What is Love?

What is love?

This is a question that I have been asking myself, my roommates, my parents, my sisters, and friends, wise old ladies and honest old men. It has been preoccupying me for quite some time, as many of those listed above can and will tell you. I’ve read lots of books written by men and women, about women and men, about our hearts, and desires, about feelings and steadfastness. I’ve seen “The Princess Bride” and other movies that I will not admit to in this forum. I’ve thought, and pondered, and prayed, and cried. I’ve been a shoulder and an ear, given hugs and wept with and for people. I’ve listened and talked, and shouted, and gone screaming. I’ve been quiet with friends who needed quiet, and celebrated with those who were ecstatic. This question haunts us all, some days it lays us flat, others it lifts us to places we did not imagine could exist. But it never goes away, it changes, it ebbs and flows, but never leaves us, at least it has never left me, it has grown with me, changed me. I see and find new secrets every day, secrets that are slow to share - no thats not right - they are not slow to share - they take time to comprehend.

I’ve learned many things, from the people God has placed in my life, men and women, young and old, wise and foolish, near and far. I am not professing to be an expert or even to have any special insight into relationships, love, and romance; rather I am trying to honestly and openly explain my very limited understanding. I find these things so hard to articulate on the spot, not because the ideas are not present, are not formed, but are rather the opposite, they involved and layered. I hope that this will be the faithful narrative that I intend it to be, please - if you think I’m wrong, that maybe I’m just a little off, or don’t think I quite understand something – PLEASE TELL ME!!!! I so want to understand. Know that I don’t hold these thoughts so close that I won’t listen to others.

Where to start, for the field of human relations is a large one, extending far passed my own limited experience, let me start where I am at – finding love.

What is love?

Several days ago I told a close friend that “…Love is NOT something that you step in, and can scrape off your shoe ~ It is a choice, made daily…” that is to say that at the end of the day we chose to love someone. Usually it’s someone we like – a lot! A lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, exceedingly might be a better word, but it does not impart the proper feeling of intensity, and is lacking the urgency and sense of purpose found in “a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot”, and in putting these thoughts to paper I want to make sure that the nature of the choice does not overshadow the nature of the things we do when we choose to love, nor the reasons we have when making this choice.

But we still have to chose, the feelings of intense desire are not something that are continuous, and eternal, and when those feelings periodically fade(rumor has it, that not every day is like that first day), something else must carry the relationship thru. A good example I can think of in my life right now is the relationship I have with my sisters. I love my sisters, and it is not a romantic love, it is brotherly love. It is true brotherly love in that I have chosen to love them. They cannot do anything to lose that love, for the love is not based on what they do, but who and what they are – they are my sisters. Nothing can ever change that, ever. They know this and understand the freedom and openness that love brings to a relationship. We all are aware of this freedom on some level, we tease our siblings, and treat them differently, not fearing the loss of our relationship with them, and bear from them teasing, jibes and an amount of honest frankness that we rarely permit in others.

It’s also in my relationship with my sisters that I have found out something about love, love is not a thing that is wholly deserved. What do I mean by that? Respect is earned/deserved, power demands respect, knowledge earns respect, and experience gets it without even asking. Whereas love is different, respect can breed love, but love cannot be demanded, I don’t know if love can be earned – it can be grown – but can it be earned, by us, toward each other??? Trust can be earned, but love??? Hmmmm. So back to the topic at hand, love not being deserved, what bothers me about this statement is that I believe God deserves our love, and I don’t even like the word deserves. Deserved is too weak, as if He has earned it, as if He had to earn it. But as interesting as this thread is, I feel that I am straying from the discussion at hand, mainly that love is not a thing wholly deserved.

My sisters will tell you, and indeed probably more willing to tell you than I would like, that I am not the perfect brother. That at times I have been, am, and will be “unlovable”, and I not wanting to be outdone would say the same. They at times do not “deserve” my love. Yet the love is never lost, because it is not based on mine or their worthiness. They chose to love me, and love is in that choice. Some days easier, some days harder but a choice nonetheless.

This is by no means the end of my pontificating on love and romance, choices and responsibility, call either of my sisters if you doubt this, for they have very patiently listened to me for hours on end while their pie-eyed brother tried to figure life out, so stay tuned for more ramblings from a guy that either thinks to much, or not enough.


  1. I thought i have knwon what love is, though i believe most of my loves either geared more towards obsesion or lust. I think you truly have a good idea of what love is and it's different types. i know that i did not find true love until i met my wife, whom i do not always lust after, do not always like, but i with out a doubt in my soul love her as i do God.

  2. Emerson - thanks for leaving feedback thank you so so much. I sometimes wonder if anybody reads these things.

  3. WOW Neil. Over powering man. You Never cease to amaze me. And I thought I was a deep thinker. Man that's totally awesome! I really like what you had to say here. Very very cool. Thank you.