The “you can’t choose who you love” lie.
Recently in an article on CNN.com, a young man explained the relationship he was in by saying “You can’t choose who you love.” That’s not true. It’s pretty. It makes for good fodder in romance novels, but the reality is it really doesn’t make sense. Here are three simple reasons why:
1. Love is a horrible God.
If you buy into the idea that you can’t choose who you love, then you are ultimately saying that love controls you. It’s a power bigger than you, a force that guides your actions and your attitude. You turn love into a God and yourself into a slave. And what a horrible god it is. Always fleeting, always changing it’s mind. Never making it’s intentions clear. Always drunk on emotion. Raging like a storm one day and laying calm and cool the next.
2. Love fades.
If you’ve ever had children or been in a long-term relationship, you know that the mushy, romantic, high feeling of love fades away under the harsh glare of reality. Love, by itself, is not sufficient to sustain a relationship. There are many days that my wife does not wake up thinking, “Once again, I find myself intoxicated with love for Jon. I will shower him with my love.” On the contrary, she must choose to love, even in my foolishness and ugliness and mistakes. She has to be deliberate. Same with my two young daughters. When they’re trying to recreate some Ultimate Fighting Championship moment at the mall, it is not some deep pool of bubbling love I tap into to keep from transforming like David Banner into Angry Dad. It’s my decision that I am going to love them because they are mine. I am their father and I choose to love them.
3. Love is not an excuse.
In 1992, as justification for having a relationship with his adopted daughter, Woody Allen said, “The heart wants what the heart wants.” In one stroke, he made love his God and threw it under the bus as an excuse for his actions. But love isn’t an excuse. True love is just the opposite. It makes you responsible for someone else’s heart. It makes you intentional in the way you treat someone else. And it doesn’t offer you an excuse to explain why you are the way you are. It offers you the freedom to be who you are without fear of losing that person when they look behind the curtain of your life. You no longer need excuses. Love covers your flaws, it doesn’t try to justify them away.