What is your take on love

Do you believe you are or have been in love?

I was asked this question many times during the first couple of decades of my marriage. Being married very young everyone decided they knew better than I, so the statement rather than the question was, You cannot be in love you are too young!, or do you even know what love is? I tended to answer with ambiguous phrases because honestly I was unable to answer undeniably. I was very young, with little experience to compare. I was extremely happy and felt safe so I believed I was in love. I had nothing tangible to qualify this feeling. Over the years with this question being posed often, I wondered how one could categorically answer it. In years gone it was not generally perceived that women would have careers, their role was that of housewife and mother. Marriage was there go to, the only real excitement in their life between the 21st birthday bash and the expectation of children. The wedding was high on the female list. Marriage was still considered as a permanent structure so it was important to try to evaluate whether the love you felt for your partner was real or just a fleeting crush.I have thought many times over the years, including more recent times, that the partner in the equation of marriage was often less important than the big day. It really saddens me to say this but countless conversations leading up to the wedding day reinforces this belief over and over again.

The sixties was a huge decade of freedom and love, discovery and awareness. Many times the subject of love and sex was part of the discussions within my circle of friends. With more and more news about feminism and career possibilities women were a little confused about their futures. Add to this the talk of sexual awareness, sexual freedom and I think it was fair to say we as females questioned whether love was real or just an emotional stage. Everyone described their relationships in differing terms, with moving levels of depth which actually made it near impossible to evaluate.

Describe what love means to you.

One has to define love before answering this question. the dictionary says,  “an intense feeling of deep attraction” or “a great interest and pleasure in something” 

The Oxford dictionary says “ an intense feeling of romantic attachment based on an attraction felt by one person for another etc etc .

So is it one or the other, all of the above or none of the above. Another description I read in a google search seems to describe loving a person more adequately in my mind. 

I quote. “Love is when you choose to be at your best when the other person is not at their best. Love is when what you want is never as important as their needs.” When I say this I stress it is never ok to disregard ones own self worth. If we do not love and respect ourself then we cannot have the same love and respect for another.  

I believe love is many things and one does not know this on their first encounter or for many years later. What we feel in the beginning is desire, sexual attraction, heightened emotion and an ease of presence and safety. However these emotions can be obliterated so quickly with negative actions, that they are not sustainable without more. As humans we also need friendship and empathy. We need to feel and receive compassion, caring, understanding. Furthermore we must also learn to accept another person for who they are, not for whom we want them to be.

How does love vary from person to person

My lifetime has revealed many types of love. The protective love of a child, total respect and honour of a parent, the passion of a lover or the comfort, deep understanding and compassion of a spouse. Even though these descriptions are all emotional and easily identified they are no less important than the devoted and sustained love of a career, a job, a hobby or a pastime. This being said it is relatively obvious that love varies considerably both within one person and between two persons. Love is too vast a category to define it with one description. It is a feeling and one not easily described and one that takes time to truly recognise.

Reflection

Having said all this, I can honestly say now after 52 years of being with the same man, we have grown together and changed in many ways. We have laughed, cried, loved, annoyed and frustrated each other over the years. When I think about all of what I have described above, I finally I have the confidence to say I have experienced several forms of love and am and always have been in love.

2 thoughts on “What is your take on love

  1. When I realised my first husband was seeing someone, I made the decision not to do anything about it and let things take their course (“give him enough rope…” as the saying goes.) The question I asked myself was “Will I be happier living with him or without him?” and that’s still what I think matters. Sometimes, of course, you won’t know until it’s too late and you’ve parted, but if that’s what you suspect, then it’s worth giving your relationship another chance.
    In my case, our children were all off hand except one (at university) and the only thing I would miss was the house where we had lived for twenty-five years and brought up four children. It was a big house we’d bought cheaply in our youth as a renovation project and I couldn’t afford to buy him out.
    My children all lived with their partners before committing to children or marriage, which seems to me a sensible way to find out how you feel about about each other (one son is stil single). It wasn’t an option in the “swinging sixties”, which took a while longer to swing around to cohabitation as a normal rite of passage. My parents would have been horrifed, and, frankly, I didn’t have the confidence to leave home on my own back then.
    In the event, my husband moved out to live with his girlfriend and I was, indeed, happier living on my own. My youngest joined me for a short time after uni and before she took off around the world (finding her partner in New Zealand), and now, I live in harmony with my second husband.
    Regrets?
    I still miss that house, especially at Christmas.

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  2. Thanks for reading and commenting. I am so glad it worked out in the end. I agree when we were young the choices and the consequences were limiting. It is a different world we live in today. I must say I agree with your initial decision to give your first husband space. At the time you were not to know the reasons and it could simply have been something he needed to do. If it is any consolation the old house will always be in your memories. Heres hoping you continue down a happy road.

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