When God placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, He gave them a will, which means they could choose what they felt and ultimately what they thought.In Deuteronomy 30:20, which says, “That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them,” God was giving the children of Israel a choice to love HimFor that reason, I chose “Love Is a Choice” as the theme for this month. I realize that loving others is definitely a choice and has to be done on purposeLet’s decide that we are going to love the God Who provided for our salvation.

In applying this theme to marriage, I must stress that I am a very practical personWhen I said “Yes” to Kevin Walker over 31 years ago, I decided that I loved him, and I have never allowed myself to become “out of love.” When reading about love, I have seen this statement: “Real love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person.” I have applied this philosophy to my lifeI decided I loved Kevin, and on purpose, I have kept myself “in love.” I have to admit that I have not always liked him, nor do I think that he has always liked meWe have had an imperfect marriage with many disagreements and arguments.

When he does something that I don’t agree with, I might feel that I don’t like himThat feeling will eventually pass, and we are best friends againI wonder if it is true that those couples that have split up have allowed the moments of dislike to linger too long?

Real love isn’t simply a beautiful, spontaneous feeling; it is a deliberate choice—a plan to love each other according to the vows you made at the altar. Of course, you definitely choose with whom you fall in love and (more importantly) with whom you stay in love.

So this month, let’s each one of us recommit to loving the one to whom we are married. Let us decide that those times when we don’t like each other should be short. I have found that keeping that “dislike time” short works for every love relationship in which you are involved. Consider the following situations:

  • When your mother treats you like an immature brat, realize that she is human and has trouble viewing you as being capable of making decisions as an adult. Because she loves you, she is afraid of your having to pay for your mistakes.
  • When your sibling has a party and doesn’t invite you, see that it might be best for you not to be there because you might not like what goes on at the party.
  • When your friend speaks against you, decide that you will continue to be a friend no matter what she says or does. Treat her the way you wish she would treat you.

I wrote this article after a short visit to my hometown. I was around some relatives who did some things that I thought were inappropriate and unfair. When I was driving away, I said to myself, “I don’t really like __. That person’s actions were inexcusable. He doesn’t care about me or my feelings.” I really waxed eloquent to God about this person, and honestly, I meant every word I said.

After a few minutes, a still small voice said, “Loretta, that person is your relative, and I expect you to love him. Right now you may not like his actions. Let’s get over your hurt so you don’t have a root of bitterness spring up.”

Hebrews 12:15, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” So I relinquished my dislike of that person’s actions. Today I am back to loving him, and I refuse to be worried about the things he said and did.

My friend, I hope you will join me in shortening our dislike time with those we love. Let’s claim and use the power of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance to help us overlook what we do not like about the way others treat us.