Love defined: is that possible?
If you browse through your local bookstore, go online, or even glance through the magazine rack while waiting in line at the grocery store, you’ll find hundreds-if not thousands-of books and articles on love. Articles that define it, describe it, suggest how to find it, and even how to keep it are in your face, no matter where you look. Just check out the latest edition of Cosmopolitan magazine to find dozens of articles on how to sexually please your partner, or the tabloids, which offer up all the true love stories of the rich and famous and how they’ve found that special feeling guaranteed to last forever….this time. You can draw from thousands of years of poetic prose written from the likes of Sophocles, Shakespeare, or Emerson. Chinese and Japanese proverbs, Biblical verses, and Rabbinical wisdom all have offered up advice on this subject. Every musical venue from opera and Broadway to classic rock, contemporary folk, country, rap, and R&B have tendered contributions to the point that each of you, well read or not, should be well versed on the subject.
By rights, we should all know more about this subject than anyone at any other time in history. Yet, I think we are more confused than ever. So what is the problem? I think we’re trying to define what love feels like instead of what it does. We say we love someone. However, we also say we love Coco Puffs, a special car, a new dress, and even chocolate martinis. So how is it possible that we can use the same word to describe our relationship with so many other things? Is it a cultural bad habit or a social norm? I suspect that what we are trying to say is that we feel a strong special attraction or affinity for that new car, dress, or chocolate martini that goes over and above how we feel about many of the other things in our lives. Instead of saying “I feel excited,” “I feel comfortable,” “I feel satisfied,” and so on, we just shorten it up to “I really love _____.”
Here is where I think we have gotten it wrong: real love is not a feeling.