Episode 128: What Is Love?
As a wise man once said “I’m in love, I’m in love and I don't care who knows it"
Granted it was Will Ferrell in the Christmas film Elf, but the message still stands.
But how do I know that I’m actually in love? What is love anyway?
Is it even real?
Is it lust?
Is it simply habit?
A friend of mine wrote a wonderful play set in early 1900’s New York about the mixing of cultures and the expectation of holding onto tradition and heritage.
One character has this wonderful speech about whether she leaves behind her Jewish traditions to take up with this devilishly handsome New York Cop.
But when talking about being paired up with the local Tailor’s Son simply because he’s Jewish she says,
”I wouldn’t fall in love with him; I’d simply get used to him over the years and eventually that would feel like love.”
Obviously the audience doesn’t want her to just have a marriage that only FEELS like love.
Arranged marriages don’t make happy marriages do they?
Or do they?
They might have fallen out of fashion over the last 50 years or so, but they still exist in some cultures and sometimes “They all live happily ever after” bit of a coincidence isn’t it? that the random person you were put together with ended up being your one true love.
Well, in the same way it’s a bit of a coincidence that the first woman who joined a charity I was working with at my local hospital 2 weeks after becoming single ended up being my soul mate.
Because it wasn’t a coincidence. The reason that random 19 year old, squash playing saxophone player became my soul mate was because I wanted her to be.
The circumstances we we’re in meant that I expected to fall in love.
In the absence of anything to dislike about her all I saw were the good things, if there was anything that annoyed me I overlooked it, and 20 years later i’m still doing the same.
I know it’s not very romantic to say that love is nothing more than a habit, that if you spend enough time with anyone then you will feel strange without them but it’s true.
But what we mean by love is actually what we would call being IN love. and i think that being IN love is more about care and respect than anything else.
If you care deeply for their wellbeing. If you feel moved by their pain and motivated to help relieve it, then you’re IN love.
It’s not very romantic but I do truly believe that you can be in love with anyone.
It’s actually the falling OUT of love that is the issue in relationships.
And in order to keep relationships going we need to make sure we don’t fall out of love.
We need to ensure we keep the respect for each other.
I think deep down we all know what we need to do to keep our relationships happy.
And we also know what would cause us to spoil it.
If we deliberately focus only on the negatives of our partner then we’ll make ourselves unhappy and spoil it.
But, meet them half way.
If our other half needs to see more about the things that are good in us, then make sure we show them, don’t wait for them to say,
“Hey I know it’s been 20 years, but this just isn’t working anymore”
Listen to them when they talk to you about their day, their thoughts, their friends their life.
Focus on the reasons to continue wanting them in your life.
After all, even when someone does something wrong, we shouldn’t forget about all the things they did right.