BlogI Get To Vs. I Have To 

June 20, 2022by Frank Love0

In my previous blog, “Show and Tell,” I discussed four ways that partners can better show appreciation in their loving relationships.

Frank Love blogs are generally for people interested in a life that reflects the belief that my actions have an effect on everything that happens to me and that I am victim to absolutely nothing. For the sake of this particular blog, we will call these people “Powerful.”

For some time now, one of my Frank Love associates has encouraged me to address why I often use the phrase “I get to” where some would use the phrase “I have to.” Here it goes!

For some of us, the phrase “I have to” and “I need to” which often precedes something we intend to do, suggests that we are being made to do something by some outside force.  That it is not our voluntary desire.

  • I have to pick up the children.
  • We have to go to church.
  • I have to get a good education.

These sentences suggest that we have little or no decision-making associated with whether we do these things or not. However, if we are Powerful, the concept of having no say in whether we do something or not does not exist.

We also often say that there is something we have to or need to do when we wish to relay importance. Importance that is either self-imposed or imposed by others. Whichever the case, we are expressing that we are being forced or compelled to do something and are not doing it because we made a decision.

This understanding is important because we get to  be clear to ourselves and anyone within earshot that God gave us an opportunity to select between at least two options and we took at least one of them.  We did not have to. And any pressure that we may feel is self-imposed because we want to achieve the goal we have given ourselves.  This goal was not imposed on us by an outside force or guilt.

How can we express that there is something we are about to do that may be important to us while simultaneously believing that we are Powerful (i.e., my actions have an effect on everything that happens to me and I am victim to absolutely nothing)? We start with the use of the phrase “I get to.”

  • I get to pick up the children.
  • We get to go to church.
  • I get to get a good education.

This small change from “have” and “need” to “get” can be powerful because it calls for us to be Powerful. We get to take care of our partner instead of having to take care of them.  We say to ourselves and to the world, “I am making the decision  to take care of my partner. I am not forced to.” To our partner, we are saying, “I have decided that  I will take care of you. I don’t have to. I am not forced to. You are not a burden.”  Once we make the decision to do the things we do (or do not do) in life, we can also do something about it them we want to see them change. 

Ross came to the realization that he decided to go to prison. He had made decision. He didn’t have to go. And from that slight shift in perspective, he became powerful and creative. His life improved, and he began his journey of getting out.

If we are able and willing, let’s consider deciding the circumstance in our lives that we have picked and the things that we feel compelled to do. 

The very same task can change from drudgery to joy with just a slight tweak in perspectives.  We can “have to” take out the trash, because it’s a chore and if we don’t the kitchen will stink; or we can “get to” take it out with an understanding that we prefer a fresh smelling kitchen to a stinky one.  and that a stinky kitchen is a viable option.  We don’t have to, but we can get to.

Keep Rising,

Frank Love

In my next blog post, “Did You Aks My Wife? (Part 1), I will explore why we should be careful when seeking to invite third parties into communications between partners in loving relationships.

Watch Frank Love’s presentation “The Act of Caring.”


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Each week, Frank Love hosts Zoom support group meetings that assist women and men as we work to create a loving culture in our relationships. Calls occur from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST and can be accessed by visiting FrankWeeklyCall.com.


  • Tuesdays—Black Women: Creating a Loving Culture in Our Relationships
  • ThursdaysBlack Men: Creating a Loving Culture in Our Relationships


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Frank Love coaches individuals toward creating a loving culture in their family. He is also the author of Relationship Conversations You Don’t Want to Have (But Should Anyway) and 25 Ways to Be Loving. To schedule a free consultation, contact Frank at Frank@FrankLove.com.

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