Is Romantic Love A Decision?

“Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks 
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.”

William Shakespeare Sonnet 116

Some believe that a man ‘decides‘ to romantically fall in love with a girl.  I am not sure how a person would decide to have romantic feelings nor do I believe that this would be a good thing.  Instead, I hope to convince you that romantic love is sacrifice, not a decision.  Sacrifice is often the most revealing sign of romantic love.   

Actions Are Evidence 

I hear from girls who are dating men who they hope ‘decide’ to fall in love and marry them.  They write to me asking for my thoughts and I usually focus on his actions rather than his words.  Is he following through on what he says he is going to do?  Is he making changes in his life to accommodate you and invite you in?  Is his job, the military, his sister, NASCAR, football or his mom more important than you?  Is the drive too long to see you? Do you not fit in with his friends? Are the things that are important to you supported by him? 

What Motivates Men?

You see, men are motivated by something very mysterious.  They fall in love first and then decide to make sacrifices for that love.  A man, in most cases, does not decide to sacrifice in order to feel love.  It is unlikely that he will think that giving up NASCAR will enhance his love for you.  NASCAR will only be bumped down in priority when romantic love is evident.


An Ever fixed mark

An Ever-Fixed Mark

Love cannot be explained.  Note that Shakespeare mostly says what love is ‘not.’  Yet, his description of what it is, an ‘ever-fixed mark’, is perfect. Romantic love that leads to marriage should be unshakable.  You should feel it is as dependable as the rising of the sun when you lay your head on your pillow.

Love is Sacrifice

The book of Corinthians tells us that, “love does not insist on its own way.”

 Love is patient and kind…It does not insist on its own way..” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Sacrifice is what you want to look for when assessing a man’s intentions and depth of romantic love.  Sacrifice is the evidence that the man has found a pearl of great price. That does not mean that you are not a pearl. It just means that you are not his pearl.  But, you are someone’s pearl.

Not Motivated By Me

I dated a guy when I was just out of college who married the next girl he dated after me.  For reasons I won’t go into, I was able to witness the sacrifices he made for her. I was astonished by the influence and say-so she had in their relationship. There was a number of times I was left with my mouth gaping because I did not think this guy was capable of sacrifice.  Alas, he was.  He was motivated by romantic love and he decided to sacrifice…for her.

Love Is

To wrap up, here are some quotes from a past post, I Knew:

True love and attraction are mysteries.   Love just is or it just isn’t. It cannot be explained.  No matter how wonderful we are, we cannot manufacture true love and attraction.  And, this can be exasperating.” 

“Love and attraction are a mystery.  The mystery can confound you when it slips through your hands.  But, the mystery will completely overwhelm you with joy, gratitude and awe when it is yours to behold.” 

“Wait on the Lord.  Wait on the mystery that is love.  When it is yours, you will know.  I know it is hard.  You remain in my prayers.”

Are you dating someone and find it difficult to assess his romantic feelings for you?  Feel free to write to me.  I will be happy to help.

God love and bless you!

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15 thoughts on “Is Romantic Love A Decision?

  1. What about on the girl’s side? When he is totally in to you and sacrifices himself and hits so many boxes on one’s “ideal guy” list? Is it ok to decide to open oneself to a relationship or should it be easy to just accept a relationship?

  2. I see what you’re saying here and it is spot on. But would you mind talking a bit about “romance” and “romantic love”? I mean, maybe because I came of age in the uber-feminist ’90s we were taught not to fall for romantic gestures/feelings. . . to the point where I felt guilty for even secretly wanting just to be brought flowers (I was supposed to say that doesn’t matter!?)–but aren’t they important? And if so then how much?

    • oh good question, Kate P! Everyone is different so it is up to the guy to ajust and self-correct and ask. This is a sign of a healthy marriage. These details are as unique as you are. 🙂 Praying for you! Cindy

  3. This reminds me of the scene in “When Harry Met Sally”: Sally calls up her friend Harry to tell her that her ex, with whom she’d lived with for years, had gotten engaged to someone he’d known for six months. In a moment of perspicacity, Sally realizes that it was not that Joe didn’t want to get married, it was that he didn’t want to get married to her.

    I once made the mistake of thinking all this one guy had to do was just make a decision that should be obvious (date me! choose me! love me! Wow, that sounds like Meredith on early “Grey’s Anatomy”…). But love is a willing sacrifice. Take hope from my story…just weeks after this pain, I went on a date that changed my life. I met a man who has shown time and again that love is willing sacrifice. That born of love, he makes me his priority. And I make him mine.

    It was telling when an older writer-friend commented in a sort-of-emotional voice and far-away look how wonderful my Mr. Sweet is to join me on book signing events; how supportive he is; that it was something special; something to not let go of. And I have no intention of that.

  4. “For reasons I won’t go into, I was able to witness the sacrifices he made for her.”
    Grrrr. That must have been a real pain in the side.

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