Recently my niece asked me to help her with an assignment and it got me thinking. What is Love?
As romance writers, we fill our pages with it and every woman dreams of it. For centuries people have believed in fate, destiny and true love. Some look to star signs to guide them in their search. There are those who swear it was love at first sight, or claim to have found their soul mate, but have they really?
The great romantic classics by Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer are all about respectability, virtue and the innocence of love, but in reality those courting couples were almost always chaperoned and one never spoke of their innermost feelings, or heaven forbid, sex. That was something that usually happened only in the marriage bed, in the dark and whilst wearing neck to toe nightwear. They barely knew a thing about each other before marriage. So how could they possibly love each other? Does love grow with intimacy and time?
Is it chemistry, compatibility and communication? And, if you have all three C’s, then does that mean you’re in love?
What of attraction, excitement and lust? Is it the meeting of hearts and minds or a temporary insanity driven by hormones? What is the cause of butterflies in your tummy? What is it that makes the heart skip or pulse race?
Here is my theory.
Love cannot be narrowed down to a particular set of symptoms or attributes. It is different for everyone and a combination of many things. The initial attraction, desire and euphoria might well draw a couple together and I certainly believe love can grow if you’re lucky enough to be with the right person. Chemistry, compatibility and communication are major ingredients, so are tolerance, friendship and respect.
So how do you know you’re in love?
Do you look forward to seeing that special person, even after twenty-five years?
Do you give them a kiss, last thing at night and first thing in the morning?
Do you enjoy spending time in their company and miss them when they’re away?
Do you sit down together and talk, laugh, share a movie, eat together?
Do you fall asleep knowing the most important person in your life is lying beside you?
Do you hold hands, smile at each other and hug?
Do you cheer each other up when one is down?
Do you go out of your way to do nice things for each other?
This week my husband and I celebrated twenty-five years of marriage and I can truly say, he is the love of my life and the centre of my universe. And when I look at the list above, I can answer yes to every single question.
Was it love at first sight?
For me –– Absolutely.
For him –– He tells me he was definitely attracted, but it was the connection we had that is still there.
What did I love about him initially? His broad shoulders, his contagious laugh, his beautiful brown eyes and the way he swept me off my feet.
What do I love about him now? His broad shoulders, his contagious laugh, his beautiful brown eyes, the fact that he calls me chief and tells me I’m beautiful, even after all this time. Knowing that I’m the love of his life, and the fact he gave me three wonderful children. We are opposites in many ways, but we do have chemistry, communication, compatibility, friendship and respect.
That’s what I think love should be.