What is Love? Defining Love on February 15

THE LANGUAGE OF LOVEAnyone who has ever felt love for another can appreciate the irony of this question.  We know the subjective feeling…I love, I have this warm feeling, I want to touch, to be close, to be held, to hold, to caress, to be caressed.  I want to laugh with, to share with, to be with, this person I love.  Yet…can love be defined?  And if so, how?  Robert Firestone, Lisa Firestone and Joyce Catlett have tackled this question in a forthright manner in their book: Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships.

“In the authors’ view, behaviors that fit the description of a loving relationship are expressions of affection, both physical and emotional; a wish to offer pleasure and satisfaction to one’s mate; tenderness, compassion, and sensitivity to the needs of the other; a desire for shared activities and pursuits; an appropriate level of sharing of one’s possessions; an ongoing, honest exchange of personal feelings; and the process of offering concern, comfort, and outward assistance for the love object’s aspirations.

“Love includes feeling for the other that goes beyond a selfish or self-centered interest in the object.  As such, love nurtures and has a positive effect on each person’s self-esteem and sense of well-being.  Love is truth and never involves deception, because misleading another person fractures his or her sense of reality and is therefore a serious human rights violation that adversely affects mental health.”

To further illustrate, they offer a picture of what love is not: “Love is not selfish, possessive, or demanding, or a proprietary right over the other. Love is never submission or dominance, emotional coercion, or manipulation.  Love is not the desperate attempt to deny aloneness or the search for security that many couples manifest in their desire for a fused identity.”

To further explore this complex and desirable phenomenon, click here.

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