“Love is a decision”. It is for a Christian person a way of life. Feelings come and go but decisions remain. It requires a conscious effort to behave in a loving way towards those around us. It is to choose to help others at all times knowing, as in the prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi that, “in giving we receive”.

How is this “love as a decision” lived out in marriage?
It is about getting up in the morning and choosing to love your spouse. You may have no loving feelings towards your spouse at times, even entering a time of the “dark night of the soul” within your marriage, where you seem to be giving and giving to your spouse and receiving nothing in return. Many Saints have written about this absence of feelings in the spiritual life but it can also apply to marriage. Maybe some habit of your spouse is annoying you. Anyone who has been married can usually tell you a dozen or so of their spouse’s annoying habits. For a spouse then it means rising above this lack of feeling or annoyance to behave in a cheerful way, doing small acts of loving service for your spouse. It also requires sacrifice. I heard of a story of a woman who found out her husband had a serious moral problem and so for six weeks she prayed and fasted for him.
Upon questioning him she found that in that time he was no longer tempted and had the strength to overcome the problem. This is truly love as a decision which God in his infinite mercy enriches with his grace.

Living out “love as a decision” for a parent means choosing to love and connect with your children. It means thinking about them when you are absent from them and reminding yourself how much they mean to you. For a Dad it is about choosing to arrive home cheerfully putting aside the problems and tiredness of the day. Being ready for some joy-filled rough play and sharing of the day’s activities. For a mother it means carefully and lovingly making the home a beautiful place to be. She can help to create a happy atmosphere within the home by smiling at the children. Children who have smiling parents usually smile also. It means expecting a lot of them but not reacting in anger to annoyances.

“Love as a decision” should flow out into the world where those around you are touched by your loving care for them as you see Christ in them.
“Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Thee O Lord.”

– Mother Teresa