What is Love?

With Valentine’s Day quickly descending upon us, sights of heart-shaped candies, flowers, and romantic advertisements are almost impossible to avoid. As someone who is fortunate enough to be sharing my life with someone who makes every day feel like Valentine’s Day, my heart quite literally bursts over all things love and marriage. You could call me a hopeless romantic, but I love seeing happy, healthy relationships from afar, too. My biggest wish for the world would be for everyone on it to feel even a fraction of the love my husband makes me feel daily, and when I get to see that happen for someone else firsthand, it completely melts me. Love is a word with diverse meanings, and is interpreted differently by almost everyone it’s felt by. There are countless factors that go into determining how a person gives and receives love to/from others. Since I can’t speak for anyone else, I thought I’d take the chance today to share what “romantic love” is to me.

To me, love is morning kisses before work (even if I’m barely conscious for them) despite the morning breath. Love is memorizing my ridiculously obnoxious restaurant orders. Love is praying and talking to God together. Love is calling to check in and keeping me updated whenever we’re apart – not because you have to, but because you want to. Love is unexpected PDA while I’m cooking. Love is taking care of one another, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Love is encouraging me to believe in myself and my ambitions when I want to give up. Love is playing with my hair and rubbing my head to put me to sleep when I can’t get there on my own. Love is acknowledging the past and not pretending the ugly parts never happened, but instead sincerely growing from it. Love is elaborate nights out, sweet nights in, and the effort that goes into those and everything in between. Love is applauding your individuality and knowing you’re whole on your own, but choosing your significant other because they make you even better. Love is a safe haven in a world of chaos. Love is mutual respect. Love is finding a new adventure for us to get into together because you know I love new experiences more than new things. Love is never questioning where you stand in someone’s life. Love is recognizing that no one is perfect, but loving them as they are. Love is the first person you want to tell your good news to and the first one you seek during the less happy times. Love is having the time of your life running errands simply because you’re together. Love is going along with my wildest ideas and always partaking in my photo ops (all of them – and that alone is saying a lot). Love is being able to tackle serious events with someone who constantly makes you laugh. Love sets your soul on fire. Love is motivating each other to grow and become the best version of ourselves. Love is unparalleled patience, even at my brattiest. Love is discussing disagreements like adults, even when it’s easier to blow things off and bottle them up instead. Love is getting to live life with your very best friend. Love is considering someone else’s feelings in addition to your own, and making their happiness yours. Love is embracing me in all of my many forms. Love is a conscious decision you make every day. Love (genuine love) is one of the most beautiful things in this life.

But there are many things love is not, and in my opinion, those matter just as much (if not more). Love is not toxic. Love is not always rainbows and sunshine, but it is certainly not a constant source of stress. Love is not a continuous cycle of breaking up and making up. Love is not hard, painful, or unfair; does it have its challenges occasionally? Of course. But those trials strengthen your love and bring you together, not strain it and alienate the parties involved. Love is not trying to change someone; if you cannot accept someone as they are, they are not for you. Love is not staying together for the kids, for your image, or for anything but sincere love for the other person. Love is not ownership. Love is not abusive in any way, shape, or form. Love is not compromising yourself for someone else.

What I’ve outlined as my interpretation and standards of love may not be the same as yours, and that’s what makes the sharing of ideas intriguing. Fortunately for me, the only kind of love I have to personally concern myself with is the one my husband and I share, and that is truly the single embodiment of everything I’ve ever prayed for and dreamed of. Has it always been easy, or even ideal? Absolutely not. But it’s been so beyond worth it. It’s the story that’s gotten us here and is also what’s shaped these beliefs.

What does love mean to you?

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