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We generally like to think of our relationships as spontaneous and free. And certainly love is free. At the same time, the practice of love comes with certain obligations. As such, we must consistently find the inner resolve needed to show up and do what needs to be done.

Perhaps this is easier to see with work. Occasionally, we might have days in which we don’t want to go to work, or we don’t feel like completing some task on our agenda. But because we value our work and the commitments we’ve made, we show up and do what needs to be done anyway. And this is simply a mark of maturity – the ability to fulfill our duties despite our feelings otherwise.

And this plays out in our relationships as well. For example, we might not always feel warm and fuzzy toward each other in marriage, but we still choose to practice basic relational etiquette, spend time together, and pursue moments of intimacy. And we don’t wait to do these things until we feel like it; we do them whenever they need to be done.

Of course, this is not ignoring our inner world. And, like with our work, there might be wisdom in taking time off to care for the needs of our soul. All the same, this is not an excuse for laziness. We have an obligation to practice love that’s not dependent on our temporary feelings in the moment.

And, to be sure, this in no way diminishes the quality of our love. It’s our deeper Yes even when things might feel forced and awkward on the surface – our commitment to love in the sunshine and the rain, for better and for worse.

In the end, practice love and fulfill your relational obligations even when you don’t feel like it. This is the same level of maturity expected throughout the rest of your life.

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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