My husband Dove and I dated for several years before we got married. About a year into our relationship, he described his life motto to me – the personal philosophy that he held to the most closely. His motto was “choose again”. He had observed that much pain and unhappiness in the world seemed to stem from people feeling stuck in their choices. He watched people live miserable lives, but rather than change something, they simply stayed miserable. But, he reasoned, we all have the power to change a great deal about our lives, and when things aren’t working for us, we should change something.
So, he developed his personal motto: Choose Again. He had developed the habit, he explained, of routinely taking a mental step back from his regular routine and considering every aspect of his life. Close his eyes, open them, look around. Reevaluate. Did he like his life? Was it bringing him satisfaction? He would consciously acknowledge that he had the power to change virtually everything he saw, if he chose. Life offers more choices that we can count or even imagine, endless possibilities stretching in every direction. Out of all of that endless sea of choices, is his life today still the life that he chooses? He considers all of that, all of those choices, and then makes his choice. Choose again. He explained that he had developed this choosing as a habit. He chooses the life he is living on a daily basis. Usually several times a day. And tomorrow, he will choose his life, yet again.
When he first described this to me it sounded strange, and a bit uncomfortable. The choices in his life included me. And his relationship with me. I had committed to my relationship with him, fairly solidly. I was in it for the long term. I had made that decision once, and that was that, right? But that’s not how he saw it. Rather than simply deciding once to be with me, and sticking with his choice for the long haul, he re-evaluated several times a day. It felt a bit unnerving.
But now, after several years of dating and 11 years of marriage, my feelings about his motto are very different. I have joined Dove in his habit of regularly choosing my life. I don’t do what I do each and every day because I have to, or because I’m a good person who sticks to my commitments like it or not. I do what I do because I choose to. And each time I close my eyes, look around and choose again I am reminded anew of the beauty of my life, the deep love and appreciation I feel for my family, and the gratitude I feel for the opportunities my life has afforded me so far. My relationship with my husband is not something I chose 13 years ago, it’s something I chose yesterday, and today. And tomorrow, I will choose again. I will consider all of the elements of our life, all the irritations, all the annoyances, all of the beauty, fun and joy. I will remember everything about Dove that I fell in love with in the first place, years ago. I will look at all that we have built together since, and consider all of our dreams and plans for the future. And I will make my choice, again and again. And so will he.