Like any young philosophy buff, I've been confecting definitions of "love" since I was twelve. I've run the gamut of cliché pedantry and have even landed myself in the unenviable position of feeling enlightened by those arrogant tidbits of sophistry that masquerade oversimplification as epiphany. “Love is a verb,” I read; “Love is an action.”
A couple years later, I label that idea twenty-five percent correct. Sure, love is an action; but it’s more than that. It’s a lifestyle. Love isn’t expressed by certain actions which are characteristic of love, but it can be expressed by characterizing every action by that love. And also: love is a noun. The fact of human action does not negate human existence; and likewise love cannot be fully articulated by action; if it could, then love could not be rekindled.
The concept of love as an entity is the root of my current beliefs about love. All humans are unique, and all loves are similarly unique. This philosophy explains the difficulties encountered when lovers attempt to define a relationship. As Christina says in Grey’s Anatomy (no comments, please): “You need a definition? You want to be that guy?”
I have all sorts of branching philosophies, but that’s not really why I’m writing. I actually wanted to take this opportunity to describe love in the only way that entities can be described: by exploring my relationship to it. “I love her” means:
She is my constant joy; in the best of times, she is my greatest happiness, and in the worst of times, my greatest sorrow. I am willing to defy the critics who say, “Diversify your portfolio!” and invest all that I have in her. I am willing to perceive her needs and search within me for the means to respond to them. I am willing to assert my needs despite discomfort to avoid bitterness.
I am determined that our relationship never become collateral damage, sacrificed to avoid pain. I am determined to withhold nothing from her, confident in the unity of our beliefs and the singularity of our purpose. I am determined that my every action be honoring to her. I am determined to be merciful and graceful toward her to the degree that I wish her to be merciful and graceful toward me.
I desire to experience life by her side, receiving each new day as a gift from God and benefiting from her strength and counsel. I desire to possess by assent that which is beyond my ability to tame, and in doing so willingly bind myself to her service. I desire to expend upon that which will yield return, for I know when I am with her not a moment is wasted.
Whether I am excited or ashamed; angry or despondent, hopeful or stricken, it is she I want to talk to. I am convinced of her value and of my own ability to respect and nurture it. I am certain she is for me, and that I am for her; and the fact of her existence is a constant reassurance in an uncertain world.