Backstory: I used to use an app/site called LyfApp wherein people have a safe space to essentially live journal their feelings on different “journeys” in their lives. Then helpful Lyfers can comment their support and/or suggestions underneath.
So one Lyfer had posted about their uneasiness with feeling like they no longer loved their partner. They were questioning what love even means and if they ever loved them in the first place. This is a question a lot of us ask at some point in our lives. And while I’m no expert, as a person who values love above all else, I think I have an answer that may help others interpret what they’re thinking and feeling.
The following was my response to this person:
It’s totally normal to fall into more of a companionate relationship after a while of being with someone. Most people struggle to keep things “hot” and romantic. The reality is your partner is most likely your best friend. They’re the person you share most of yourself with. They’re the one you want to turn to first with good or bad news. My partner and I have waves of romance where we fall in love all over again and are like teens in love for the first time all obsessed with each other. But it passes. We get comfortable. But the friendship is constant. So that’s what will feel more dominant most of the time. A distinction to remember that helps us is the difference between love the noun and love the verb. Love the noun is an emotion. It’s a burning desire to envelop yourself in the person you admire. It’s an unquenchable thirst for them. But it IS an emotion. And emotions come and go. So maybe you don’t feel it now. But you will again. Now love the verb, that’s the beautiful one. That’s the one where you choose your person every day no matter what. It’s where you’re there for them, spending time with them, and showing them you care. As a choice, love the verb is the one you have control over. And being their best friend is choosing to love them. It’s real and beautiful and transparent. There’s no sugar coating making it appear glam. It’s just you two being you two together, openly and honestly.
I still believe in this interpretation of love. And I still have ebbs and flows with my husband. And that’s okay.
I think the key to lasting love is flexibility like bamboo. You want to be strong and stand tall like a tree and know nothing will tear you down without great effort. And unlike a normal tree, you won’t always stubbornly stand in your ways or, worse, snap under pressure. You bend. You flex. You sway with the wind and stand at ease in peace times.
The boy I got into a relationship with 7 years ago was not the man I married. And the man I married is not the man I call my husband today. He is the same person, but he’s grown. And I’ve grown with him. And as long as we continue to bend and sway with the currents time brings, we will continue to grow together.
What does love mean to you?