Love requires: Patience, kindness, trust, and hopefulness
A loving person: isn't jealous or conceited or rude or easily offended, doesn't try to take advantage of others or hold grudges, feels bad when wrong is being done, feels good when the truth is told, is willing to overlook shortcomings, and can endure difficult circumstances.
I don't know about you - but that doesn't sound too easy to me.
It sounds much more difficult than what is shown of "love" on TV and in the movies usually. That tends to be more a parade of beautiful people in beautiful places exchanging witty banter and falling in and out of relationships so casually it's hard to tell the players without a program. If you're used to thinking of love in these romantic and (dare I say it) shallow terms, my whole Love Quiz thing must seem like a bunch of b*llsh*t.
But think of it this way: It's one thing to enjoy watching a Woody Allen movie (if you don't like Woody, insert your preferred director here) - but would you want to live a Woody Allen movie?
Have any of your past relationships caused you to think or say something like:
- Oh, he drives me crazy half the time - but when he looks at me with those big, blue eyes, I just melt. Or,
- She's only like that when she has too much to drink; the rest of the time, I have more fun with her than I've ever had in my life. Or,
- Whenever he holds me, I'm completely filled with desire. The sex is incredible. I just wish my parents could forget about the time he hit me. Everybody loses their temper sometimes - and it was really my fault. Or,
- I've never been with a girl so beautiful before - it's like a dream. I think we were meant to find each other. She really needed a loan to keep her car from getting repossessed - and I've been so lonely. I don't care what my friends say - we need each other.
So if you began reading this thinking that the 14 "elements of love" I outlined earlier are hopelessly complex, consider this:
- How may hugs it would take to compensate for having your arm broken by an abusive partner?
- How many kisses would it take before you can forget that your partner has a "swelled head" and never seems to forget the smallest mistake that you make?
- How much "make-up" sex is required for you to overlook that your partner hides the truth from you and takes advantage of you, financially and emotionally?
Sure - these may be some pretty dramatic examples of how our romantic views of love can interfere with a serious evaluation of how loving our partner really is. But are these scenarios that uncommon?
I guess what I'm saying is:
I'd rather be kind than be a great kisser.**
I'd rather be hopeful than a hunk.
For as the Bard said,
"Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come."***
I'll set my sights on the things that will last longer. True love may not be easy - but it beats the alternative.
* Or, for you multi-lingual types: Creo que estoy hablando de amor. Thanks to Mssrs. Page and Plant for the title (from Trampled Under Foot) and Jim Charlie for the Spanish.
** Of course, I'm fortunate enough to be both.
*** From Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 - my other favorite meditation on love (after 1 Corinthians 13)