Love is complicated. So complicated that the definition of this tiny one syllable word has twenty-eight different meanings.
Many meanings. One commonality–we all want it. And once we have it, we want to know how much of it we’re getting.
“How much do you love me?” Child to parent. Wife to husband. Boyfriend to girlfriend. Sister to brother. Friend to friend.
We may ask with different words or nuances, but in essence it’s always the same question.
We listen expectantly for the response. Even as we listen, we watch intently because actions really do speak louder than words. We can be told we’re loved five hundred times a day, yet words can be so empty, even the most meaningful.
We’re not sure it’s love until we see it. But what exactly are we looking for?
Fun? Attraction? Rapport? Affection? Fidelity? Forgiveness? Tolerance? Pleasure? Intimacy?
These are some of the things that draw us into various relationships and keep us there. They contribute to the leap from like to love, but they don’t prove love.
I suspect it boils down to sacrifice.
After S² (second son/fourth child) was born, my husband began bringing mocha lattes to me. It sounds like a small thing. It was huge. That man went to Caribou Coffee every day for over a year. For me. Sun, snow, rain or sleet–no matter what his morning schedule was. He never got one for himself.
The sacrifice becomes clearer as I look back. I appreciated it at the time, but I also began to expect it. The very few times he didn’t go I was disappointed, and I am ashamed to admit that I would actually ask him to go get one. Without complaint he would go.
All the flowers, the laughs, the time spent together, even the trials we’ve weathered showed me he cared. In the sacrifices, some great and others small, I saw love.