Since today is February 14th, also known as Valentine’s Day, it is only fitting that I write a post about love. On this Valentine’s Day I found myself wondering how one can even begin to describe love. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary a simple definition of love includes the following:
- A feeling of strong or constant affection for a person
- Attraction that includes sexual desire
- A person you love in a romantic way
I think that love is such an intense emotion and therefore almost impossible to define. If I were to grade the Merriam-Webster dictionary I would have to give it a B. The definition is missing a few key elements.
First of all, the dictionary focuses more on love in either a romantic or sexual way. Love is about so much more than that. Love happens between friends. Love takes place between family members. Love is felt for one’s mentor. These types of love are too often forgotten. Valentine’s Day isn’t just about buying candy or flowers for your partner. It’s about appreciating all the various kinds of love in your life.
Love is not only about the strong affection you feel for someone. I would argue that love is about the dislike you sometimes feel too. Loving someone means loving everything that is wonderful about them as well as everything they do that irks you. The people we love will annoy us because they will let themselves be who they are in front of us. Part of love means letting your guard down and showing someone who you truly are. People are imperfect so forgiveness has to be part of love too. When we get to see the good, bad, and downright ugly side to someone and still want to be around them then you know the relationship is real. That is love.
The biggest piece missing from this definition of love has to do with time. I’m not saying that you can’t love someone quickly but in my opinion love grows stronger and deeper with the passing of time. One reason is because time allows you to get to know someone better and fully appreciate who they are. It also enables you to see how much that person is capable of giving you. Over time two people experience more things together, which means they’re able to see each other in various facets and realize they keep proving who they are to one another. Inevitably, they are constantly reaffirming their love for each other. I’m still talking about all types of love, not simply a romantic love. A child grows up and learns that their parents are human and fallible but continues to love them. A friend helps you through a death in your family and you realize how grateful you are to have them there. Your partner buys you your favorite chocolate on their way home from work because you had a bad day. The simplest or most extravagant gesture reminds you how much you love someone. Time helps us get to know someone better even if it’s someone we’ve known our entire lives.
On this Valentine’s Day let’s think about all the types of love that exist in the world and celebrate each and every single one of them.