Three little girls sat at the feet of a crying father. Having just explained the word “affair” as gently as possible, he wiped his eyes and said, “I’m not sure if she’s coming home.” Devastation… Brokenness… This is the Friday night my memory can’t erase.
My mom is definitely a unique woman. Having been raised by an alcoholic mother and step-father, has not allowed her to be the best at relationships. She knows how to love conditionally. I used to think that parents always handled relationships the right way. Once I realized how wrong I was to assume this, I began to discover what it means to truly love someone.
One thing I’ve discovered is that love is not a feeling. It can’t be. Feelings change, sometimes more often then expected in a marriage relationship. If my mom based her love for my dad on feelings, she wouldn’t have returned to our family. She would have chosen the more romantic of the two men in her life. She would have chosen flowers, candle-lit dinners, and material things that made her “feel” loved, over a man, and a family who truly loved her. I’m not saying that feelings and love are completely unrelated. Of course feelings play a part in love. People in love feel things. That’s natural. But if love were only a feeling, my parents would fall in and out of love daily. Love must be deeper than feelings. Why else would my dad choose to completely forgive my mom and remain married to her?
In my experience, it takes a person with a lot of integrity and selflessness to sacrifice their own comforts, wants, and needs to fight for the relationship, and the person that doesn’t always love them back. It takes someone who understands that feelings can often change and what it means to truly love someone. I am blessed to have a dad who knows what it means to love unconditionally, and who doesn’t base his love on feelings. I know my dad loves me because I find security in his love, knowing it will never change. My parents can’t commit to feel a certain way, but they can commit to love each other. This is why I believe that love is not a feeling.
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