love. He chose love.
Too often we hear about falling in love – this great feeling that we can’t control or help. The problem with this definition of falling in love is that all feelings – good and bad – are temporary. Basing your commitment to your spouse, or anyone else in your life, off of a good feeling will only ever produce frustration and problems because at some point that temporary feeling will give way to other feelings. The good feelings may come frequently, but they will never remain permanent. Unconditional love, the love that never leaves, never gives up, and remains true through all challenges must be based on something other than feelings. It must be a conscious decision made continually at all times. It must be a decision to commit to the person you love at each and every moment in your day for all your days, even when the good feelings aren’t there. Love that is based in a conscious decision can withstand the trials that it encounters because it actively chooses to love no matter how difficult life may be.
This love means waking up each morning and determining to love your spouse the best you can in every moment of the day. It means looking for ways you can show that love throughout each and every day. It means that in both the good and bad times, you internally renew your commitment to your spouse. It means that especially in the difficult moments, you actively choose to love your spouse regardless of what your emotions may be telling you. As a spouse this means loving no matter what -loving no matter if you receive love back, loving when you are tired and worn down, and loving when you are rejected, denied, hurt, scared, or frustrated. It means that you love and forgive and never look back. It is choosing love over emotions, and when you choose to love through the difficult times when the feelings may not be there, it allows those amazing feelings of love to return and replace the current frustrations and hurt. Choosing to love is choosing to commit to your spouse no matter what you feel. It is deciding to be like Christ on the cross and commit to loving through the difficult times when the emotions may not be running high. This unconditional love begins with a conscious thought to love regardless of feelings and from that decision and commitment to love come loving actions and loving feelings.