Monday, February 14, 2022

What Does Love Mean to You?

It’s February and it’s the 14th…Valentine’s Day! It’s the day when a lot of people celebrate (romantic) love and people go on dates or do certain romantic gestures in honor of the holiday. For the most part, it is a day for couples (or people who want to be couples). For someone like me who has been single for a long time, it doesn’t really carry much weight for me. It’s just another day. But love? Well, that’s another story. 

Even if I have been single for a while, I still consider myself a romantic. I still swoon at the sight of romantic scenes in movies (and real life, if I get to witness it). I still believe in love, even if it has not happened to me. 

I once ran into an old college buddy of mine and we talked about how different our life paths were. He is now married and I am, well, still single. We talked about me and my (lack of a) love life and he commented that the problem with me is that I was still a (hopeless) romantic. He said that marriage (and love) isn’t about that. It caught me off guard and it made me reassess what I thought love meant.

So just what is love? What does it mean really?

Photo by 1866946 on Pixabay

At my age, as I watch friends and family fall in love, get married (and stay married), separate, and remarry (for some), I have learned a lot about what love is about and what love is – for me, anyway. To be clear I am talking here from a couple standpoint, not love in general.

The way I see it, love is a choice. It is this choice to unconditionally care for and accept another human being. To choose to have this person in your life through the good and bad, to accept and embrace your differences from one another and build a life together. It's about choosing who you give your affection/attention to. Choosing who you care about enough to spend the rest of your life with.

Love is not always going to be about romance. As hopeless a romantic as I can be, I am also a realist. Life happens, and it can’t always be about sweet kisses, flowers, and happily ever after. Love means knowing that while you can have those moments, that love can also exist in both of you sitting at home in your oldest, worn-out clothes and arguing about what to order for takeout. That's not to say that there won't be romance. It's just that it won't always be in the way that movies or books portray it. As much as intimacy is important in a relationship, it's also not all there is to it. 

Love is a partnership. As they say, it takes two to tango. It needs to be a two-way street. It can’t always be one person making the effort for the other person. It’s about being together and working on that relationship together.

Love is a commitment. You made a choice to be with that person. You’ve built a partnership with that person. You also have to commit to it. You commit to being there not just with the good but also with the bad. You stay to try to make things work and not run away when things are not easy. 

Love needs friendship as a foundation for it to grow and last. The best relationships I’ve seen are from people who were friends first before going romantic and committing themselves to each other. As good as romance can be, as I said earlier in this post, you can’t live on romance or romantic moments forever. For a good relationship to last, for that choice, that commitment, that partnership to stand strong amidst the challenges it would face, a solid foundation of friendship makes things easier. A friend of mine says that the romance fades, and I have seen it in some relationships. But I have also seen that while the “kilig” does fade, there seems to be a sweeter side to those relationships that last because of the foundation of friendship (which, after all, is a form of love in itself). And they do have their sweet/cute/romantic side too and it’s really adorable. 

As the song goes, “I want a love that will last.” I haven’t been in a relationship in a while, but if and when I do, I want one that will last. I want one with the qualities that I mentioned in this post. Is it still too romantic? Is it still asking for too much? I don’t know for sure. I just know that I’d love to have that. 


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