Love. 4 letters. 1 word. Depending on who you ask, it's a noun or a verb.
How is it that such a small word can dominate our entire lives?
From birth, we crave love. As kids we love our families, our toys, our teachers. Then we grow older & we watch Disney videos & learn about that fairytale love - two people fall for each other & live happily ever after. And we hunt & search for that, the fairytale happily ever after love. We listen to songs about it, read books about it, watch movies where other people do it...and hopefully one day we get to experience it ourselves.
Love comes in so many packages. The love we feel for our family is different from the love we feel for our friends. The love we feel for our favorite restaurant is different from the love we feel for something we hold dear, like sleep, LOL. And even when we find someone we believe is special, we make distinctions between being in love & loving them.
Being in love is that fleeting, butterflies in the stomach, can't stop thinking about them, ecstatic kind of feeling. It strikes like lightning & just as fast, it can disappear.
Loving someone requires much more. It's not a quick thing. Loving someone takes time to grow, and it requires the right foundation - compatibility, mutual respect, true acceptance, and sacrifice. Love is there through the hard times - the disagreements, the annoyances, the times where you just don't like each other.
Most people confuse being in love, or being in lust, or just really liking someone, as love. It's easy to see why - being in love is exciting & makes you feel good. Loving someone & being loved, they feel good in a different sort of way. It's an emotional security blanket, giving comfort & peace, but not excitement. Being in love is that rollercoaster ride, while loving someone is that ride down the lazy river.
In my post about unconventional thoughts on marriage, I talked about how marriages should be built on mutual benefit & compatibility. But how many people & start relationships based on those things? Not many. Normally it starts with physical attraction, then lust, then being in love & then hopefully, they have the mutual benefit & compatibility & it leads to love.
But what about friendships?
People make friends based on a commonality - go to the same school, work at the same place, live in the same building, have the same interests, etc. Most of us are friends with people that we not only have a commonality with, but a compatibility with. Think about it, most of our friendships are "easy" right? You just get each other? No drama? Exactly.
Mutual benefit? Absolutely. Maybe your friend & you help each other with things. Or complement each other. Or have a good working relationship that benefit you both. Whatever it is, there's a reason why you're friends, beyond the whole "we have something in common" thing.
So if our friendships are based on mutual benefit & compatibility....why don't more people date & marry their friends? They should! It makes so much sense. With friends, we are more open, more vulnerable, more honest, and the people we truly are. Nobody presents their "representative" to their friends. Our friends love us & accept us for who we are, and we reciprocate.
And isn't that what our romantic relationships should be about?
I don't know about marriage...but I do know that the greatest love I've ever known, I found with a friend.