You choose to love when you stay in a relationship even when you’re hurt by the other person in ways that you did not see coming.
Emotional love is that feeling in your stomach when you enter the room and the object of your affections is sitting there. Emotional love is looking into her eyes and forgetting just what you were coming into the room for; emotional love is thinking about her all day long and not being disappointed when you get home. Emotional love is trembling at her touch, losing yourself in the slightest kiss, being in bliss holding hands. Emotional love is all “high”, it cannot handle disappointment, disillusionment or anything that gets in the way of the feeling. In short, it cannot handle a real person.
Decisional love - also referred to as mature love - is the conscious choice to remain with someone even when they no longer supply the emotional love component. So some that is quick - a year or two. For others, it can be twenty years; for a few, it never ends.
Mature love is also a serving love. You do for her (or him as it may be) regardless of what you get out of it. It is a love that gets people through cancer, heartbreak and pain. It is a love that survives bankrupty, old age, pot-bellies and baldness. It looks past droopy parts, failed dreams and youthful expectations. Mature love does not need the emotional feelings, but it certainly welcomes them. These are not two disparate ideas. We don’t all get emotional love for our whole lives. People change, situations change - life happens.
Mature love is a decision. We’re all adults and any one of us could just call it quits the next time our spouse does something we dislike. The pain that we would leave behind, however, is not something we’re willing to be the cause of for our own silly feelings.
Mature love is balancing the needs of others and finding ourselves much lower on the list than we thought we’d be able to do. It is a gift from God.
Emotional love hits you over the head with a pile of bricks; you can’t ignore it. Mature love sneaks up on you when you’re not looking for it. You don’t see it coming and only look back after a while and smile at your discovery.