Love is something people film Oscar winning movies, ridiculous reality shows and write best-selling novels about. It’s a four letter word with one definition, but there are a million different ways it can be interpreted or expressed. Everyone has their own meaning of the word love or what it feels like to experience it. The term I love you is often casually thrown around while chatting about a celebrity crush, hanging up the phone with a new found friend or having a few too many glasses of pinot (and with liquid courage, it could accidentally slip out to a complete stranger). You can call me old-fashioned, but in my eyes, the weight of the word is heavier than me after the holidays. Love is an indefinite feeling – seasons change, feelings change, appearances change, but regardless of those variables, love remains constant. I see true love everyday, whether I’m in the kitchen watching my Father laugh and smile at my Mother dance in circles to Jersey Boys while cooking dinner, passing teens whose hands are stuck together like glue or watching my best friend’s face light up from a text message she receives from her boyfriend filled with a hundred emojis. These days, commitment is more rare than my steak, divorce is as common as breaking a nail and marriage is not like it used to be when our parents were young (i.e. “when I was your age, I had already been proposed to three times.”)
Since times have changed more drastically than Lil Kim’s face, it’s refreshing to see people who are in happy and healthy relationships. I appreciate the foundations of the relationships I witness on a daily basis – all of them are made up of their own components that make them as unique as a Dolce and Gabbana shoe. I think we can all agree that when the feeling of love is new, you want to spend so much time with the person that you could break a clock. When the relationship matures, you can be happy apart and remain happiest when you’re together. My definition of love is acceptance – accepting the person for all of their imperfections because that is what makes them perfect to me. I truly admire someone who inspires me and encourages me to be greater than Alexander the Great. Love is a challenge and it takes two to tango. When I was a child, I took this term so literally I thought I had to learn the dance to fall in love – I wrote down in my diary “sign up for tango classes at age 15.” I know, hysterical.
I asked twelve people whose ages range from 18-60 who are either dating, engaged or married what they loved most about their significant other.
These are their responses:
• His patience and unconditional love.
• His generosity and his dedication to our family.
• How she understands me and can make me laugh when no one else can.
• His compassion for other people and how humble he is.
• How independent she is, she’s a wonderful cook and very organized.
• The daily push and drive to not only better herself but also influence and help me conquer every day as if it were our last.
• He is my best friend. He makes me laugh all the time. I always have fun if I’m with him.
• Her intelligence and self motivation.
• His quirkiness – he’s not afraid to be his own person.
• I love how he is my biggest supporter and motivator, he protects me, he appreciates everything I do for him and (of course) he makes me laugh.
• His big heart.
• I love that we understand each other, laugh at each other and are always there for each other – IDK IM OBSESSED I COULD WRITE A BOOK.
The responses made me smile brighter than I did on picture day in middle school. Some responses had similar characteristics but none of them were identical. It was interesting because most people found it difficult to only name one thing they loved most. You never know when you’re going to fall in love or how it may happen. It certainly is not going to be as simple as Slim Kardashian’s infamous ex Ray-J put it when he rapped “143, I la-la-love you.” That song may be less romantic than my first kiss. If it hasn’t happened yet, don’t worry, it will. When it does, you will be able to list a million things about your better half. Be open and optimistic because there’s someone out there for everyone.
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