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  • Dr. Ethel Chiles Neal

Real love is not a feeling, Real Love is a Decision


I was listening to a well-known Pastor out of Maryland as he talked about his marriage of 38 years with six children. He said the truth be told there were some mornings he woke up and he didn't feel like being married anymore. There were mornings his wife woke up and she didn’t feel like being married anymore. He went on to say, the key is that both of us do not wake up on the same morning feeling that way. While this was hilarious, the message is that real love has nothing to with your feelings, it is a decision to make love work. So, if you are single and waiting impatiently for that soul mate, you may have visions of love reflecting 24-hour romance, candle light dinner and walks along the beach. These are wonderful experiences every couple should experience but there is more to love than this. Real love is based on care, compromise, respect and truth (Life Learned Lessons).

My inspiration to write about love and marriage does not come from some arrogant self-view that I know all the answers and have experienced perfect marriages. Quite the contrary because my heart has been broken, I have made bad decisions, and I have been married more than once. My passion comes from talking to single women and listening to their infatuations about love. It is my belief that there are two avenues to wisdom - someone who has done it right so they can share how to do it and someone who has gotten it all wrong so they can share what not to do. I am in the latter category and I am still not perfect – still make mistakes.

As a beauty consultant, we learned that the “eye” buys. In other words, if an attractive or desirable situation is placed before a single person, they could possibly walk away thinking, this is how love should be every day. Their eyes see that couple who comes to church together every Sunday dressed in the same colors, the glow in his eyes when he stares at his wife or significant other in a romantic restaurant, or the loving husband who sends flowers to her job – just because. So, a single person observes this and thinks I want someone just like this – who makes me feel loved. You only saw the end results of the work they put into this. You missed the process of disagreements, desires to give up, praying, compromising, sacrifice, and oh yes, those days that they woke up and “didn’t feel like being married anymore”.

If all you need is for someone to tell you they love you, love yourself first. Real love is work, trial and error, forgiveness, being wrong when you knew you were right, being the bigger person, admitting mistakes, and unconditional love. Feeling is an emotional state and in my opinion no one can keep you in the same emotional state 24-7. So, what happens when those emotions change and you don't feel loved because someone didn't say it this way or that way or there is the “you should have known what I wanted” syndrome . Love is more than just words – real loves encompasses actions and sacrifice and if that love has no actions – you are just on an emotional high fueled by mere words. Sooner or later you come down off that high because the truth is revealed.

If you ready to experience real love, then be ready to put in the work and not quit at the first sign of disappointment. If your diamond ring loses a stone, do you throw away the entire ring or do put in the work to replace the missing stone? The point is that Soul mates are not preordered and as fine as he is or she is, they will basically get on your last nerves. So, do you work on fixing the things that don’t work or does love lose its shine because now you realize its more than candle light dinners and walks in the park. The shine is lost because you now see it is not 50/50, some days it is 100/0, 20/80 and now your emotional bubble is busted and your feelings are devastated. Real love, love that lasts 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, is not sustained on feelings. This kind of love lasts because they each made a decision to get past those days of wanting to ask the question “are you still here? ”. Real love is not a feeling, it is a decision.


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