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The Love that Lasts:
Standing In Love versus Falling In Love

.by Matt Moody, Ph.D. 

Emotional feelings fluctuate! Romantic excitement ebbs & flows, it comes and it goes! This is why a State Commission on Marriage and Family identified "commitment," and not love, as the most important element in making satisfying and stable relations.

But love and commitment need not be seen as two separate realities; commitment can be conceived as an important aspect to a kind of love that fosters rich relations. In his book, "The Road Less Traveled," M. Scott Peck describes love this way:

"The will to extend one's self for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth. Love is not effortless. To the contrary, love is effortful. ... Love is an act of will — both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love. ... The act of falling in love is an act of regression. ... Real love is a permanently self-enlarging experience."

" Falling in love is not. ... The person who truly loves does so because of a decision to love. ... True love is not a feeling by which we are overwhelmed. It is a committed, thoughtful decision. Commitment is the foundation, the bedrock of any genuinely loving relationship. ... it is our sense of commitment which makes possible the transition from falling in love to genuine love."

True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of active and anxious concern for the well-being of one's partner. Couples who stay together for a lifetime are inevitably faced with the task of keeping romantic love alive. But as long as companions are committed, romantic feelings can be renewed and made fresh!

Ursula Le Guin wrote:

Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made,
like bread, remade all the time, made new each day.

Falling in Love is a euphoric yet fragile emotional state based upon feelings that come and go; in contrast, Standing in Loving is a committed decision one makes and not a fleeting feeling one has and then ... does not have. It takes the total commitment of two to make a relationship, but the decision of only one to break it. Lasting Love is something you "stand for" rather than "fall in."
(Changing Your Stripes Manual, page 8-12)

* * * * * * *

The Highest Expression of Love is NOT an Emotion

The Love that stands is created through a committed decision that never dies. When we truly Stand in Love, emotional feelings reinforce this commitment; whereas the Love that Falls is based directly upon emotions — euphoric feelings of sexual desire and physical attraction. So as emotional feelings fluctuate, the Love that Falls comes and goes, a roller-coaster ride of emotional feelings. In contrast, the Love that Stands is stable: Lasting Love can be relied upon through thick and thin.

* * * * *
Because emotions follow you,
you should not follow your emotions.
If you are being untrue in an emotional moment,
then the emotions that flow from you
will amplify your falseness.
.* * * * *

Sioux Indian holy man Black Elk said: "It is in the darkness of their eyes that men get lost, when we cannot see our way, we think darkness is shrouding our pathway, when really the darkness is in ourselves." When we do not see clearly, it is because we are not being true — and thus our feelings follow our falseness. In this state of Self-Deception, the Love that Falls can fool us.

* * * * *
I bring to my world, perceptions of distortion and darkness,
because of the darkness within me. I see falsely, because I am false.
My worldview Changes as I Change. As I choose to truly Love,
I see a World that is only seen and experienced
through the Eyes of Love.

.* * * * *.

When you are truly Being Loving, your very Being ... IS Love.  
Being Loving is the highest attainment of purpose and existence. Your Life will have its richest fulfillment within the relational Bonds of Love that Stand!

* * * * *
"We are each of us angels with one wing,
and can only fly embracing each other."

.* * * * *

The committed decision to nurture the spiritual growth of another requires that we are "in tune" with our own spiritual growth. The Love that Stands is inseparably expressed through our ability to Be True — else we risk being mislead by emotion.

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