Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Defining Love: Transient or Permanent?


What Is Love?

‘Writer seeks ‘wife’ for a year on a tropical island.’

The other day I asked for you, the reader, to define love in one word. I got some thoughtful answers which I’ll list below. But before I do that, I want you to ask yourself what love means to you, firstly as an individual and secondly in a partnership.

Years ago, when my marriage was still young, I read an autobiography by Lucy Irvine called Castaway (NOT the Tom Hanks movie). This was an intentional project to live on Tuin Island, an uninhabited island off the northernmost coast of Australia, for a year. It began with a male writer advertising for a female to live with him and test their mettle of survival on Tuin Island.  

The catch, by Australian Officials standards, was that they had to be married in order to stay on the island. This did not please Lucy as G (as she calls him) expected more than just survival tactics from her. This caused deep introspection on both their parts, making for a delightful account of survival, travel and personal growth. Slowly, Lucy realised that she could change G’s entire demeanour by giving him the one thing he wanted. In turn, he became most loving and warm towards her as opposed to his nasty words in the beginning. Lucy openly admits to not loving him and in an unfortunate twist of emotion, G had fallen in love with her from the beginning. Or was it simply suggestive of outcomes hoped for?

Love is so much more than physical touch. It is a deeply complex emotion and one that takes on many different forms in my opinion

Let’s have a discussion about the concept of love as an emotion – potentially as fleeting as the emotions of anger or happiness. Do you agree that love presents as an emotion? Is it possible for love to be replaced by other emotions just as anger and happiness are? Just as anger simmers into forgiveness or happiness settles into contentment, so too, could love morph into compassion. 

I’m not saying this is a bad outcome, I believe it is very beneficial to a relationship, but what I’m trying to figure out is, can your love for someone change shape? Your ideas would help me identify feelings we have for our partners that expand our relationship into growth, rather than diminish it into stagnation.

Back to the notion of defining love in one word, here are some of the answers I received from readers:

* Understanding

* Happiness

* Compromise

* Selfless

* Self-love

* Accepting

* Sharing

Naturally there are as many interpretations as there are people on this earth and I would love to hear your opinion on defining the essence of love.

I look forward to reading your comments about this mysterious notion of love below, or join the discussion on the socials:

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