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What Is Love? #331655
01/17/14 08:11 PM
01/17/14 08:11 PM
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Mark1952 Offline OP
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Inspired by a discussion in one of our other areas, I'm putting this here because it will be at least a bit meta and because I think it might be of benefit to discuss where the outside world can see it. It might lead to an article. If nobody else tackles it, I might take a shot at it.

So, what is LOVE?

Is it a feeling?
Is it a choice?
Is it a commitment?
Is it an action (or series of actions)?
Is it care?
Is it compassion?
Is it empathy?

My answer is simply "Yes!"

The English language might be hampered by the use of the word "love" to describe so many things that encompass all of those ideas and probably a lot more. We love our friends and love our families. We love our spouse and our job, our new car and our favorite food- maybe even the place where they serve that food. We love our dog and cat (and our horse) and the way the sunset reflects across that quite lakeside secret place we like to fish for the fish that we love to catch.

The meaning of the word is most often derived from the context in which we use it to describe something related to our circumstances. To understand that context affects our understanding, we need look no further than the phrase so many of our members have heard at one time or another - "I love you, but I'm not in live with you." Then we fight about what that might mean, try to make distinctions between feelings and actions and end up not liking each other very much and saying we no longer love at all.

One thing that seems to be a common belief is that love is somehow magic. When we fall in love, the feelings seem like they are magic. When we show care and empathy fro our spouse, the feelings we might both experience can seem magical in how it brings us closer together. When we really commit to making our relationships work and not just making them remain though broken, we find that commitment works very much like magic. Sometimes we find a program or a process or a book that helps us repair a broken marriage and simply transfer the idea of magic from the feelings to the process or book, or maybe the author of the book. Having performed a few magic tricks in my life, I am not a big fan of the magic myth as applied to love. Most magic is merely unexplained science and reality or a misdirected thought process intended to mislead the observer.

Those who read the Bible often have a practical sense of love in that it is tied to certain ways a person might act. English still fails us, however, because the word "love" is used to translate multiple ideas related to sacrifice, putting the needs of others before our own, and showing compassion and support for the downtrodden and the unfortunate among us as well as exhibiting real care and concern for another person. New Testament Greek uses three words that get translated as love and at least one more concept related to feelings, but not merely describing a feeling, is used for the love between a man and woman in a romantic relationship in the koine Greek in which the New Testament was written. When Paul's letter to the church at Corinth says that the greatest is "love" the word has an entirely different meaning than the thing that brings a couple together to form a commitment to making a relationship that might last a lifetime. The latter might require the former, at least at various times in the relationship, but they are not the same concept at all.

We also each have our own values that we describe as "love" when we talk about how they work in our relationships. Sometimes we find that without commitment to staying together when feelings might fail us, it is that commitment that expresses the true nature of love. When we give up our need for selfish satisfaction and it draws our spouse closer emotionally, we can say that our choice to show love when we don't feel like loving is what best describes what it means to love another person.

Since this is Marriage Advocates, we can limit our discussion to the application of the word "love" as it might apply to marriage or a romantic relationship. On the fringes we will no doubt bring in examples of friendship, family and other relationships we might each have.

Let me throw out a few related words and then y'all can make a case for your own version of LOVE and what that means.
A List: /// (Liszt, Chopin, Mozart)
(Just a little pun -or three - or 4. OK; maybe five by now...DOH!)
  • Limerence
  • Obsession
  • Addiction
  • Commitment
  • Compassion
  • Care
  • Empathy
  • Falling in love
  • Unconditional Love
  • Whatever else you've got


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: What Is Love? [Re: Mark1952] #331675
01/17/14 09:00 PM
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You beat me to this by about a day, dude. I wanted to search MA to make sure this hadn't been discussed before my fairly recent entrance.

I think there is actually another query to be solved after we quickly hammer out the "love" question, and that is:

What Is Marriage?

I have to go cogitate. Keep an eye out for smoke......

Re: What Is Love? [Re: NeverGuessed] #331679
01/17/14 09:08 PM
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Mark1952 Offline OP
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NG,

I think the question of what marriage might be is one that might lead to even more questions and probably even more heated debate.

Maybe a more reasoned discussion might entail...

What makes a marriage work?


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: What Is Love? [Re: NeverGuessed] #331680
01/17/14 09:10 PM
01/17/14 09:10 PM
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Back in the 80's Don Francisco sang:

Your emotions have vanished that once held the thrill
You wonder if love could be alive in you still
But that ring on your finger, was put there to say
Youll never forget the words you promised that day

Jesus didnt die for you because it was fun
He hung there for love because it had to be done
And despite of the anguish, his word was fulfilled
Love is not a feeling; its an act of your will


I've thought of those lyrics often.

Is Love a feeling or an act of your will?

I suppose it depends on who's "acting"....


We're overcoming decades of marital dysfunction including abuse, passive aggression, gas-lighting & infidelity (both of us).

Our Weird and Ongoing Story
Re: What Is Love? [Re: Ace] #331683
01/17/14 09:15 PM
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When someone acts, according to his or her will, to show care for you, how does that make you feel? Is the act love? Is how it makes you feel love? Is the feeling required (or setting aside feelings) to show you they care love?

Chicken or egg?

Either/or or all/and?


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: What Is Love? [Re: Mark1952] #331684
01/17/14 09:19 PM
01/17/14 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted By: Mark1952
When someone acts, according to his or her will, to show care for you, how does that make you feel? Is the act love? Is how it makes you feel love? Is the feeling required (or setting aside feelings) to show you they care love?

Chicken or egg?

Either/or or all/and?


Rhetorical questions or are you looking for answer ideas?


We're overcoming decades of marital dysfunction including abuse, passive aggression, gas-lighting & infidelity (both of us).

Our Weird and Ongoing Story
Re: What Is Love? [Re: Ace] #331691
01/17/14 09:42 PM
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Mark1952 Offline OP
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Acey,

Share any answers you might be able to offer.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
Re: What Is Love? [Re: Mark1952] #331696
01/17/14 10:41 PM
01/17/14 10:41 PM
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My answers are probably tainted due to several extenuating factors:

* I never had a boyfriend and accepted my H's "vision" (not really a proposal) because I feared being left behind --- and, as my mother's generation put it becoming an old maid --- at the ripe old age of 19 eek

* We endured 30+ years of ILYBINILWY because of our nebulous beginnings.

* I fantasized about romantic love and got regular "love fixes" via romantic comic books as a teenager and romance novels and movies as an adult.

* Our relationship was so dysfunctional that I flirted openly with other guys, had many guy friends I did things with BUT I always told my H (and he didn't care).

* After getting into a fight at an All-Day Marriage Conference (in an arena with 7000 other couples), I gave up and decided to get my ducks in a row and wait for my H to cheat so I could justify dumping him and :::gulp::: starting over in my 50's.

Two years later, H cheated and I was happy and accepted his offer to give me everything --- except his truck --- in a quick divorce. At the last minute, however, we accepted DS-20-something's challenge to fight first for our family before giving up, if, for no other reason, but to say "we tried."

Not your average all-American love story...right? I only share it because it may skew my thoughts on "love."

Originally Posted By: Mark1952
When someone acts, according to his or her will, to show care for you, how does that make you feel?
On top of the world and it motivates me to do acts of care for that someone and others.


Originally Posted By: Mark1952
Is the act love?
If the action was done out of care, I might say yes. If the action was done for ulterior motives but was later determined to have been presented because of care, no.


Originally Posted By: Mark1952
Is how it makes you feel love?
Too subjective to define. Feelings are often misguided. If love is an act of one's will regardless of feelings, then no.


Originally Posted By: Mark1952
Is the feeling required (or setting aside feelings) to show you they care love?
Maybe, for the same reasons as on the previous "feelings" question.


Originally Posted By: Mark1952
Chicken or egg? Either/or or all/and?
Assuming you mean "what comes first, action or caring or love or feelings?" I'll have to retreat to a state of cogitation, (like NG) on that one.

Like I said, these are "answer ideas" so I'll be back after said cogitation. wink


We're overcoming decades of marital dysfunction including abuse, passive aggression, gas-lighting & infidelity (both of us).

Our Weird and Ongoing Story
Re: What Is Love? [Re: Ace] #332111
01/21/14 08:55 PM
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DISCLAIMER: I intentionally restricted myself, though it was not so limited in the thread title, to defining "love" as it should exist between a mated-pair of adults. Including parental, filial, patriotic, or universal versions of "love" reduces the result, in application to the specific requirements, to pablum - reportedly having some benefits, but not something really to be searched out.

That said, the NG working definition of "love" would be an amalgam of these quotations:

In a great romance, each person plays a part the other really likes. - Elizabeth Ashley

Love seeketh not itself to please, nor for itself hath any care, but for another gives its ease, and builds a Heaven in Hell's despair. - William Blake

So......

Love - the recognition and acceptance by "A", that the characteristics and qualities of "B" are so desirable, pleasure-inducing, and attractive, and so worthy of reward and protection, that "A" undertakes to foster and support those properties, with the aim of "A"'s continued exposure to them, and the fervent hope that "B" will reciprocate.

Not exactly and , right?

Re: What Is Love? [Re: Mark1952] #332127
01/21/14 10:03 PM
01/21/14 10:03 PM
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Rich57 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark1952
So, what is LOVE?

Is it a feeling?
Is it a choice?
Is it a commitment?
Is it an action (or series of actions)?
Is it care?
Is it compassion?
Is it empathy?

My answer is simply "Yes!"

My thought is that LOVE is a CHOICE.
As stated above, since you can choose to have action, commitment, care, compassion, empathy and that leads to a feeling.

So I would just simplify it to CHOICE.

I think the hard thing to do is to make that choice when there is no evidence that someone else has made that choice, and how does that look.

Re: What Is Love? [Re: Rich57] #332129
01/21/14 10:11 PM
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Miranda Offline
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Originally Posted By: Rich57


I think the hard thing to do is to make that choice when there is no evidence that someone else has made that choice, and how does that look.


Like a leap of faith. Like bravery. Like daring greatly. Flying without a net.


When we open to this moment and don't judge it or try to change it, even when we're suffering and wish it were otherwise, we tap into the spaciousness of mind that allows us to move forward skillfully, with discernment and joy. -- Sharon Salzberg
Re: What Is Love? [Re: Miranda] #332143
01/21/14 11:35 PM
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"Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know that one is me."
Re: What Is Love? [Re: Fiddler] #332146
01/21/14 11:52 PM
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Lol, Fid! I've been waiting for someone to do that. I didn't want to be the one, but every time I see the thread title my brain fills in the rest of the lyric anyway.


When we open to this moment and don't judge it or try to change it, even when we're suffering and wish it were otherwise, we tap into the spaciousness of mind that allows us to move forward skillfully, with discernment and joy. -- Sharon Salzberg
Re: What Is Love? [Re: Miranda] #332151
01/22/14 12:06 AM
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Well, I tried not to for several days, but as it turns out I can resist anything but temptation... wink


"Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know that one is me."
Re: What Is Love? [Re: Fiddler] #332175
01/22/14 04:47 AM
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This (though they really never do answer the question):


Re: What Is Love? [Re: 2long] #332182
01/22/14 05:15 AM
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I feel love is mistaken many times for obsession and habit.

I feel love that is mistaken in an affair by the betrayer is closer to obsession.

And at the same time love is mistaken in an affair by the betrayed as habit.

That is about all I have, hopefully that will be read and thought of as neutral.

I am one sided on my observation, but my habit could have been considered obsession when the affair news came to light to me.

I really have wondered when all this happened, I was so busy living my life trying to do what I thought I was supposed to be doing.

I never thought I was obsessive in my marriage or that my love was a habit, but I now second guess everything now and sometimes third and fourth guess.

Frankly I am not even sure what I was in now or how I was in it for so long, it is mind boggling.

P

Last edited by Princessdiehard; 01/22/14 05:19 AM.
Re: What Is Love? [Re: Tinker] #332213
01/22/14 01:55 PM
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That is an interesting thought. If love is a behavior or a choice, can it become nothing more than a habit......

hmmmm


When we open to this moment and don't judge it or try to change it, even when we're suffering and wish it were otherwise, we tap into the spaciousness of mind that allows us to move forward skillfully, with discernment and joy. -- Sharon Salzberg
Re: What Is Love? [Re: Miranda] #332251
01/22/14 04:39 PM
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That is an interesting thought. If love is a behavior or a choice, can it become nothing more than a habit......

And, often, when one or more of the principals assumes LOVE to
be an eternal, everlasting statuette, instead of a flower
requiring tending, feeding, and nurturing.....









...someone ends up here, typing,
"I never thought I'd need a site like MarriageAdvocates......."

Re: What Is Love? [Re: NeverGuessed] #332253
01/22/14 04:45 PM
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It seems to me that the work is too difficult, too counterintuitive to ever become rote for me. That may be due to my choice in partners....

But then I'm not one to ever presume anything on the part of my partner either. At least I don't think I am...


When we open to this moment and don't judge it or try to change it, even when we're suffering and wish it were otherwise, we tap into the spaciousness of mind that allows us to move forward skillfully, with discernment and joy. -- Sharon Salzberg
Re: What Is Love? [Re: Miranda] #332254
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It seems to me that the work is too difficult, too counterintuitive to ever become rote...

If it's too difficult, it might not ever have been the ideal target, kiddo.

Alternatively....

In the wreckage after discovery, banishment, and return, Bride was trying to put together why POSOM targeted her, while I was struggling to explain how I had "taken my eye off the ball". Eventually I tied both questions together with one answer: Bride is exceptionally easy to love and returns love easily. I took her for granted; POSOM wanted what he had never had.

Re: What Is Love? [Re: NeverGuessed] #332255
01/22/14 05:01 PM
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I think it's difficult for two reasons, NG. One I'm not inherently "good" at being with someone for a long time. I'm a love em and leave em kinda gal. And Two, my fella is a very high maintenance guy. This is not an ideal pairing by any stretch, I'd imagine, but it might be that the challenge is what has kept me engaged all this time. The very fact that he ain't easy to love has made me ever so determined to do so.

I'm a mule that way. I'm that girl who sets out to do the very thing you tell me can't be done. Or the thing that no one else seems to be able to pull off. And I make it look easy. And everyone just scratches their heads and says "how does she DO that?" I very well might have bitten off more than I can chew here, but I am damn well not spitting it out, so....I might just choke to death.


When we open to this moment and don't judge it or try to change it, even when we're suffering and wish it were otherwise, we tap into the spaciousness of mind that allows us to move forward skillfully, with discernment and joy. -- Sharon Salzberg
Re: What Is Love? [Re: Miranda] #332256
01/22/14 05:06 PM
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love should be a powder i can mix in with my health shake every morning...


may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone. -- e. e. cummings
Re: What Is Love? [Re: ohmy_marie] #332258
01/22/14 05:39 PM
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What happens 2 love when one or both partners die?

Depending on the definition, love can be a spiri2al principle that folks can choose 2 exercise during their lifetimes, but romantic love is ephemeral (of course) and dies with the partners.

-ol' 2long

Re: What Is Love? [Re: 2long] #332259
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I don't think romantic love, the feeling, necessarily dies when the object of the feeling dies. The surviving partner could go on pining for, missing, the other person.

(Ok, the first example that pops into m mind is "Wuthering Heights" blush but I think it could happen IRL too!)

Last edited by Jayne241; 01/22/14 05:45 PM.

42.
Re: What Is Love? [Re: Jayne241] #332261
01/22/14 05:57 PM
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Mark1952 Offline OP
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CBS 2 New York posted this on Sunday.

Best Books For Finding Love This Valentines Day

The list includes novels and self help books.


mark1952.ma@gmail.com

I Was Thinking...

The secret to having a good marriage is to understand that marriage must be total, it must be permanent, and it must be equal.-- Frank Pittman
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