I am an indecisive person. I struggle for hours with a big decision. I prefer to get input from friends and family and gather as much information as physically possible. I overthink things and change my mind a few times before ultimately going with my gut and trying not to second-guess myself.
My parents taught me when I was young that the greatest decision you will make in your lifetime is who you choose to marry. It will make the biggest impact on your lifelong happiness and overall well-being. Given my indecisiveness and the gravity of this decision, you’d think I would struggle with this huge life decision. But I did not.
Choosing to marry my wife Lindsay six years ago was the best decision I have ever made — and it is a choice I have not second-guessed. We made the mutual decision that day to love each other. Granted, we have only been married six years and I am in no way an expert on relationships. However, I can confidently say that no matter what this crazy life throws at us, Lindsay and I will be married until “death do us part.”
The reason I say this so confidently: Lindsay and I made a serious decision to love each other forever. It is not a decision we made lightly and it is something that we have committed to be unwavering in.
It’s a huge cliché but it’s true; I don’t always like my wife, but I always love her.
For love to truly be eternal, it requires a committed decision from two people to love each other. You can feel love in your heart for someone and certainly be attracted to someone, but in order for the relationship to stand the test of time, I believe it takes a conscious decision to be committed and steadfast in the love you have for your partner.
It’s not always easy to be unwavering in that decision, but it’s also not that hard to do and it’s a heck of a lot of fun. Part of the decision to love someone forever is committing to continually invest in the relationship through consistent communication and creating memories together. My favorite way to do this: Date nights and occasional getaways where you spend time alone, intentionally experience new things together, and revisit old things that are meaningful for you both. This memory-making process will bind you together and deepen the love you feel for one another — and it’s fun.
When you decide to love someone it usually starts out emotionally, rather than logically. Fortunately, my emotions led me to the perfect long-term partner; our strengths complement each other, and we make each other into better versions of ourselves. However, you don’t always fall in love with the best long-term partner for your personality.
Every relationship begins with a rush of feelings. Some call this period the “honeymoon stage.” For some couples this season lasts a few weeks; for others it can be years. However, every relationship comes to the point where the couple is forced to rationally analyze their partner and make a decision about how successful they feel their future together will be. This begins the decision-making process to truly love someone forever.
Over time, as things naturally become less emotional and life becomes more steady — everyday routines can feel pretty monotonous — it’s important to remember your commitment to loving each other every day. Find time to communicate regularly and show love in the specific way your partner needs. It takes some work and practice (I’m still practicing), but the end result is worth it. You and your partner will grow together instead of apart.
You can fall in love and get married without making this deep commitment to continually invest in the relationship, but the long-term success of your relationship will suffer. We all know that many marriages fail; couples grow apart and fall out of love. However, if you make the decision to love your partner and love them well, you will grow together and have a much higher likelihood of a successful marriage.
I believe it’s important to make this decision as soon as you know that you’ve found the right person. However, everyone is different; there are many ways to fall in love (just look at The Bachelor). And there are many ways to stay in love forever.
By Mitch Reinholt with Ben Higgins
What do you think? What’s worked and hasn’t worked in your long-term relationships?
(This post is part of an ongoing series, “Love is a Decision.” Stay tuned for more!)