If you base your love-o-meter on the cues given in Hollywood films, you may consider yourself in love when someone fills a room with roses for you, sweeps you up in a limousine, or flies you to Paris for dinner. But in real life, knowing when new love ends and true love begins can be less obvious. In a recent article, Sheryl Paul, an acclaimed author and licensed therapist, explains that love is not a feeling—it’s a verb. The love myths espoused by novelists and filmmakers lead too many people to have unrealistic expectations of relationships. Although it is reasonable to want the rush of excitement that comes from that picnic under the moonlight or a candlelit bath that stirs butterflies in your stomach, it is a stretch to expect that love will always manifest in such ways.
“Love is action. Love is commitment,” Paul says, adding that if real love truly does lie beneath the novelty of a budding romance, it will appear through actions. When partners are tired and they still choose to spend time with each other, they are demonstrating love. When you can commit to being there for your partner, even at times that you don’t feel very loving, that is when love is active. “Love is making your partner a sandwich even when you don’t ‘feel’ like it,” Paul says. It’s not always the elaborate displays of love that assure us that we are with Mr. or Mrs. Right. It is more often the little things that clinch the deal.
Love is knowing. Just like you know you love your parents, siblings, and best friends. Even though you don’t always feel overwhelmed with emotion for them, you know deep down that you love them very much. In our instant-gratification society, our “me” society, too many people give up on good, strong relationships because they expect the Hollywood ending. Sadly, they often miss out on the big picture—the real, loving relationship that might exist if only they could see past the sham shimmering lights and red-carpet ridiculousness of our cultural perception of love.
Paul, Sheryl. Love is a verb. (n.d.): n. pag. The Huffington Post. 15 Oct. 2012. Web. 17 Oct. 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sheryl-paul/love-is-a-verb_1_b_1940731.html
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