Sunday, August 30, 2015

"The One" I Chose

I'm married, but that doesn't mean Brian was the only "One" for me. There's more than one person I could've spent the rest of my life with, but didn't. Brian has those, too: girls who could have been "The One," but for whatever reason, aren't.

I think everyone has at least one of those.

I had a good friend in college who was going to start grad school out-of-state. In our last conversation before he left, he asked if I would transfer and finish my undergrad work there. I didn't.

I had another friend whom I'd known for many years. We hung out a lot in junior high and high school. A few years into college, we hung out a few more times. One night while conversing online, he told me that I needed to learn to flirt so that I could do so with him while we were together. Perceiving his intent, I let him know that "my dear friend, just because I don't flirt with you doesn't mean I don't know how to flirt." You can guess where things went from there.

Both of them (and others) could have been The One, but they weren't. I didn't find that out because something like fate or destiny told me. They weren't (and aren't) The One because, for whatever reason, I decided they weren't.

While the love I have for my husband is a powerful emotion, it's also more than that. It's a choice. It's a promise. I chose to fall in love with Brian. My choice to marry him was also my promise to love him and only him for the rest of forever.

Brian is The One because I chose him.

I am Brian's One because he chose me.

We choose to stand by that decision.

When Brian and I were engaged, our bishop gave us many words of advice, most of which I don't remember. But I do remember this part. He said, "Life gets busier and busier as time goes by. There will be many times in your relationship that the flame will go out. You have to choose to light it again and you have to choose to keep it lit."

Most of the time, you won't notice when it's going out; if you were paying attention, you wouldn't have let it go out in the first place. It's when other important priorities like work, school, and home life come into the picture that attention starts to deviate from renewing that choice. That happens to everyone, so you need to make an effort to show your love when those times come.

But sometimes, the attention-deviator is neither important nor a priority. Sometimes it's pornography or participating in conversations in which all present are "bonding" by badmouthing their spouses (who, of course, aren't present). Sometimes, it's staying after work longer than necessary or arranging additional study "groups" in a private room with only one other person (who happens to be of the opposite gender).

Fidelity isn't just physical. It's also mental and emotional. No one who has ever cheated on their spouse wasn't fanning the flame (sometimes unknowingly) before it happened. It usually starts with the people with which you "just click so well" or "have so much in common." They could be co-workers, classmates, someone at church, or the other parent at the park. They take your mind off your everyday stressors associated with work, school, and home life. After a while, you start to wonder why you're having so much fun with them instead of your spouse.

It's because--whether you consciously know it or not--you're choosing to. That type of emotional relationship is almost always a precursor to a physical one.

Choosing to love the same person every day of your life isn't always easy. While it may be one of the most rewarding things you'll ever do, it's also one of the hardest. In the end, the reality is that the flame you nurture is the one that stays lit. The One in your life is the one you choose.

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