“Genuine love is volitional rather than emotional. The person who truly loves does so because of a decision to love. This person has made a commitment to be loving whether or not the loving feeling is present.”
— M. Scott Peck M.D.
The subject of love is a knife edge. We all have a choice to love emotionally—as the feeling takes us, or the easy way—or volitionally, which is far harder, but is where the real truth of love exists.
Love is essentially about the discipline of commitment.
In a triangle with intimacy and passion, commitment underpins both of these. Where there is commitment, intimacy can be reborn, and with ingenuity passion can be reignited.
The world is a simple world and God is a fairly simple God. We are the ones that complicate it. The truth is the simplicity of commitment can endure every other thing. Commitment and love, therefore, in this discussion, are basically synonymous—one and the same. As love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8), commitment also never fails; not if we remain committed. Commitment only fails when we give up. We’ve all experienced this. (This is nothing about abuse or neglect—for those, the requirements of commitment are made null and void.)
In Marriages, Families, Workplaces, in the Community—Everywhere
When we consider that the ‘romantic’ phase of relationships—a phase not just unique to romantic relationships—lasts a relatively short time, we can see the compelling reasons for commitment. It’s really the only way that relationships last.
The principle of commitment is required in all relationships; not just the marital variety. Commitment is required if our relationships are to succeed by enduring. Being that all of life depends on the success of our relationships, this is an important consideration if we wish to be happy.
Further, the resolve of commitment is a love that will take us further than our human reason.
Allowing God to Take Us beyond Our ‘Reason’
(“Reason,” here, is about our human thinking; that which assists us to make decisions.)
Here is a test for each of us. This test takes us to the end of ourselves; to the beginning of God.
Often God wants to talk to us here—at the end of our reason. Where reason exists and is satisfied often commitment doesn’t have a chance; we’ve already decided we need to have things our way; we cannot remain in such ‘untenable’ situations. (Again, this is nothing about abuse or neglect—for those, the requirements of commitment are made null and void.)
When we allow God to take us beyond our reason, submitting issues to him in prayer, and seeking the will of God in truth, we will hear how our commitment can be buoyed. We will hear how to get through the next hour, the next day—through the problems that persist just now.
Deciding to love is indeed the secret of a happy life. This is centralised in the idea of commitment. Those who can understand and accept this will have the abundant life.
Deciding to love is the advance of faith upon the endowment of hope. Love does because it can, and, because it can, it must.
“Love has a hem to her garment,
That reaches to the very dust,
It sweeps the streets and lanes,
And because it can... it must.”
— Mother Teresa (1910–1997)
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.