Is Love a Choice?

Couples Therapy Bethesda, MD

In college, I remember having a conversation in the dorms with a bunch of friends about love and relationships. One of my friends had a clear opinion: love is a choice. Most of us reacted to this statement with, “what do you mean love is a choice?!” The rest of the group had more romantic ideals of love, talking about feeling a spark, or love at first sight- love was decidedly not simply a choice. Many years later, as a couples therapist, I now appreciate the idea of love being a choice much more than I did then.

Relationships and marriages require the choice every day to (in the words of renowned couples therapist and researcher John Gottman) turn towards our partner. We all get caught up in the daily stuff of life, and sometimes choosing to love our partners is not first on our list of to-dos. However, it’s important to remember to nurture our relationships every day. You wouldn’t expect a plant to grow and thrive if you never gave it water or sunlight!

Choosing to love takes a bit of effort, and requires us to be attuned to our partner’s needs. There are many small choices we can make to feel more connected, and these small choices add up! Check out a few suggestions below about how to make the choice to love your partner every day.

  • Greet your partner lovingly when you walk in the door. It’s easy for us to come home from a long day grumpy and tired, and our partners might take the brunt of this. Instead, make the effort to connect with your partner first, then move on to whatever else you have to do.
  • Remember to speak kindly. Our words have power, and we often don’t realize when we are being harsh or critical. Choose to become more aware of your words and the way you are speaking.
  • Tell your partner what you appreciate about them. Building a culture of gratitude and appreciation is one great way to nurture your relationship and build positivity.
  • Learn not to sweat the small stuff. Are there any quirks your partner has that just drive you crazy? Are they important enough to cause conflict in your relationship? Make the choice to let go of some of the small things, and to love and accept your partner for who they are, despite some of their flaws.

Laura Golojuch provides individual, couple, and family therapy at our downtown Bethesda, MD therapy office. Email or call her today to set up an appointment or a complimentary telephone consultation! 240-752-7650, ext. 5, or laura@lindseyhoskins.com