Why do you love me?

He has only only one answer to the question, from the beginning until this day. "Why do you love me?" I'd ask James, hoping to hear something sweet or flattering. "Because I choose to," he would answer. This used to annoy me to no end. I didn't understand how choosing to love me meant anything. I thought it was obvious that he should love me because I am perfect for him, and he is perfect for me in very specific, easy-to-list ways. It's a no-brainer, right? Why is there choice involved? Shouldn't love be a feeling that sweeps you off your feet, catching you unaware, all of a sudden?

But he will always explain, "Choosing to love you is actually the most romantic thing in the world. Someday you might stop being pretty, or smart, or accomplished. We might stop liking the same things we like because compatibility can be a fragile thing. I don't love you merely because of you; I love you because I choose to love you everyday for as long as I can. My feelings for you are deliberate, so they won't change when you, me, or our circumstances become difficult. It is a decision I have made, and my promise to you."

Cats on a teal rug / Watercolor on paper by Liz Lanuzo

Cats on a teal rug / Watercolor on paper by Liz Lanuzo

He has said this enough times that I remember exactly what to write down. Honestly, it took a few months into our relationship for me to process. I realized that I was stuck with the archaic idea of love as just a feeling! But once I really thought about it, it occurs to me that it is the best I can possibly ask from him, and the best I can do for him. Right now things are great and our life together is one big comfortable adventure. But when we're poor, or sick, or unable to be there for each other, this choice will be the one thing that will keep us together.

So now when I want to hear something sweet and flattering, I just ask James "What are the things that you love about me?" He is always happy to oblige me with a list. Like a normal person.