As I sat across the table from her, my heart sank. This woman, several years my senior, was talking about one of the most well-known love stories in theaters at that time, with matter of fact befuddlement. As she spoke about the interaction between the two main characters she queried, “why would anyone want put themselves in that position?” My mouth opened to explain, then I stopped short. I suddenly realized the truth: she’d never been in love.
A Common Occurrence
It always surprises me when it happens, but it’s happened several times throughout my life. I stumble across someone who understands love on only a superficial level. Some people get into relationships just to be close to someone else they get along with. Other’s have a very strong attraction to someone that they can’t seem to quench.
But it seems only a select few understand this deeper love – this thing so strong, so all-encompassing, that the story books and movies all make sense. It’s something that overwhelms both people involved to the point that every waking thought is consumed with the other. It’s something you know that you have experienced. If you don’t know if you’ve been in love, you haven’t.
Two Sides to Love
But is that truly love, or some other human made construct? I heard someone speak not too long ago about a different way of looking at it. Having been someone who has loved deeply, madly, and passionately, I feel like I’m being fair in saying, this thought makes sense.
Love, as we call it, breaks down into two parts: the action, and the feeling. The action is what we do – we show love – in compassion, in kindness, in consideration, amongst other ways. The feeling is that overwhelming sense of euphoria. It’s that second part – that feeling – that may not be all we believe it to be.
A Different Way to Look at Love
Love, the feeling, could probably simply be summed up as attraction. You REALLY find this person fascinating, desirable, hot, funny, etc. You have a strong desire to be with this person more. Being with this person feels good. You like it.
The problem becomes that we assume this is enough. We REALLY like this person. It must be love. Love is all we need. Love conquers all.
There’s More to Love
Unfortunately, love comes in two parts and you don’t get to happily ever after with only one of them. The thing that makes love work is not that two people find each other so attractive that they want to spend their time together. It’s that they do things to show that interest. It’s the doing that makes it last.
That first part of love, that attraction, is the thing that pulls two people together, but it’s treating the other person as you would want to be treated that gives it longevity. When you find two people that are still madly in love after 50 years, it’s not because of the superficial attraction that brought them together. It’s because of the deep-rooted, years-in-the-making attraction in who the other person is – the kindness that they share, the way they continue to make that person feel special, and the closeness that they foster.
True love has more to do with character than attraction. The motivation may be in attraction, but it’s how the other person is treated that eventually makes all the difference.
Make It Last
If you want a love that lasts, find someone who really makes you want to show them how you feel about them, but also find someone who wants the same thing. Show each other how much you mean to each other. Make that love deep, full, and active. Find new ways to show that person how valuable and important they are. Make your love an action verb.
Because love is something we all should have, from that feeling that makes us want to spend our time with someone special, to the actions that show them how much.