Monday, June 13, 2011

Can Irrational Love be Rationalized?

Sometimes, love doesn’t make any sense.

Have you ever fallen in love so deeply that common sense flew out the window?  Were you able to tame your emotions? Or restrain your actions?
Based on personal experience, giving into whim and riding the whirlwind can be fun. But now after all the heartache I’ve found or caused, I’ve finally learned how to love intentionally. I don’t mean forcing love... the most rewarding love can cross our paths when we least expect it. I’m talking about being intentional about who you commit to. And deliberately sustaining that love with conscious choice. 
There’s a passage from a Psychology Today article that’s been burned into my memory:
"Choose a partner wisely and well. We are attracted to people for all kinds of reasons. They remind us of someone from our past. They shower us with gifts and make us feel important. [But] evaluate a potential partner as you would a friend; look at their character, personality, values, their generosity of spirit, the relationship between their words and actions, their relationships with others."

So true. We face difficult choices every day—and decisions of the heart are often clouded by emotion. Why is it that we spend so much time thinking about careers or investments, but then settle with the first person that meets the bare minimum requirements? For me love is less about  serendipity than it is about exploring my own cognitive, emotional, and physical needs. Only when I fully knew myself was I finally able to navigate a crowd and wisely pick the person who is—not perfect—but perfect for me.

And I’m learning that when the dynamic between two people syncs up, it makes sustaining that love easier and worthwhile. It took a pause and a series of continual pauses—a pause to discern the right person from the wrong, and continued pauses to choose the right behaviors over the detrimental. It may require more effort in the interim, but can make all the difference between a life of happiness and a life of misery.

Love is a mystery. It can’t be explained, and I wouldn’t dare try. All I know is there will be a day when my life comes to an end and I want to have loved my partner as passionately as possible. As The Head and the Heart touchingly put it, “Just wanna die with the one I love beside me.”