How do You Know You are Really in Love with Someone? PLEASE Tell Us Your Thoughts on This!
Love is what makes the world go 'round. Love is a many splendored thing. Love is all you need. But what is it, really? And how do you know when you are "in" it?
The answer to this age-old question depends on who you ask, and, it seems, everyone has a different take on the issue ... as you will see below, we are hoping you will provide yours!
Most experts agree that love is a combination of attraction, affection, caring and intimacy.
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines love as:
Strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
Attraction based on sexual desire: affection and tenderness felt by lovers
Affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests
Warm attachment, enthusiasm or devotion
That sounds clear enough. Still, who among us has not wondered, or will not someday wonder, "Am I really in love?"
What the Experts Say
Sigmund Freud says there are "two currents" of love, affection/tenderness and sensuality. "It is very usual for directly sexual impulsions, short-lived in themselves, to be transformed into a lasting and purely affectionate tie; and the consolidation of a passionate love marriage rests to a large extent upon this process."
Enjoying time together: Another major key to being in love.
In Plato's Symposium, his first known work, he described love as a need to be completed by someone else. Ancient humans, he said, were composed of two parts (two males, two females or a male and a female) but they became so powerful that the gods cut them in two. All the pairs long to find their "other half," and only become completed when they do. He proposed that this was the origin of heterosexual and homosexual relationships.
Pastor Ethan Berry takes the meaning of love directly from the Christian Bible, which says that "there is no greater love than this, than a man lay down his life for his friend."
In other words, Berry explains, "The truth is being willing to die for that person and that person being willing to die for you. In a sense that is what marriage is all about: Two people dying as individuals and becoming a new person together. Working together, pulling together, pushing together and being in love together forever."
Like or Love?
What is the difference between liking someone and loving them? Both include favorable feelings toward another person, but they're entirely different entities. Says Zick Rubin, author of Liking and Loving, love has three different elements:
But what makes liking different from loving is that liking places an "emphasis on evaluating the other person," Rubin says. That is, we like someone only if we think they are smart, moral and worthy of our respect, but love may transcend this requirement.
What the Poets Say
In writing, love often takes on a life of its own -- as if love itself was alive and working like Cupid's arrow to unite two people. Sappho wrote in his famous poem "Without Warning:"
as a whirlwind
swoops on an oak
Love shakes my heart
John Clare had a similar feeling in "First Love,"
I ne'er was struck before that hour
With love so sudden and so sweet.
Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower
And stole my heart away complete.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the French aviator and writer, had a more concrete take. He said, "Love is not just looking at each other, it's looking in the same direction."
What Scientists Say
While you may not know it if you're in love, your body does. An Italian study found that hormone levels in men and women change when they're madly in love.
"Men who were in love had lower levels of the male sex hormone testosterone than men unlucky in love ... Love-struck women, in contrast, had higher levels of testosterone than their counterparts ... It's as if nature wants to eliminate what can be different in men and women, because it's important to survive at this stage," said Donatella Marazziti, a scientist at the University of Pisa in Italy.
What Does Love Mean to You?
Whatever love is, one thing is for sure. It can make us do crazy things. From becoming outrageously jealous to buying extravagant gifts or going out of your way to please someone, love can get the better of anyone. Just ask the Japanese man in Tokyo who recently climbed a frame on the exterior of the Tokyo Tower to display a banner with a red heart and a woman's name.
Love is clearly a highly personal, unique feeling for each of us -- and we express it in vastly different ways. Realizing that there is no concrete definition of love, here is your chance to pass your views and experience on this age-old question on to others who may be in the throes of the question themselves ...
Please Let Us Know What YOU Think!
Select answers will be published in the forthcoming issue of the SixWise.com e-newsletter!*
*NOTE: Your answer, or an excerpt thereof, may be published in a forthcoming issue of the SixWise.com e-newsletter and on the website. By submitting your answer you authorize this. Please include your name and your city state (or country) location to be included in the publication of select answers!
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