After going through over 70 relationships in my lifetime, I think I have enough experience to conclude that there is no such thing as “I couldn’t help it – One day I woke up and I just fell in love.”

Think about that statement — and now let me give you the fact “Love is a choice and it carries with it a commitment!”

I know you’re still on the 1st line but here is my explanation:

You’re in a party, and you got introduced to this person. You feel an unexplainable attraction… What it is — is either an attraction, admiration or a crush. It is not love. At that moment, you decide whether to act on this feeling or not. If you are with somebody, you then now start weighing the pros and the cons of your next action. It is a choice! Eventually, you would have to pick — would you allow or disallow?

Attraction or Arousal can lead to love — but they are not yet love. Real Love doesn’t happen in an instant because there are at least three pre-requisites to real love:

1. You have to know what love is

There are times when in our emotional immaturity that we cannot distinguish the feeling of being in love. Example: For a child that is used to being beaten and cursed, a simple gesture of being told how beautiful she is would already seem like love. But for us who have experienced a higher form of love, we know that thats not enough to be called love.

Why can’t we distinguish? Because we have never felt “Real love”! Love is not just a feeling, it is something that you experience. Let me explain this using food as an analogy – We are not fond of fine dining. My level of satisfaction for taste is not as good as most people. I cannot understand why people would spend so much for so little whereas I can pay a quarter of the price in another restaurant and get 4x more! When my friends tell me “you’re paying for quality” I don’t understand it… Why? Because I haven’t tried it. My taste pallet are not looking for it because I’ve never experienced it. Just as fast food will taste like fine dining to someone who have never really experienced fine dining, Attraction will seem like love to someone who has never experienced real love. Does it make sense?

In my years of counseling couples, I am not saying all, but those who have really experienced and know the Love of Jesus has a higher capacity for loving than those who don’t. They understand what it takes to love more.

Love is a choice not a feeling. Love is a commitment to bear and endure all things including their flaws. Love is dying to self because its not about you. Love in action never malfunctions or fails.  That is why giving up is not in its vocabulary. In summary Jesus life is the true form of love.

2. You have to know who you love

In one of the Before I Do talks that we did, a couple got convicted and decided to do what we did.  The challenge was to lay all their cards down on the table before getting married. The guy was shocked to know that after several years of being together the girl finally admitted “My brother is not my brother, he is my son who was adopted by my mother.” His world crumbled and he called me at 2am to tell me “I don’t know what to do, it’s like I never knew her all these years.”  Their wedding was postponed. Eventually, they ended back together again and got married a few months after — this time to the real person.

While whirlwind romances do sometimes work, most of the time they don’t. The foundations are just too shallow or weak but if you insist then go ahead and take the risk. Why? You can’t know a person in a couple of days… It’s so easy to put your best foot forward and pretend to be someone you are not for a couple of days, maybe even weeks or month but authentic character is proven and seen over time.

Why do many relationships fail? because they discover that in their hurry, they married the wrong person. Being a wedding photographer I can tell you stories after stories of my couples who’ve been together for over a decade before they got married and were shocked to discovered so many things about their spouse that they never knew. What makes you think you know very well this person you just met last week?

You can’t possibly love someone you know. Your mind might trick yourself into believing “I know enough and I’m willing to love this person regardless of what the unknown parts may be.” Now thats not Love — sorry for the word but thats stupidity in the truest form.

3. You have to make the choice

Now that you know what Love is (and hopefully have experienced it — if not from your parents definitely you can receive it from God) then you are in a position to decide — Do I love this person?

Now that you know what love is, you understand that love isn’t just a feeling — there is a commitment that comes with it. Are you ready to give that commitment? And now that you know the person — is this person worth your love? With these in mind, you are ready to make the choice.

Now my blog has gone long… I’m open to your questions.