What is love? Well, that’s been the question for the ages. It’s a feeling. It’s a choice. It’s fate. What do you believe about love, and how has it changed over the years? Though love may feel different and mean something different to everyone, we all want it.
Marriage and relationship psychologists have be studying the concept of love and marriage for a long time. They have found some basic love and marriage facts over the years that, while are still worth studying psychologically, at least we can mostly all agree on:
There is “true love” and there is “puppy love.” Most people know puppy love as infatuation, or passion. The tell tale sign is it usually comes hard and fast. There is a major attraction there that envelops the mind and body. Many times, puppy love doesn’t last. We’ve all had our own infatuations; it mimics true love, but isn’t quite the same. It is possible for it to develop into true love.
Love is a feeling AND a choice
It’s hard to explain, but love is an emotion that you feel in the depths of your soul. When you first lay eyes on your new baby, or you look at your spouse on your wedding day—you just feel joy and like you would do anything for that person. But beyond that emotion, love is also a choice. We can choose to act on those feelings or not. Typically acting on those feelings begat further loving feelings, and so on. Sometimes others are hard to love, but we can still choose to be loving towards them. That is also love, but as a choice; though in that capacity it can develop into the emotion of love.
Along with that, many couples fall in and out of love. Why this is has to do with how people change over time, but also how comfortable we get with each other. That is why it is important to act loving and to nurture the relationship to keep the love alive. Love, though, does change over time.
Love and marriage aren’t mutually exclusive. You can have love without marriage, and you can have marriage without love. Marriage is typically an expression of two people cementing their love for each other into a lifetime commitment.
We all need love. Something about being human requires us to feel connected to one another, to be accepted, to be cherished. That is also being loved. We long for others to love us, and to love others. It gives us a higher purpose and motivation to be better and to live a good life. When we are loved as children, our brains develop in a healthy way, gaining connections that serve use throughout our lives. But also that feeling of safety and happiness is something we crave.