For my very first link out, I offer this: a very insightful blogger talks about the common wisdom that a couple should wait a few years to have children because children suck the romance out of marriage.
In “Babies And Love,” Arwen/Elizabeth explains how marital love is not only romantic but also sacrificial, and as such, couples have new ways of growing in love that involve their whole persons, not just “spending time together.”
I want to add my two cents: love is an act of will because sacrifice is an act of will. If sacrifice is compelled, it’s not sacrifice. Compelled sacrifice would be tragedy or a burden. Sacrifice for someone you love is willfully putting someone else’s good ahead of your own, and as such, it’s a decision. None of the examples she cites of marital love would have been love-giving had either she or her husband been grumbling or complaining about doing them. If she’d resented every minute of putting Camilla back to sleep, she’d end up feeling “Brian owed me” rather than “I didn’t sleep so I could give him extra sleep.”
Similarly, if Brian had said to her, “Take that screaming kid out of here so I can sleep,” it wouldn’t have been love-building. She’d (rightly) have felt Brian was sacrificing her good rather than she willingly sacrificing her own.
We choose to love. People say they “fall out of love” but what they’re saying is “I chose to stop putting in the effort.” In many cases, that’s a perfectly legitimate (or even the best) choice; before meeting my Patient Husband, I’d made that decision myself a few times. But within a marriage, that decision is ultimately tragic and the opposite of “open to life” because ultimately it destroys the life of the couple.