Love is not an emotion. Emotions are temporary and ever-changing, twirling and fluttering like feathers drifting through the wind. Love, real and true, is neither brief nor momentary. It is incessant, perpetual, and persistent. Love is also not an action, choice, or decision. Yes, it can be displayed through many actions, but the actions themselves do not constitute love. The attempt to fit love into a category is precarious. Love is the category. It is not a subsection; rather, it is the whole. Love is simply love.
It is emotional. There will be rainbows, butterflies, ice cream topped with strawberries, and perfection dripping from the eyes. Candles and surprises will create twenty-four-seven smiles. Heartbeats will skip after a well-timed goodnight. Anticipation will bloom for that “good morning” after the sun’s rays illuminate the skies, and yearning builds after every goodbye. There will be thunderstorms, walls built with stone and silence, and anger infiltrating the eyes. Arguments and disagreements will produce frowns turning days into ice. Voices will raise after a senseless remark goes awry. And tension will elevate after misunderstandings ruin that perfectly peaceful night. Tears will flow, lips will pout, cheeks will sulk, yet love will remain.
It is deep. It is the discovery of fears and insecurities. The exploration of vulnerabilities and sensitivities. The transformation of “I” and “me” into “us” and “we.” The intertwining of needs. Difficult conversations anchored by trust, loyalty, and honesty. It is the death of the single life and the formulation of a dyad, a couple, a partnership.
It is sacrifice. Me time donates to our time. Privacy curtails allowing transparency to exhale. Self-absorption retreats so benevolence for one another can expand. Desires, wants, and needs are no longer maintained by an individual; they are also nourished by another.
It is trust. Do what you say you will. Be where you say you are. Arrive when you say you will. Be with who you say you are. Support is given and received. Loyalty is unwavering. Faithfulness is not up for interpretation, speculation, or in need of interrogation. And should there be a fall, there will never be a break—commitment and resiliency cement the foundation.
It is boundaries. Flirtatious friends’ advances are squashed before they commence. Exes are exes. They are the yesterday, the last week, the once upon time. They are not next week’s sneaky hookup or plan B through Z. The friend who you fancy or who indicated interest becomes an acquaintance, possibly nothingness. Former hookups, the reliable dose of fornicating pills from bachelorhood, are reduced to mere memories of years past.
It is not technological. Dating apps reside in the world of deletion, never to be retrieved when the other is out of sight, after that messy little fight, or when curiosity perks up at night. Contact “Chris,” belongs to “Chris,” not “Jason.” Screens are not tilted, hidden, or obstructed. Messages are not deleted and calls are not erased.
It is sex. It will be slow, fast, boring, exciting, quick, long, passionate, messy, rough, obscene, public, kinky, nasty, gentle, seductive, and everything else in between. Toes will curl. Moans and groans will be heard. Fluids will escape from every pore.
It is delightful. It is electricity in the eyes, cuddling late at night, the off-the-cuff remarks fueling laughter for a lifetime. It is holding hands under stars. It is PDA in someone else’s front yard. It is blowing kisses. It is that inside joke no one else understands. It is the thing that only we know. It is viewing each other in ways the world is unable.
It is mature. Forgiveness is mastered. Tolerance is practiced. Listening and understanding triumphs hearing. Mistakes are learned from. Truth is pervasive.
It is youthful. It is not about growing old. It is about staying young. It is about chasing curiosities. Making reality out of the images snuggled in dreams. It is adventures to far and near places. It is feeling the flow of adrenaline after experiencing or achieving the new, the not seen, the not possible. It is about growth. Not in age, but in experience, in wisdom, in the comfort of skins, in truth, and with and for each other.
It is raw. It is being naked while clothed. It is patience, time, and reciprocity. It is worthwhile pain. It is balance. It is meticulous, calculating, and intentional.
It is not an emotion. It is neither an action, choice, nor decision. It does not rest in a category to be superseded by some overarching concept. No, love is the granddaddy of them all. Love is the headlining event. Love is the featured attraction. Love is the main course. Love is simply love.