What Is Love?

Cross-Stitched Wedding


What is Love?

Does anybody know what love is? My guess is no-one can define it, or put it into a single sentence, least of all me. Neither am I an expert on marriage, but, having been married for fifty-three years, and witnessing my parents’ long marriage; I do feel I might know a bit about it. Enough anyway, to express some views on love, and what makes a relationship work.

My parent’s marriage lasted nearly 76 years, and they never stopped loving each other despite the trials thrown at them. My mum was 18 and pregnant when she married my dad, who was 22. My mum, an only child, had already lost her father when she was 15; he’d had a stroke. Her mother was also ill, from the effects of breathing in cotton fibres at the mill where she worked. She died aged 45 when my mum was just 20. Just a few months after she’d lost her last close relative, her mother,  World War Two brought my parents fear, separation, and mental and physical breakdown.

My dad, like most of the other men, suffered mentally from the shock and horrors of war. On one occasion, he saw his friends’ failure to fire off a Howitzer. While the men were checking what the problem was, the gun went off killing them. My dad then took part in clearing up the mess that included the body parts of his friends. Another time, he experienced a bullet knocking off his helmet and stunning him. When he first saw his helmet on the floor, he thought he’d forgotten to put it on until he saw the damage the bullet had done to it. Yet somehow, post war, after dad had undergone convalescence and electric shock treatment, his health improved.

Mum said, “At that time, he was just like a baby; unable to think for himself or do anything.” So the situation must have been bad for them, yet they went on to lead a full and happy life.

My own marriage has suffered its ups and downs too. Pregnant with our first child, I was 19 and my husband 18 when we married. My husband took the only job that gave him full adult pay at 18; he became a bus conductor. 15 months later we had two sons and were living with my parents. In the first six years together we moved house 5 times. Not an easy start as you can see but we did finally settle down. We’d been in our present home 13 years when my husband, 43, suffered a heart attack. He gave up work on the doctor’s advice and hasn’t worked since. That was 25 years ago. I’d been doing a degree course at my local University, and gave it up so I could look after him. He couldn’t even walk up the garden path at that time. Just as my husband’s mobility was improving a little, my elderly parents’ health deteriorated, and they needed looking after too.

Luckily, my husband has managed to cope with his illness even though he now needs a four-way by-pass. The consultants won’t operate as he also has a completely blocked carotid artery. They fear he’ll have a stroke if they go ahead. As you can see, life has not always been easy for us either, yet we’ve always managed to stay positive and happy. So here are my thoughts on LOVE.

How Do You Know If He Or She Is The One?

  1. You should feel excited, happy and a little giddy when you think of them. You should look forward to seeing them again. The more you see them, the more you should want to.
  2. In the early stages, if something about their personality or behaviour bothers you, don’t ignore it thinking it will get better. I promise you, it will annoy you more as time goes on. Don’t think you can change them, it’s unfair. This person is not the one for you, but for someone else they are ideal just the way they are. Set them free.
  3. Don’t say you like something just because they do; be honest about your preferences. In twenty-years-time you wouldn’t want them still thinking you love something when you’ve always hated it. See if they remember your preferences and if they show consideration for them. You must also ask about their preferences and make allowances for them. It doesn’t matter if you have different tastes or hobbies, just so long as you have a couple of things you like to do together, apart from the obvious.
  4. It helps if you share similar views about life, and your expectations. Politics and religion are both important issues. It won’t be a smooth relationship if one partner is pulling one way and the other is pulling in the opposite direction. It could be an even worse situation if your partner’s family are turning them against you, because of your different beliefs. Make sure you talk about things important to you, especially about finances, and how you’ll cope after marriage. What will happen after children come along? Do you even want children?
  5. If you are serious about each other, don’t wait until marriage before you have sexual relations; you need to know if you suit each other this way too. Be sure to wear protection. If one partner has a higher sex drive than the other, this could ultimately cause tensions in the marriage. If your partner cannot satisfy you even though you’ve shown them what helps you climax, think twice about a permanent relationship with them. Satisfying sexual relations are essential in a happy marriage. You’ll both want to feel physically close, fulfilled and loved. A physical disability may prevent the full act, and sometimes, this can be overcome. There are many aids to making love. The important thing is that you’re both willing to please the other.

How Do You Make This Relationship Last

On your own, you can’t. No matter how much you want to grow old with your partner, I’m sad to tell you, nothing you do will guarantee that outcome. However, if you’ve chosen wisely: love most things about them, happy that they are considerate to you and your needs as you are to theirs, and most of all, know and share their goals, then you stand a good chance of staying the course.

I have to warn you though, that there will be temptations for both of you along the way. This is where you must put your partner’s needs before your own. The lure of the temptation will fade and you’ll be glad you didn’t succumb. However, If you or your partner give in to that temptation, then the wronged partner has to consider if they love enough to forgive. Not only forgive, but it’s important that they also do their utmost to forget. The patched marriage won’t last long if the betrayed partner, raises that past discretion during every disagreement. Many marriages have survived that test and become even stronger.

There is often something wrong with the relationship when a partner cheats. Maybe, one of them is feeling neglected, undervalued, or struggling alone. What you mustn’t do, is make this issue into an attack on your partner. Make it clear these feelings are yours. “I feel neglected” gets a better response than “You make me feel neglected.” The former statement doesn’t put the blame wholly on your partner, while the latter does.

Good luck! I hope you have a fantastic life together.

Disclaimer: I repeat, I’m no expert on marriage so please don’t quote me, or involve me in your marriage disputes.

About caroleparkes

My husband calls me a butterfly because I flit from one hobby to another. Apart from being a wife for 52 years, a mother of three sons, and a grandmother, I'm also an author, genealogist, amateur artist, a lover of most needlecrafts, and occasional poet. Of the above, my most enduring interest has been writing and I hope to be doing it well into old age.
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33 Responses to What Is Love?

  1. Pingback: INGREDIENTS FOR LASTING LOVE | Author -Carole Parkes

  2. Love IS the highest of all sources and vibration, it is not with condition and has no question mark…when a question mark is places condition and assumptions and speculation, temptations etc can cloud LOVE..thats where we as humans get involved…LOVE never dies never leaves, never cheats, never hurts, so if were outside love than theres always going to be question..ive never been married as long as you but it seems love carried you through.. Situation alterted time never love. Beautiful..


    • caroleparkes says:

      Thank you, Kerry! Yes, you cannot spend so many years with one partner without temptations arising. That’s where the one who is tempted has to put their spouses feelings above their own. Yet even when the temptation leads one partner away, it needn’t be the end of the relationship. A marriage that survives infidelity can become much stronger, providing the partner wronged is willing to forgive. That is love!


  3. Reblogged this on One Step at a Time and commented:
    Some great advice on finding the one and relationships.


  4. auntyuta says:

    Thank you so much for sharing, Carole. I am so glad I found this post. I liked it very much and reblogged it. Love, Uta


  5. auntyuta says:

    Reblogged this on auntyuta and commented:
    I liked this post very much. You may find it interesting to have a read of it. Carole has a lot to say about her life experiences. Very well written indeed.


  6. Jane Thorne says:

    I love your advice Carole and it is very sound. Love for me flows in balance. Sometimes selfless, at other times asking for what we need, aware, empathetic, yet ultimately without price. Shared life values is a good foundation. Taking time to evolve naturally…so many elements to it, yet when it feels natural and balanced, it simply ‘is’. ❤ x


    • caroleparkes says:

      I hope it lasts many years for you too. Our 50th wedding anniversary only a few months off and all the more valued because My husband had a heart attack 25 years ago and wasn’t expected to live very long. He was only 43 and was told he couldn’t work again. He still needs a four-way bypass but he has other problems making the operation too dangerous to perform. We are thankful for every day we get to spend together.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Barbara says:

    Love knows when to give, when to withhold, when to endure and when to let go. So many facets to love.


  8. SalvaVenia says:

    Some good advice.


  9. ❤ ❤ ❤ May love bloom well and long.


  10. Just wanted to let you know that your header photo to your blog is not downloading correctly. Thought you might want to check it out.


    • Thank you for that. I thought I’d already sorted it but obviously not. Done it now I think. 🙂


    • The best definition of what love IS is found in 1 Corinthians 13. Love is patient, kind, does NOT seek after its own interest but but for the best interest of others. ….. Romantic love comes and goes, especially if it’s based completely on superficial factors (looks). Love that lasts for the long haul endures through the hard times. The fair-weather ‘love’ is up and gone as soon as the romance gives way to day to day living and the bills have to be paid.


      • I’ve seen that selfless kind of love too. I think it has a time limit. Their actions are those of a martyr and can become tiresome to their partner. He asks her what she would prefer, and she always answers, “whatever you want to do love”. Sweet at first, yes, but would he ever get to know her? How can he love her if he doesn’t really know her. Eventually, he would stop consulting her, and make decisions on his own. Even worse, both love selflessly.
        He put away the last of the breakfast dishes and said, “Well, what do you want to do honey?
        “I don’t know. What do you want to do?”
        Hanging the tea towel up, he turned to face her. “I’ll do whatever you want.”
        Her eyes met his lovingly. “And I’ll go along with what you decide.”
        Their gaze held for a moment, then he gently sighed. “I don’t know. Oh, you decide.”
        “No, you say.”
        “Just say what you want.” He was beginning to sound exasperated.
        She hesitated. “But I want you to make the decision.” Involuntary, her pitch had changed. Raised a little.
        “I can’t decide. I don’t know where. Shall we stay in then?”
        Her face fell. “I don’t know. Is that what you want?”
        “Is that what you want?”
        An extreme example perhaps, but you get the picture. We can’t always be selfless.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re right. But I think that verse is talking about doing for the one you love. A surprise night out after a long week. Seeing that your loved one needs something and doing something nice without asking or even being asked.

          I dislike the milksop type, too. I know people like that and it drives me nuts. For me, real LOVE is just being a FRIEND when it’s needed.


          • I agree. How lovely that unexpected surprise is. Friendship is a great starting point, and if your partner stays your friend for life, it’s wonderful, but there has to be more than friendship in a lasting relationship.

            By the way, that scenario I gave you, was based on my hubby and me in the early years of our relationship, ha ha. Both trying to please each other satisfied neither of us. we soon learned to be more forthcoming with our preferences, and that was why i advised it in my post.

            Liked by 1 person

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