We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly. Sam Keen

A friend of mine is struggling in her marriage. She loves her partner but is not sure she wants to stay married. She asked what I thought (which is crazy since I’ve been divorced 1000 years!). Our conversation caused me to think more about how love works in general – especially when the tough part of life gets in the way!

I think love is a choice, not a feeling or an emotion. It’s a decision we make every day of our lives. Even when your partner doesn’t pick up after the kids, or spends too much time running, or when they don’t notice something new about you, or when the finances are not going well—you can still decide to choose love.

It sounds simple, but I think that we can all agree that choosing love is anything but simple. In fact, it can be very difficult at times. Here are some ways that I use to try to choose love on a daily basis: 

  1. Let go of the little things. At the end of our lives (or even in the middle) we have to admit that most of the things we worry about really are little things. This is a work in progress for me.
  2. Give more than you take in your relationship.
  3. Look at the world through someone else’s eyes. Seeing from their perspective helps you understand their motivations and actions.
  4. Pay attention. Listen to what those that you love are saying. I mean really listen – especially when they’re saying they’re hurt.
  5. Before you blame, examine yourself first.
  6. Accept and embrace differences.
  7. Validate the feelings of those that you love.
  8. Hold hands or hug anyone and whenever you can. (Italian issue and post COVID-19 of course!)
  9. It’s ok if you don’t see eye-to-eye. Disagreeing can help you see another point of view.
  10. Be transparent. When you are, those around you will be transparent with you.
  11. Put your trust in someone. Trust is fragile. Handle it with care.
  12. Laugh with someone.
  13. Be and speak respectfully.
  14. Say you’re sorry. And, really mean it.
  15. Forgive. And, really mean it.
  16. Appreciate the inner beauty of life.
  17. Love yourself. And, mean it. Really mean it.

Love is definitely not the easiest choice. But, it has the most value and feels so incredibly great! Try smiling through your mask at a stranger today and you will have chosen love.