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What's Love Got To Do With It?

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02/01/2007 - February means Valentine's Day and Valentine's Day means love – but is Tina Turner right about the fact that love is just a "second-hand emotion"? What is a second-hand emotion anyway? I can only guess! I am not sure love is an emotion at all. It is my opinion that love is something else and that "something else" produces emotion, at least sometimes.

If love is not an emotion, what is it? I believe Hollywood has really missed the boat – the actors' highly publicized real life "love stories" are so temporary and meaningless for the most part. Relationships that they portray on T.V. and in the movies are usually shallow, abusive, idealized and unrealistic or totally sexualized. If we are looking to define love, we probably won't get much help from the mainstream media.

I thought maybe a definition from Wikipedia might help: "Love is a basic dimension of human experience that is variously conveyed as a sense of tender affection, an intense attraction, the foundation of intimacy and good interpersonal chemistry, willing self-sacrifice on behalf of another, and as an ineffable sense of affinity or connection to nature, other living beings, or even that which is unseen. It manifests itself in feelings, emotion, behavior, thoughts, perception and attitude. It influences, underlies and defines major patterns in interpersonal relationships and self-identification." Wow! That's a mouthful. From personal observation, many people have been pretty selective regarding the concepts in this definition. For example, lots of individuals are good with the tender affection, intense attraction, interpersonal chemistry, feelings and emotion; but not so much with willing self-sacrifice on behalf of another. I think it would be appropriate at this point to mention that a strong healthy love relationship involves a decision and a commitment. It means that sometimes you decide to love someone that you don't really like at a particular point in time, knowing that we all have strengths and shortcomings. We all need to be given some grace and forgiveness from time to time. Love sticks with someone even if they have issues and make mistakes.

Finally, there is a passage from the Bible that is often quoted in wedding ceremonies. It is found in 1 Corinthians 13: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

If you really want to show your Valentine you love him or her, consider this description as a model. Caution: it will require selflessness, sacrifice, and more concern for another's well-being than for your own. Happy Valentine's Day!

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