In case we don’t know each other–to say I was a bookworm growing up is the understatement of the century. To paint a picture, I was the kid who got in trouble for reading my book under my desk during class. (Look, I was bored, and done with the class work. No regrets).
And in my childhood church growing up there was a library. It was nothing fancy–just a room off of the pastor’s office that basically operated on the honor system. There was a lot of theology books, but there was also a lot of Christian Fiction books that I regularly checked out and read (frequently even during service–sorry David)
One of them was a book by Karen Kingsbury. It was the first in what became a whole series about this family from the Midwest. I don’t remember a lot about the plot, but one particular line stayed with me–and honestly helped shape how I view marriage.
“I choose to love you.”
This character (one of the daughters) was going through this awful time in her marriage. If memory serves her husband had an affair and she was (naturally) wrecked. She was agonizing over what to do, and while I don’t remember how they got here, I do remember that at the end of the book she and her husband are talking and they basically say this:
“I choose to love you. Every day I will wake up and choose to love you. No matter how much you’ve hurt me or what you’ve said or if I feel like it. I will wake up and choose to love you”
(Also, while this sounds kind of terrible–he had an affair, and she just forgives him and says that she’ll choose to love him no mater what–I promise it made sense in the context and that it was a mutual thing borne out of love and respect–this wasn’t a woman being walked on)
That statement just blew me away.
And at 12, it helped shaped how I saw relationships. My love for you is not dependent on your action. I can hate what you did and how you’re acting and still choose to love you and show you love.
In fact, I requested that this be in our vows on my wedding day. That’s how they ended–I choose to love you. Because love to me, is a choice. I wake up every day and choose to love my husband. Even when he drives me crazy. Even when he says something hurtful. Even when I don’t feel like loving him. Love is a choice that we make. I choose love.