As Elder Lynn G. Robins says, "Romantic movies today would have you believe that love is governed by some uncontrollable, ungovernable force—like fate or serendipity. But this simply isn’t reality. . . . Love is a verb." And love is a choice we have to make every day. (Read more about how we can choose to love here.)
It is easy to idealize and romanticize a relationship. It seems so perfect! Yet sometimes we forget the pains and challenges of living in a fallen world. In this world, things don’t work just right. We miscommunicate. We are more different from each other than we realized. We’re focused on our own needs. Sometimes we’re just cranky!
As I have thought about our marriages, I have estimated that most of us appreciate about 80% of our partner’s characteristics. We love their kindness, consideration, unselfishness, and talents. Yet there are also those quirky preferences and tendencies that don’t align with our own. Maybe there is a 20% margin of irritation in even the healthiest relationships.
Yet nothing foretells the future of the relationship better than our focus. Do we dwell on the 20% that irritates us? Do we ruminate and recriminate? Do thoughts fester and fluster? Do we wish our spouses were different?