Choosing Love in Conflict

I heard this song, “Choose You,” the other day and kind of fell in love with it. In a landscape of romance songs codependently decrying “I can’t live without you”, Stan Walker gets it right: Love is a choice.

While there is a sense of security in being “needed” in a relationship, it’s a much more special, beautiful thing to NOT be needed, and yet still CHOSEN.

In the realm of skeptical dating, people tend to be on the lookout for the other person to answer the question if they might be a good fit of romantic partner. However there’s also an element where it’s up to us to decide that we want them as a romantic partner.

Even better, Walker poses the power of choice in the context of conflict: “Even though I wanna stay mad, even though I wanna get angry..

I’ve heard many songs about love and many about breakups, but seemingly few that portray this view of love through disagreement so beautifully. It’s absolutely a choice to be angry at someone. (Although at times it certainly doesn’t feel like it, which is where a reminder like this may be valuable!). Holding a space to be angry at someone and simultaneously choose to love them and work through the dispute is healthy, and can make resolution easier. It’s empowering to remember you have choice- to stay, to go, either temporarily or permanently. You are not simply victim to the other person’s decisions and actions. Be angry as long as you want, don’t feel like you have to hold something against them in order to prove a point.

When you make the decision to choose to love, Walker is mindful that “I’m so mad at you right now that I can’t think straight…I should shut my mouth so I don’t let out the cruel things I say..” He’s aware the anger is right now but not forever. Because he’s keeping in mind his sense of power to choose, he doesn’t need to exert his power or prove anything by hurting his partner. He’s holding the greater perspective of the value of the relationship as a whole, which helps him address the situation respectfully.

Ultimately, it’s about keeping in mind priorities; the value the relationship holds being important enough to take time or space away in disagreements, even when it’s uncomfortable to do so. Because, while often conflict feels urgent to restore a sense of security in the relationship, the better choice may be to remember that it’s important enough to be treated with patience. Taking that time apart to let feelings out in a safer space not only protects the relationship from volatile words, it creates a chance to re-center and rediscover this power to choose, and not need the other person to feel okay in the world. In that way, it is very self-loving as well to respect and give space for your feelings, practicing self-trust to be ok when things feel uncomfortable, and make decisions about your actions and the relationship from a choiceful, non-reactive mindset.