Love

I was thinking about the word “love” and what it means.  How do people know when they are in love?  I read this article about Siohvaughn Wade the soon to be ex-wife of NBA basketball star Dwayne Wade.  Mr and Mrs Wade are divorcing and the divorce has become a very ugly one.  Mrs. Wade has become so bitter that she is suing her husband’s mistress; actress Gabrielle Union.  Siohvaughn Wade is citing Ms. Union for dissolving her marriage, and performing sexual foreplay with her husband in front of the couple’s children while they were on an unsupervised visit at their father’s home and a host of other things.  All of that sounds really terrible and I do have my opinion on that, but I want to know about love.  How does love go from being a beautiful thing to a nasty bitter feud between two people?

Why do we use the word “love”?  If someone loves you would they cheat on you?  Would they destroy your image?  Would they sue you?  Would they hurt you physically?  Would they hurt your children?  Would they drag the third party through the mud just to humilate their partner?  How can someone love you one day, and then the next they don’t?

Do people just use the word love like a slang term that we insert just to end a sentence?  Do people just say the word for a loss of a better word?  Or is the word “love” just a euphemism?  What if I say I love my shoes; am I in love with my shoes?  How about if I say I love white grape juice?  Or, I love going to the theater?  Am I truly in love with things or is it something else?  Are there two or three kinds of love?  If so, the first one would be the love you have for family (mother, father, child or sibling).  The second one would most likely be the love you have for your husband/partner/significant other.  And the last one would be the love that you have for material things.  Is there an extent to love?  I mean can you measure it?  You know when you have a small child you ask them how much they love you and they answer” this much” and spread their arms as wide as they could.   Should we measure love that way or maybe with a 12 foot tape measure? 

How about if we took a tape measure and gave it to our husband or wife/partner/significant other and we ask them how much they loved us?  The person proceeds to pull out the tape; if he/she pulls it all the way out until it doesn’t go any further it means you can marry him/her.  If he/she pulls it out six feet it means you can date him/her.  How about your love for family and your love for material things; can they be measured on a tape measure?  I ask this question because I have had people tell me that they love their partner to a certain extent.  Does that mean that you love a person as long as you are holding them in your arms and once their gone so is that word “love”?     I’ve heard people say “I love my sibling, but”.  Does that mean that the love for your sibling has conditions? I’ve also heard people say I love my car or my money?  What kind of attachment do we have with material things that would make us express an emotion such as love?  What does the word “love” mean?  Are we all just using the word “love” too loosely?  Should we worry that by using the word “love” that we convey false meanings to others?  When we tell someone we love them, it makes the other person commit themselves to a union that may very well be false.  Is it a simple case of two false positives that create a negative? 

I have two hundred and one pairs of shoes.  It’s safe to say I have a thing for shoes.  Let’s say that someone told me I had to get rid of every pair of shoes I own except the ones on my feet.  Wait, let me put on my favorite pair of shoes (LOL). 

Side note:  I just took out what I thought was my favorite pair of shoes and put them on.  Then I looked in another box, and another, and another, etc.  I couldn’t decide which pair are my favorites, but for each pair I remember saying to myself when I purchased them “I love these shoes”.

Okay, someone says I can’t keep but the one pair of shoes that I have on my feet and I have to get rid of all the others.  I’m not allowed to buy another pair of shoes until this pair is worn out.  Would these shoes become the worse pair of shoes I have ever owned and will I start to mourn the others?  Would I die because I can only have the pair of shoes I’m wearing?  What kind of a sacrifice would I make in order to get another pair of shoes even though the ones I’m wearing are perfectly fine?    How about when it comes to money?  People con others out of millions of dollars even when some of the people they are conning are supposedly friends.  Look at the elderly woman that conned her friends out of thousands of dollars; for some of these people it was all they had in the world.  Did she love her friends or did she love the money?  Obviously, she chose the money because she committed a serious  crime.  But, if you have friends don’t you love them?  Don’t you care about their well being?  Why would you hurt them?

When you love someone and you decide to marry and start a family; at what point does one person get to say “I don’t love you anymore” and then walk away?   Is it okay for one party to say “this family was fine and I loved it when I had it, but now I want a new one”?  Were these people actually in love or were they just going through the motions until something better came along?  Do we get to just discard relationships at the drop of a dime?  How about when a person cheats and stays in their marriage and they say they love their spouse and the person they are cheating with?  Does the person get to keep both?  I get to have all two hundred and one pairs of shoes.  That clearly shows that I have an affection or an addiction to shoes.   Does greed, lust, gluttony and selfishness motivate us to use the word “love” to describe our feelings towards people and things when it suits us?  Or is it truly love that we feel?  How do we know that what we call love isn’t just a case of “I really like” or “I really enjoy” or “this just feels good”?  Are we so self indulgent that we don’t stop to think about how our words affect others? 

Love as defined in the dictionary has many meanings. 

  1.  A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
  2. A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child or friend.
  3. Sexual passion or desire
  4. A love affair; an intensely amorous incident; amour
  5. Affectionate concern for the well-being of others:  the love of one’s neighbor.
  6. The object or thing so liked:  The Theater was her great love.
  7. Strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything:  her love of books.
  8. Sexual intercourse; copulation.
  9. (initial capital letter) a personification of sexual affection, as Eros or Cupid.
  10. The benevolent affection of God for His creatures or the reverent affection due from them to God.

I understand these meanings and I’m sure everyone else that can read and comprehend understands the definition of the word love.  Since we understand the definition of the word “love”; is it time that we choose our words more carefully when conveying such a strong emotion such as love? 

Go back to the beginning of this post when I spoke about the article on the Wade’s.  Now tell me if you love someone can you be unfaithful?  Would you destroy your ex-partners image personally and professionally?  Would you hurt your partner physically?  Would you hurt your children mentally or emotionally by degrading their mother/father and denying them access to the other parent?  How do we know when we are in love?  How can we be sure that its love that we feel?  Maybe my question should be if we love someone, is it possible that our love can die?   It’s funny that we are quick to say we love someone or something, but we have a hard time saying that we hate someone or something.  You be the judge.  Tell me what love means to you.

Responses

  1. You have lots of questions out there! I do believe the word “love” is used much too loosely. People get lazy when finding the best word(s) for their feelings. I think sometimes people use the word because it’s a word that advances their agenda. For example, if I don’t tell you “I love you”, and instead say “I really like you, will you marry me?”, you probably won’t marry me.

    I have used the word “love” in a conversation with siblings, knowing full well if they weren’t my sibling I wouldn’t ever associate with them as a friend much less get to the point of loving them in the true sense. In that case, I guess I just say “love” because it’s family and if the chips were down I would be there to help out.

    For my children, I often use the word “love” and truly mean it. It does not mean I love everything they do or every choice they make. In fact, they made me crazy many times! But I love them and I would die for them. That will never change.

    Love in the sense of my partner. Well, that takes real work sometimes…lol. Probably more work on her part than mine! If I get to feeling like I’m not getting what I need, or get mad or whatever, and question “why am I in this relationship”, I know that’s just a temporary feeling that will go away quickly. The real binding emotion is love. For this reason, I would not knowingly hurt her. But you know what? It’s not love that would keep me from cheating…that’s pure damn fear that I would lose her (which I would).

    I don’t think real love dies without assistance…it may change to a different kind of love as people make their way through life’s journey, or it may be extinguished by actions of myself or other persons.

    Love isn’t something you just say; you have to participate in it to keep it alive.

    • Your example is exactly the point that I was making. People use the word “love” too loosely. People that use the word to advance their agendas are dishonest. The problem I see is that when a person says “I love you” it affects the receiver. One person is getting what they want, and the other person is following blindly on the basis that they feel they are really loved. If we simply said “I really like you” then both people can go into the relationship with their eyes open. Maybe they wouldn’t miss signs of neglect and abuse if they were told the truth up front.

      When it comes to family and siblings we are obligated to love. We may not like how our siblings live their lives, but blood ties are thicker than water. Sometimes we don’t see eye to eye with our siblings; I know I’ve been there myself. Like you said when the chips are down I would be there for my siblings in a heartbeat. My parents always told us that we only have each other in this world, and no matter who comes into our lives family comes first.

      I truly believe that when we say we love our children we really and truly mean it and feel it. Having a child creates a bond that I believe is unbreakable. I love my parents with every fiber of my being. I love my child so much that I would die for her. We love our children so much that when they hurt we feel it.

      I don’t know if it is love that takes work. Relationships take work. If we truly love our partner/spouse then we are willing to work on our relationship. One thing I know is that in this life if we are truly blessed to find a person that we love and they love us back I don’t see us hurting that person. Sure, we all get angry and we argue. We are human and we have our ups and downs, but when you love someone you would never hurt them. You would never want to cause them any pain. If a person decides to commit themselves to another then they should make sure that what they are feeling is love. People need to look within themselves and ask the big questions before they say “I love you, would you marry me?”

      I don’t think that love can die. Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic. Yes, love may change as time goes on, but to die? Or, to say I fell out of love? That just doesn’t happen. People can grow to want other things, or feel that maybe marriage isn’t what they wanted but I don’t think the love dies. I know plenty people that have divorced and still feel love for the person that they were once married too. When you love somebody it’s a feeling that never goes away. You are sorry when you hurt them. You don’t destroy them. You don’t kill them.

      I agree 100% “love” is not a word that we should throw around so easily. We should say exactly what we mean. If we just like someone, or enjoy their company then we should say exactly that. Love is a very powerful word and we should use it appropriately.

  2. first off, theres a thin line between love and hate. and if you dont know that by now then you should. ive been in a four year relationship but in the third month of the relationship i knew i loved this person. how (or why) i dont know, i could just feel it. later on in the relationship, this love changed from “i am in love with you” to “i love you.” which is a very big difference. after that relationship, i watch who i say “i love you” too, simply because everybody knows, but no one really knows what love means. some people take the word love to the grave and others, like me, take the word love kind of lightly. i came to a realization within myself that there is no way a person can say they love someone forever because nobody can read the future. how can you say that you can feel one way for the rest of your life. thats like a child at the age of three saying what they want to be when they grow up and then having to stick with it no matter what happens to them throughout their life. love is an emotion and emotions change OFTEN. to me, i will not use the word love unless i am willing to lay down my life for the person that i say it too. i feel that love cannot get any deeper than that. that could be why Jesus layed his down his life for human beings. what more could he do then to die for us. thats my definition of true love. regardless of familiy, spouse, or material items. and yes we should be more careful about using the word love but once you have true love for a person it will never die.

    • My point is that the word “love” is used to loosely. Maybe we don’t really know what love is, but life would be easier if we thought before we used the word. It’s harmless when we say to ourselves “I love my shoes” or “I love this song”, but when we tell another person that we “love” them it takes on a responsibility. Like you I would lay down my life for the people that I love. God gave his only begotten son for us – his children. Jesus showed that it is possible to love by giving his life. Love is not selfish, Love does not hurt, Love is not deceitful or remorseful. Love is a very powerful emotion and it is a phenomenal feeling. If it is not love that we feel, then we should say “I like you”, “I enjoy being with you”, “you make me feel good”; not “I love you” because love NEVER dies.

  3. One of my favorite quotes on love comes from Shakespeare’s Love Sonnet 116:

    Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds,
    Or bends with the remover to remove:

    O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

  4. empoweredlady1,

    I like the intent of your blog, though the long blocks of unbroken text are a bit hard on the eyes. You might want to consider shorter posts/pages; some of the WP support documentation and forums cover this issue. Click on my photo to visit my blog (be whole now). Thanks!

    • Thank you for the advice. I truly appreciate it.


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