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The Meaning of Love

Written by Will & Odette Hooks
Published: February 15, 2010

The topic of love raises more questions than it ever comes close to answering.   When it comes to hot button issues love is definitely one of the top ten.  There is never a shortage of advice, opinion, or debate when dealing with matters of the heart.  To undertake the task of defining love, or attempting to give meaning to this quite natural and yet supernatural phenomenal is an obvious challenge.  As difficult as it may be, it is all the more exciting to discover what happens when two people bridge a connection of differences and find common ground to explore life together.   May we suggest, “Love happens”.

Will:    I’ll start this discussion by raising two questions of my own.  First, does love actually have a meaning so simple, that a single definition can be applied?  Second, is it possible that the meaning of love is left to the interpretation expressed by the uniqueness of each individual?  I would tend to agree with the latter of the two questions.   In my opinion attempting to define love with just one definition is equivalent to chasing the wind, good luck with that.  As it relates to our relationship, I define my love for you as a deliberate life long commitment I’ve made to you through marriage.  I also believe that the expression of my feelings for you through positive communication is paramount for love to thrive.  It must be said that love is displayed and not merely declared.   Love without action, is like faith without works, simply put; Dead.  Affection must be shown; saying it is one thing, but doing is altogether another.

Odette: I couldn’t agree with you more that being said, let me now address a vital if not critical point and that is Commitment.  I firmly believe that commitment is the first attribute to our love.  As with anything in life that a person desires to have or achieve, there must first be a strong commitment to the idea or cause, which in my opinion determines if he or she will reach their goal.  Just wanting something out of life, won’t see you through to a happy ending.   There have been many people to experience the heartache of heartbreak, myself being one of them, because a true commitment to the relationship never existed from the start.   I’m certain there were happy days along the way, but it’s the tough days that demonstrate the strength of the commitment made to each other.

Will:    That is so true, it goes without saying but commitment to our relationship is the anchor that holds us in place.  If commitment is the anchor, then expression of feelings is the sail.   The ability to express what I feel in my heart was not one that came naturally, nor is it in abundant supply especially from the male persuasion. Contrary to popular (male) opinion, a grunt and a grin here and there does not constitute an expression of ones feelings.  If something’s funny we laugh, if we suffer lost we cry, if we’re angry we show it, why not express love when we feel it?  I’m just saying.   So let me also say this; pride, ego and the all important male image which must be maintained at all cost, are a few of the evils that are hindrances to discovering real love.  

Odette:  Your inbox is going to be full of responses to that statement.  However I must concur wholeheartedly.   And yet, over the years I’ve watched you change from a locked box to an opened book so to speak.   I commend the effort and strength that you’ve put into becoming the husband that you are today.  Expression of feelings is key as well as commitment.  In a committed relationship we must express our feelings through communication.  There was a time when you thought saying hello and asking a general question was the communication I referred too.  Thank God for deliverance. [We are laughing] 

Will:    Speaking of deliverance, I’m so glad you don’t require a costly gift attached to the expression of my feelings for you when we communicate.  Not that I’m “cheap” or you’re not worth it.  If I hold a cheap feeling in my heart, in other words, my love toward you never developed; then an expensive gift is not going to strengthen what was never there from the start.  Right?

Odette: You are absolutely right!  As I’ve said before little things mean a lot.  This is   something I always tell you even today.  Ladies, don’t think he will remember the first time you tell him which things are important to you.  He does not intentional mean to forget and sometimes it’s good to remind him if you notice them diminishing.  Allow me to give an example of what I mean when I say, “little things mean a lot.” At year four of our marriage we were so broke, that receiving a valentine gift was not even a thought to me.  I remember we pulled up to a gas station to put about $3 or $4 dollars in the tank.  Will went in to pay for the gas, and as he was returning to the car he looked at me with such compassion and simplicity.   Just as we where about to pull off he pulled from his pocket a small clear box filled with valentine tarts, handed it to me with a slight smile on his face and said ever so softly, Happy Valentine’s Day.”  With the .69cents sticker still on the top, I smiled at him, said thank you very much and gave him the biggest hug and kiss.   You gave me the best valentine gift because it was from your heart.   That demonstration of your love for me is something I will always remember.  

Will:    Wow can you imagine how much money I could have saved over the years at .69 cents a pop per Valentine Day.  Just kidding, I only did what I could I’m just thankful that you understood. 

In conclusion, love is more than saying I love you.  It is more than flowers, candy, or a card on Valentine’s Day.     Love may not always make sense, it may not always feel good, and it may not always go your way.  We may not be able to pin “Love” down with one standard definition.  But at the end of the day, the heart defines the “meaning of love”.  My heart defines love as giving.   One things for sure, when you find it you’ll know it.