Choice Based Love
The trick to any relationship is that YOU GET TO CHOOSE
“Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” ― Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember
At work, within families, within relationships, you get to choose your attitude, your mindset, and your offering to the mix. We bring with us our thoughts, words and actions that create what we put into any relationship. Our culture and media portray that work, friendship and romance are relationships that happen to us. This is a fairy-tale. When we tell ourselves this story, we take all our power away and accept that things happen to us rather than deciding how we can participate in any relationship.
A different way to approach relationships is an idea of Choice Based Love. Choice Based Love is deciding to love. It is a decision and choice in each moment. Compare this idea to “Falling in love and out of love”. Falling in love is an idea that happens to you and falling out of love is just as mystical. This is an idea that is feeling oriented. “I feel in love or I feel out of love. Choice Based Love is different. Choice Based Love is a concept that decides to build up love by choosing thoughts, words and actions that promote and value the relationship. Choice based love resides in self-responsibility of what you decide to build over time. Deciding in this way allows both parties to adopt routines, habits and actions that purposely builds love, trust, and enjoyment into the relationship.
Choice Based Love is Build-able
No matter where the relationship is at, both parties can create better actions and behaviors to enjoy the other. It starts with a conversation and outlining what works right now. Then add what you imagine working to increase satisfaction. Building starts with appreciating what works today. Build up from there, step by step to connect in new ways that you both decide upon. It can be easy to argue that a marriage of 25 years is set in patterns that cannot be changed. This is another myth. Every moment is new! You start now. You can decide together what you want a successful relationship to look like.
Here are examples of Successful Outcomes:
Parent/Child: I want to be with you easily.
Spouse/Spouse: I want more joy and romance.
Colleague/Colleague: I want us to respect each other’s ideas
How to Build the Goal Together
Make a list of actions that define the goal. What makes easy? What do we do when we feel joy and romance? What does respectful actions mean to each party? Define the must haves and must not haves to achieve that desire.
Parent/Child: “We will listen without interruption.” “We will give each other space when tension arises.” “We will eat meals and talk about easy topics that do not lead to discord.”
Spouse/Spouse: “I choose to limit serious topics to increase joy.” “I will surprise you on a date once a week. Next week you decide!”
Colleague/Colleague: “I will ask questions about ideas I do not understand.” “I will assume positive intent that your questions do not imply that my idea is faulty.”
Choice is Controllable
We can build up or dismantle love with our thoughts, words, and actions. I get to choose the platform to love when I remember that I control what I bring to the relationship. This platform is like a house that expresses your love offering. The style and size are up to you. You control the building of the house with routine, habit, and the will to do what you commit to. Control is deciding loving words. I can grab the calendar and express love with quality time by booking a date. I can listen to how my partner receives love and willingly try to give love in that way.
Choice can look like...
“This is a great quality of yours!”
“I’m thankful you’re my wife/daughter/colleague.”
“What support can I offer you this week?”
“Let’s have a picnic dinner in the yard…just the two of us.”
“I thought you would like this and picked it up for you!”
Choice is Stable
No matter what happens or how you feel, Choice Based Love is stable. This is because you DECIDE to do what you say you are going to think, say and do. It’s simply a yes or no. Yes, I’m going to keep my word, this builds trust. No, I’m not going to add toxic elements, this breaks us down. I am going to choose for the relationship. What I bring into this relationship is my choice. Choice Based Love is always acting to promote the relationship. This makes it stable and not blown about by the winds of emotion or events. It can also allow focus to be on the relationship entity. If I focus on the health of my marriage, I make choices for the marriage. The spouse isn’t the focus. If I make choices for parenting, then I’m behaving for the good of parenting. My focus is being a good parent, not pleasing a child. When I choose to repair a work relationship, I focus on what growth I can work on to be a better employee. The focus shifts from the individuals involved and on to the relationship outcome that is desired. This targets the effort to make the most benefit for the relationship and is not subject to the ups and downs another person might be experiencing.
Choice Based Love Is Active
This style of love is adaptable to meet changing needs over time. The best way to live this style of love is to be curious. Notice what works. It’s ok to try and switch course as you learn better ways of communicating and structuring your relationship. Up until this moment, you have built the structure that exists today. Choosing to try something new to make your relationship better just makes sense. Just like a home remodel, relationships are being built with each choice you make. Choice Based Love allows for greater ease to try change by putting efforts into the betterment of the relationship. Build more of what you want by choosing exactly what that could look like together!
Want help making the blueprint? Book your coaching session here!