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Love-- What is it?
The word "love" is bandied about much too lightly, much like the word "aloha" in Hawaii. In casual everyday usage, we trivialize the word and desensitize ourselves to deeper meanings. I'm as guilty of this as anyone. AuthorsDen writer Jeanette Cooper poses the question: " Love-- What is it?" She closes by saying she would "love" to hear our opinions. Not really. I think she wants to hear our opinions and is eager to hear our opinions, but the word "love" is being diluted. I say this not in criticism but only in commentary.
I certainly agree with Jeanette's definition of love to include giving, sharing, caring for the well-being of another...affection...feelings of tenderness and kindness, and all the feelings of warmth and devotion she describes.
One of the most important aspects of love she describes has to do with reciprocity. I think the emotion of mature love is wholly unfulfilled and undeveloped when the feeling of love is not returned by the object of your affection.
"Love" takes two acting in concert to ripen into what Jeanette describes as "wholeness" and "full abundance." And in that description, I think she hits the nail squarely on the head.
Physical attraction and sharing physical intimacy are aspects of love, but these feelings and emotions are not love, itself. Far too often in our society we intermingle "making love" with "love."
Some time back E.T. Waldron posted a provocative item entitled "I Know You Want Me" recounting a long relationship in cyberspace culminating in the man (Harry) flying a thousand miles to see the woman (Liddy) he was romancing by emails. After an hour's conversation and while she was then fixing them dinner to share together, they interrupted everything to have their bedroom fling.
Thereafter, in the story Liddy "speaks with pride about their relationship has been going strong for two years, now, and shows no signs of let up." My comment: "Am I supposed to be impressed?"
What disturbed me in reading this article was not the article but the Reader-Reviewers' responses, some readers suggesting that they admired Liddy for having the nerve to "go for it" without delay. In my review of the article I commented "...perhaps my age gives me a different perspective."
About the story:
My comment was and is this: "...Harry showed the crassness that a great many men show. Their universe is centered below the belt... What bothers me is that it wasn't just the sharing of the bed that was on his mind, it was sharing the bed like RIGHT NOW. Liddy is no kid. She knows it--or should--yet she let herself melt away like a toasted cheese sandwhich.
"Most women, I believe, long for and appreciate romance. And that means more than one hour of conversation and a few bites to eat together... What I've learned in my lifetime is that the loving that follows a ripe romancing is ten fold better...
"Every relationship book I've read...recounts the fact that for most couples it usually takes about four years (f-o-u-r) to develop a mature sensitivity to each other's needs. I hope Liddy can hold on, 'cause in our modern society, almost every couple is 'gone, split, caput' before they're together long enough to even reach a physical and emotional harmony coupled with understanding and respect. (And that means more than, 'Sure, sweetheart, I respect you. Now, drop your pants.')
"A very good story, E.T. A story that provides lots of food for thought, like: Ladies, test your guy's character with more than a fondling, will you?"
Far too many younger people--men and women--speak of love and making love as being synonomous. And when through neglect or lack of dedicated interest their passion for the other person wanes, they attribute it to falling out of love when, in reality, they were never really in love but more "in lust."
"Cherish" is one word I would suggest that is inseparable from love.
A young man may be eager to take his young lady to bed for some "loving" when what he really means is "making love." He may in his own mind "cherish" the act as wonderfully self-gratifying, but he usually fails to comprehend the emotion of "cherishing" the woman he's with not for her reciprocal ability to thrill him physically but for the very fact that he cherishes her as his partner in love and life, cherishes her as the most special person in the world, in bed or out, cherishes her in soulful harmony of spirit.
Inherently, "cherish" speaks of one's emotions and feelings for the other. It does not encompass your self-interest for your own betterment.
If you don't "cherish" the one you say you love, then you don't really love them. They're merely an object by which and through which you better yourself and, like a paper plate at a picnic, you toss them aside when their usefulness no longer satisfies your needs.
People in love don't grow out of love, they grow deeper and deeper in love as they in life share more and more.
I offer this comment, as I did in Waldron's page: "I can still paddle my canoe as swiftly as I did thirty years ago. The difference is that now, with the woman I love, I know where I'm heading and I enjoy her sharing in the paddling."
So, dwellers of the den, what do you think? What about love is most important for you? Are you still looking for love? What makes you think your lover is really in love with you? Do you even care?
If the one you love dies, can you find love a second time? Or will they just be a lover?
Is the "freedom" involved in simply having a lover easier and/or better than the "trapped" commitment and effort needed to develop a mature love relationship?
In my posted poem "A Lovely Rose" I assert this position:
But only tender souls may touch
In magic born of heart
And dare to dream of times to come
When they're not far apart.
For all we have in life is Love
In company with my dear and respected friend Jeanette Cooper, I would "love" to read your comments.
Reader Reviews for
"Love-- What is it?"
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|Reviewed by Debra Conklin
|If this is the definition of love, then these last thirteen years of my married life have been wasted...|
|Reviewed by Tabitha Carter
|Here is my opinion:
Love is not planned, prepared, "ready" or "willing". It just happens. You don't truelly understand that you are IN love until you are already "deep" in it and can't possibly get out of it. You may want to fall in love, may look for love, may marry for hopes of love, etc...but love finds you and always will. If you can break out of that love, then you are either lying about loving in the first place or hiding the feeling of love, now. There is no turning back. I think there is a first love and its the greatest. When you put your heart and soul into it and trust the world with glass. I dont believe in love after the death/failure of that first love. Because it is replaced with false love. It is replaced with a damaged heart and you look for different things when looking for love. Again, you cant find love. It finds you. So, no...love is fragile and like an infant, grows. But if it is harmed, it grows up with a warped sense of trust. I agree in the four year opinion. I would like to say five years. After five years, crap flies out of the closet, comfort sets in, you either deal with the burnt food she cooks or take the muddy boots off your man's feet or you really dont love one another. What I like about love is this: the desperation of altering your whole existence..at least considering the possibility because you "love". That emotion is so strong that it will rip at the seams, pick up cars with one finger, and heal the blind to see again. Love. Love? It is definitely taken for granted and most aren't really, truelly in love. Here's another thought: marriage. Lets not marry because we "love". Lets marry to compete in the cost of a marriage. Lets do the "trend" thing. Divorce is always around the corner, anyways, right? Thats how young people think, nowadays. I may be 28 years old, but my idea of a marriage is 1950's. My ideal of a love is "til death do us part". I am family. I am love. I am traditional when it comes to family. ( I am NOT traditional with much anything else, by the way). But family is the most important reason for living..."love" is the most critical reason for living. I can say so much more, but I will not. This is just a review, so sorry.
|Reviewed by xxxxxxxxxx yyyyy (Reader)
|Nicely written and very thought provoking, but it's meant to be. Like Elizabeth Parsons, I believe there are many different types of love. Here you are talking of committed love between a man and a woman, very much in the traditional sense and as someone who has not lived traditionally I find that hard to follow. That is not to say I don't appreciate or respect other's views of love.
|Reviewed by Denise Contreras
|Thanks for this there are many different kinds of love I have found the only way I can truly love is when I found the love within myself and love myself then I am able to love others.
Thanks agian for this write.
|Reviewed by Walt Hardester
Maybe I've been
"looking for love in all the wrong places"
and maybe the love I now seek is to be found within....my self
|Reviewed by Elizabeth Parsons
|There are many different dephs of love or types of love. We have love for our fellow man (or we should have). We love our children, our other family members, our friends. Each in a different way. Then there's the love between a man and a woman...husband and wife. You expressed this love perfectly when using the word cherish. If it's truly 'love', you will feel exactly like this:
"that he cherishes her as his partner in love and life, cherishes her as the most special person in the world, in bed or out, cherishes her in soulful harmony of spirit." (and she him)
|Reviewed by Jerry Engler
|I'd better not say I loved your thoughts, but I certainly appreciated them. When I look at my own work, I realize that my characters frequently share love while experiencing the harsher side of realities in life. True love often survives the happenstance of what happens to you, even when you created some of the worst of the happenstance...Jerry|
|Reviewed by Regis Auffray
|A thought-eliciting article, Richard. Someone described "love" to me this way:
"Love has a different tune: I love you, therefore you are free to do as you wish. My love says you cannot do any wrong in my sight. My love says you cannot hurt me for it would not wish to make you responsible for the way I feel. My love says I am here for you if you want me, or I can be gone if that is what you wish. My love does not depend on your performance to exist - it depends entirely on a choice I make, moment by moment. My love accepts that you may even come to hate me for what I am and it is strong enough not to compromise itself to please you. My love cannot be manipulated. My capacity to love is infinite and is not bound by your feelings or desires."
Thanks for sharing. Best wishes to you,
|Reviewed by Tina Martin
|Hi Richard. Thanks for your comments on my poem. Good points you expressed.
In response to your article, I have to say that the word 'love' is used very lightly and is mishandled in today's society. I laughed at your 'Aloha' comment above; albeit true, but I would compare the use of the word love with the word 'the' or 'a' based on the frequency of its usage. Physical attractiveness/Physical intimacy is important in a committed relationship but these aspects of love should not be weighed as heavily as the inner person. The inner person is the person we fall in love with; not the beauty of the outer "shell". And the inner person is what God values. If I baked a cake with bugs and dirt and put some chocolate icing on it, sure, the outside will look appealing but the inside is another story. So I agree with you!
And just a final comment for the young people who confuse love with lust; my suggestion would be for them to turn to the Bible for the greatest act of love ever shown - not to degrading, sexual, brain-washing music videos.
Until We Meet Again
|Reviewed by vicki orey (Reader)
|What is love?
This is a very deep subject, one that is often greatly misunderstood, and even the most enlightened description is limited by a language that can never do it justice. But I have to say, Dad, by your article, that you have obviously let love mold you and prune you over the years, and it has given you the wisdom and compassion of a sage.
The best writing I've come across on love is in the book "The Prophet", by Kahlil Gibran. The only thing I may add is that Divine Love is unconditional and has only one purpose: the highest good of its recipient, even when it means the breaking of one's own heart into a million little pieces.
I love you, Dad.
|Reviewed by Sandie Angel
|Wonderful write, Richard! you have defined love so well.
A very thought-provoking write.
Sandie May Angel :o)
|Reviewed by H. Lena Jones
|Hi Richard, I can only contribute a true story of a relationship built on true love. My aunt was 42 when she lost her husband to a burst blood vessel in the brain. She remained single and in love with him until she died at age 85! My own parents are in their 66th year of their marriage...very much in love, in spite of their ups and downs. I'm afraid today, love is treated in the same way one treats a light switch...turned on and off at will!
Then there is God's love, a fatherly love and concern for humankind. Then there is brotherly love -- love for each other in a Godly way.
Unfortunately what we see today is lust mistaken for love; and that's why most do not last.
In light and love (Christ's love)
|Reviewed by Jeanette Cooper
|Richard, I couldn't make a new post, so I'm adding my comments to your article via this old post below at the bottom:
Richard, you've written a wonderful article that expounds on the merits of love, as opposed to the impression of love through lovemaking. I applaud you for the depths of which you are able to discuss an idea with such positive and comprehensive wisdom.
One thought you wrote grabbed my attention, which I totally agree with:
"I hope Liddy can hold on, 'cause in our modern society, almost every couple is 'gone, split, caput' before they're together long enough to even reach a physical and emotional harmony coupled with understanding and respect."
The rate of divorces, as noted in the newspapers around the country, confirm your statement. Making love can not keep too people together, and it's the first thing that goes when the relationship starts falling apart.
We've become a feel-good-now society where people involve themselves in relationships because it feels good at the moment. Such lax reasons for forming relationships fail to test the waters of what lies ahead through examining the negative implications and/or positive worthiness of a long-term commitment.
I think you nailed the definition of love on the head when you called it "diluted". The term has been bandied and tossed about so much that the word love is become a general abstract term, which can fit whatever definition one wants to apply to it. I love people. I love books. I love candy. Each of these statements has a different concept of love, yet, are used frequently to imply one's feelings toward someone or something.
Getting back to your concept of love, with regard to relationships, many relationships survive on interdependence or co-dependence. In such cases, each spouse is doing his own thing within the boundaries of a unit, and the kind of love you speak of is often set aside or "diluted" due to disinterest by spouses who don't want to put the time or effort into keeping or restoring the romantic thrill that brought them together in the first place.
In conclusion, I think it is well to say here that one gets out of a relationship what s/he puts into it. If passivity and disinterest are the attitude of one spouse, the other one drifts toward that same state when there is no reciprocity to affections. Thus, what follows is the staid, unromantic, boring, live-and-let-live relationship environment.
Truly, Richard, I like your definition of love best. It serves as a wonderful restorative fountain whereby couples drink from its wisdom, grace, perseverance, and sometimes through tears, to deal with problems that eke their way into the most loving relationships.
A very thoughtful read, that got my creative juices flowing.
Richard, the worthy thoughts and merit of your article on "love" inspired a great deal of thought on my part, which was too lengthy to post here. Therefore, I wrote an article "Demons of Language" which I've posted on my site that you might be interested in reading. It is rather long, but I think there are ideas that will spark much thought by interested readers.
|Reviewed by Tactfully Naive
|As Lennon sang, 'How can I give love when I don't know what it is I am giving?'
The act of love has indeed become blurred, indistinct as you point out from 'making love' which alludes in part to lust. At this level, as one elderly guy once observed that love today has been reduced to lust. Sounds harsh but when schools are handing out condoms to girls at 13 years of age, the wheels of lust are already set in motion - 13 year olds 'making love' is assumed. Don't know why they just don't go ahead and give lads a crow bar on the assumption that they are going to be burglars, or give both sexes silver paper, matches and a spoon. This disemination of condoms etc is an outcome of post -modernists' obssession with relativism and its trashing - amongst other things - of healthy relationships between the sexes. All very well for them to sit in their pads sipping Chardonnay while deconstructing love. The adverse legacy of their re - constructed version is all too plain to see. It's as if the post - modernist anthem is Timothy Leary's 'Turn on, tune in, drop out'. No wonder guys like Lennon were confused.
The Greek language has 3 words for love that help define what kind of love that is being spoken of. With only the one word in English, we say 'I love my wife' then in the next breath, 'I love my car' - same feeling? Surely not. None of the Greek words would apply to the car because it cannot be the object of love - we can like our car but not love it.
Agape according to many Greek linguists means love of commitment, like man loving his wife and visa versa, and both loving their children. Philew is love of friendship, humans loving one another as close friends. Eros is basically lust, the act that has become indistinguishable from love today.
I suppose when we get right down to it, love in its proper form does exist in millions of relationships. But because it does not fit in with the destructive elite's social agenda, is kept below the radar screen of public discourse.