How And Why To Choose Love Every Day
As with many positive behaviors, the habit of love can be built up through small everyday actions. When you opt for generosity and kindness despite not feeling generous or kind, you could be making that choice a little bit easier the next time. This article will suggest some simple but effective ways to choose love every day.
What Does It Mean To Choose Love?It can sometimes be hard to see love as a choice because the word “love” can be used in many different ways. Sometimes it simply means a strong preference, such as when we say “I love this band!” Other times, it means the deep affection and care that we feel for families or lifelong friends. Often, it means the dizzying, head-over-heels feeling of attraction that hits us in the early stages of a relationship.
However, “love” can also refer to a pattern of behavior rather than an emotion. It can mean the kind, caring actions we take toward others. Sometimes it means doing things that are difficult or even dangerous to keep the people we care about happy and safe. In this sense, love is a choice we make, rather than something that happens to us.
Some researchers have defined theories of romantic love that account for these many meanings. For example, the Quadruple Framework identifies attraction as only one of four key ingredients in love. The others are connection, trust, and respect, all of which can be strengthened by loving actions from a partner.
Choosing love can mean making choices to show that you respect your partner and value your connection. Building trust may mean making those choices again and again until they become second nature. The suggestion below may give you some ideas on how to choose love in your everyday life.
Though you may describe your partner as “perfect for you”, there’s a good chance you don’t love everything about them. Most people have some annoying habits, and since our loved ones are often the people we spend the most time with, we see their flaws on full display.
One simple (though not always easy) way to choose love is to let some of those little annoyances slide. If you’re constantly criticizing your partner, they may feel that you don’t actually like them for who they are. At least one study has shown that hostile criticism can have important negative impacts on relationship satisfaction. When you’re feeling irritated, it may be worth taking abreath, recalling that you love your partner despite their foibles, and holding back your comments.
This doesn’t mean you should be a doormat. Expressing anger when appropriate can be important for the health of relationships. But it might be best to save your criticism for the things that really matter.
Affirm Their Feelings
If respect is a core component of healthy love, dismissing a partner’s feelings can come across as very un-loving. Sometimes, though, we can become fixated on whether the other person is “right” to feel a certain way. This might cause us to turn an opportunity for greater empathy and intimacy into an argument.
When your partner expresses a negative feeling, it may be helpful to remember that emotions can’t be “right” or “wrong.” Their initial reaction is a reality that they’re experiencing, even if they come to agree with you later on. Choosing love can mean acknowledging and validating what they feel instead of immediately going on the defensive.
Give Them Your Attention
Research on relationship dynamics suggests that early-stage love often has a somewhat obsessive quality. You may think about the other person all the time, plan your week around when you can see them, and have to struggle not to text or call them too much. This urgency often fades as your relationship becomes more stable and your feelings for your partner take on a more comfortable, familiar quality.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it may mean that you have to work harder not to take the person you love for granted. You could make a habit out of small, unexpected gestures of affection that make it clear they’re in your thoughts. You might also want to avoid gluing your eyes to your phone or diving into some other personal activity when the two of you are together. Undivided attention can be a simple but powerful sign of love.
Learn Their Love Language
The theory of love languages has been talked about so much that it can sound cheesy to some. Still, the basic concept that different people have different ways of expressing and receiving love has received support from psychological research. For example, you might feel more loved when your partner does small things to make your life easier, but they might feel more loved when you give them compliments. A 2022 study found that relationship satisfaction is greater among couples who learn and adopt each others’ love languages.
If you don’t know the love language of the person you’re with, they’ll probably be happy to tell you. You may also be able to get a hint by paying attention to how they act toward you. For example, if they tend to hug you, kiss you, and stroke your hair when they’re feeling affectionate, there’s a good chance that “physical touch” is a big love language for them.
It may not feel natural for you to express love their way. But getting out of your comfort zone for your partner’s sake can be an important way to choose love.
Support Their Passions
It can be healthy in a relationship for both people to have some interests of their own. This may give you both some time to yourselves so you don’t feel stifled. That said, it can be very discouraging when a partner seems to take no interest at all in the things that you care about.
When you’re in love with a person who has a passion that you don’t have, you can choose love by taking an interest in it anyway. That doesn’t necessarily mean it has to become your favorite thing. However, making the effort to learn a bit about it may bring your partner a lot of happiness.
If they’re taking part in a competition or putting on a show, maybe you can show up and cheer them on. If they make art, maybe you can display it in your workspace. Even if it’s not your cup of tea, it may mean a lot to the person you love.
Try To See Them In The Best Light Possible
Most people have some qualities that are less than ideal, even those we love dearly. Being in love doesn’t necessarily mean ignoring everything that’s wrong with the other person. However, it might mean making an effort to see the good in them.
Some researchers have found that the most successful relationships are the ones in which people view their partners more positively than their partners view themselves. Though this might sound like self-deception, there’s evidence that it can genuinely improve mutual happiness over time. Choosing love could mean giving your partner the benefit of the doubt and looking harder for their good qualities than their bad ones.
You Can Choose Love In Any Relationship
The advice above has focused a lot on romantic partners, but it can apply equally well to other types of emotional connections. You can choose love with your family and friends as well. Even people who don’t feel romantic or physical attraction can still give and receive love in many of the ways we’ve described.
Relationship Counseling May Help You Choose Love
If you’re finding it challenging to express love in your life, you might want to consider working with a therapist. Sometimes a person outside of the relationship can have an easier time spotting the ways that your communications are breaking down.
Online counseling might be a good choice for those who need urgent relationship help or find it difficult to make time for therapy. Web-based platforms often speed up the process of finding a therapist and make scheduling easier.
Therapy delivered over the internet has been shown to be equally effective as traditional couples’ counseling. A study published in 2020 concluded that most participants who tried web-based therapy “found the videoconferencing experience to be beneficial and positive.” Some reported that the online format enhanced their sense of control and comfort, making it easier to connect with their therapist. BetterHelp can assist you in locating and talking with a licensed counselor to help you make more loving choices in your relationships.
You may find that your relationships are healthier if you think of love as something you do, not something that happens to you. Seemingly small choices like paying attention to your partner, validating their feelings, and taking an interest in the things they care about may help you build a flourishing romance. Choosing love every day can be the key to keeping it alive.
Commonly Asked Questions Below:
What does it mean to choose love?
When someone refers to ways to choose love, they may be referring to a number of different things. Often, choosing love means being good to other people. Acts of kindness, working to understand other people, and standing up for the rights of others can all be means of choosing love. Some may also say that they're putting light into the world. In relationships, choosing love can refer to the process of working to better the partnership. It can also be relevant to state that there are a number of different types of love. These can include but aren't limited to self love, familial love (such as love for parents), love for friends or in friendships, and the love that occurs in romantic relationships. All of these bonds can be meaningful.
Is love a feeling or a choice?
In some ways, love can be both a feeling and a choice. Love can also be both a noun and a verb. One individual may sometimes develop feelings for another person without necessarily choosing to consciously or giving their heart permission, so to speak. One might not always be able to control their emotions, but what they can do is decide what actions to take. For example, one may choose not to enter a relationship with a coworker, even if they do develop a crush. When someone develops feelings for someone else, the body will release hormones that can boost mood and cause other effects. This is often an enjoyable sensation that an individual may notice both mentally and physically.
Is staying in love a choice?
Staying in a relationship is a choice in some situations. At times, the decision to stay in a relationship is a healthy one, whereas other times, a person may decide that exiting the relationship is best, even if they are sad to do so. Both of these choices are okay and will vary from person to person. The support of a therapist can help regardless of if you choose to stay in a partnership or break it off. If you are thinking about how to go about healing from the end of a relationship, a therapist can validate you and help you work through the grief that may come with it. Either way, if you are thinking that you may benefit from professional care, do not hesitate to reach out.
If you need a place to discuss love and relationships, consider BetterHelp. Read more articles on love, dating, and other topics on the BetterHelp website, or sign up to get started with online therapy today.