The 2 Biggest Lies About Love in the 21st Century
I was seventeen years old when I found myself in the middle of a nearly impossible dilemma. There were two paths, and despite what Robert Frost once claimed, the road less traveled wasn’t really an option. I gave as much pondering and deliberation as my high school brain would allow, which unfortunately wasn’t much.
I had been dating a girl for a bit and it all seemed to be tunneling towards this question: when was I going to say the “L” word? When was I going to tell her that I loved her?
Turns out, the answer was faster than I should have. A year later, I went off to college, no longer in love with that girl and ready to step into my next loving relationship. Based on my track record, how do you think that went?
It wasn’t until years later when I married my wife that I started to understand what love meant. Even then, I had a shallow understanding. But I was starting to put the pieces together.
Love wasn’t what I saw in box-office romantic comedies. It wasn’t what got splayed across the magazines that cluttered the register racks at the local grocery store. I started to realize that I, like so many others, had been cavalierly toying with this word, using it liberally to define my affections for a wide variety of things from tacos, to weekends, to the New York Yankees.
I’m not the guy that says you shouldn’t kiss before you get to the altar. I’m not the guy that says you shouldn’t say “I love you” to someone you’re in a committed relationship with. But I do think that our understanding of love and our use of the term should be more closely examined from time to time.
So, how do you know if you’ve got the real thing? How do you identify what is true about love and what is a false pretense?
There’s no one simple, consistent definition for true love. True love is a beautiful and exquisite combination of things like sacrifice, selflessness, hope, loss, passion, and intentionality. It is fire and ice, shadow and light, dancing and silence. It’s offering the other person the first cup of coffee when you’ve never needed anything more. It’s so special because it is often so ordinary.