Merriam-Webster describes love a as “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person”. But is that all love is, just a feeling of strong affection for someone?
It sure seems like it’s more than that when another person is invading your every thought or your world is falling apart after the person you love leaves you. What about devotion? Shouldn’t that be part of the definition of love? And what happens when that love and devotion aren’t enough?
In an ideal world, love conquers all. But we don’t live in an ideal world, we live in a world that is brutal and unforgiving and banal where love on its own doesn’t stand a chance. In fact, if only love was needed to sustain a long-term relationship, couples would never have arguments about finances and cheating wouldn’t be an issue all would be forgiven since love would be the ultimate answer.
We know from painful, firsthand experiences that relationships require a million other things and most of them have nothing to do with love. Squeeze in the fact that the future is unpredictable, and none of us are mind-readers and this whole relationship love thing begins to look like a crazy endeavor.
Couples need understanding, open communication, money, compromise, trust, patience, time, energy, respect, and a host of other things. When you’re low in one area, you make up for it in another, and hopefully the relationship grows as a result. If not, you’ll waste an enormous amount of time spinning your wheels in the wrong direction with the wrong person.
You need compatibility; if you’re not right for each other, you’re just not right. It won’t change the fact that you really want kids and he doesn’t, it won’t change the fact that he’s an avid smoker and you’re allergic to cigarettes, and it won’t change the outcome. Being really devoted and loving them isn’t enough to change it, either.
Life does get in the way. You grew up and your significant other didn’t (or vice versa). Personal growth happens over time, and you either grow up together or you grow apart. Your interests, beliefs, and needs change over time and if they change in opposite directions, it’s just not going to work.
In essence, you should not only love the person you’re with, but also be willing to meet them halfway on sacrifices and compromises, and all of those other things that are needed for optimal relationship survival.