We use the term so loosely, but do we really understand it?
‘What really is love, grandma?’ I asked my 88-year-old grandmother curiously.
She’d tried to warn me several times that our generation was going about this love thing wrong.
I was finally ready to listen to her considering how much bad luck I seemed to be having with finding the right partner and holding a relationship for longer than a few months.
She smiled at me wisely, sat up a little straighter and started in her perfect English.
‘You know this perfect picture of… boy meets girl, asks girl out, they both fall in love, have a fabulous life together and eventually get married and live happily ever after with three adorable kids to make their lives even more perfect? This idealistic notion of love that movies and cartoons teach you younglings?’ she asked me.
She waited about three seconds and continued as I didn’t give her a reply immediately.
‘ Let me tell you that they’re all lies.
‘Yes, love sure does have its perfect moments, where it’s all bliss and good times, where two people think they cannot live without each other.
‘Love makes us feel giddy with excitement and attraction and everything else in between. Love makes us happy. Falling in love is one of the best experiences anyone could have. Ever.’
I smiled at this point. She rolled her eyes and continued
‘What you people don’t realize is that love requires a lot of work.
‘Oh yes, you meet someone and start feeling things for them, but what happens on days when those feelings are not there? Do you up and leave or do you stay and work things out?
‘What of days where your partner is unable to provide for you any more, young lady? What of days where he annoys you so much you feel like ripping out his heart? Do you just stay for the good times or are you there for the good and bad?
‘Love is sacrifice and patience, my darling. Love is giving, mutual respect, selflessness. Love requires a lot of forgiveness. Trust me, you will have to do a lot of that. Forgive. And keep forgiving.
‘Love is not just a feeling. It is a decision, a decision to trust another individual with your self, and be committed to being by their side through it all.’
She stopped and smiled.
I could see she was getting tired.
‘Thank you, grandma.’ I gave her a big hug and promised to remember her words always.
I sure was glad I had her.
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