What’s Love Got To Do With It?

what's love got to do with it
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What’s love got to do with it? Everything. Without it, a marriage will wilt like a plant without water. Unfortunately, people think of extreme reasons for divorce like abuse, cheating or stealing. They forget to look at the obvious. It always comes down to love or the absence of it.

LOVE. It’s a simple four letter word but it’s often misunderstood.

What is love to you and what is it to your spouse?

That answer is often different and that’s why it isn’t always enough to say, I must be in love OR you must love me because _______ (fill in the blank).For example, maybe your spouse’s idea of love is buying you material things. Maybe his idea of love is trying to improve you or having you by his side 24/7. You can see where I’m going here…

We all have very different ideas of what love is and some ideas are unhealthy.

So, yes love has everything to do with it.

Let’s take a look at the opposite of love, first before we examine this all encompassing word with so many meanings. Most people think the opposite of love is hate. It isn’t that. Not at all.

The opposite of love is indifference or apathy.

Can you be in a relationship or marriage where there is apathy? No, because no matter how much you try to please, make things ‘right’, correct wrongs, be perfect—it won’t be enough if the other person is indifferent.

Love is everything. Without it, a marriage won’t last. With it, all the little things are right—without even trying.

Why am I writing about this? Because like gratitude, love is never out of style. It’s an important ingredient to any relationship yet hardly an acknowledged excuse for divorce when it’s absent. Love gets ignored and relegated as unimportant in a marriage. How many times have you heard someone say “They just gave up.” or “Marriage is hard work.” Really? In my experience when you’re with the right person, it is NOT ‘hard work’.

Truth is, if your marriage is a loveless contract even if it didn’t necessarily start out that way, it’s bound to end. If we are married to someone who has a totally different idea of love or who is indifferent to ours, then why should we be surprised to find there isn’t enough love to make it last? In spite of this insidious cause of divorce we rarely are asked if we fell out of love. Instead, we are asked whether he cheated.

Never mind that some say love is for dreamers and poets. No, love is for everyone and to live without it is like a flower without sunlight.

“I can say with great certainty and absolute honesty that I did not know what love was until I knew what love was not.”-anonymous

A healthy love should include but is not limited to;

-non judgment

-generosity

-consideration

-unselfish

-kind words

-a heart

-small gestures

-no jealousy

-small sacrifice

-patience

Of course, we are not perfect and love is not perfect either. It’s a messy thing that can hurt and wound. We aren’t always above jealousy, judgment and selfishness because we’re human but if we’re never above it? Then love is missing.

No one says it better than Ronnie Cammareri in one of my favorite movies, Moonstruck

“…I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn’t know this either, but love don’t make things nice – it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren’t here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us!” ย -Moonstruck

So, how about this? Give yourself permission to dream of love, to love yourself because this applies to the relationship you have with yourself, too. That’s where it begins, self acceptance. Caring for yourself and not being indifferent or apathetic to your own wants, needs, desires…don’t think for a second that you have to endure a loveless relationship because he (she) doesn’t cheat, abuse or steal from you. Neglect is just as damaging as those obvious, socially acceptable reasons for divorce.

After you figure that out, the rest will come. Build it (your self love) and they will come.

What do you think? Can you define love or is it too broad a concept? What did I miss on my list?

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43 Replies to “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”

  1. Hi Lisa,

    What a perfect definition of love! There is no doubt that we all define love in our own way and in many countries love is sacrificing your own wishes and desires, love is looking after the people around you, the family you marry into, not just the person you marry…you won’t believe that love in the real sense is the last on the list!!

    You are lucky to have understood that the opposite of love is not hatred and that absence of love too can be a reason for divorce. There are thousands of women around the globe who face apathy and indifference from their husbands and learn to live with it. I have seen them and they never think about divorce, their culture and conditioning doesn’t let them.

    I absolutely agree with you dear friend. Neglect and indifference are as detrimental for a healthy and lasting relationship as infidelity. Thanks for the wake up call! Many thanks for inspiring all the ladies around to think about themselves. Hope they all are listening. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Balroop, thank you for your encouragement and enlightenment on this broad topic. The cultural differences are absolutely relevant to whether a woman can address this issue or if she can ever address divorce at all. Thanks for bringing that up. I agree that love is all those things you mention, caring for your married to family as well. I think those kinds of obligations are much easier and more pleasant when there is love in the marriage, for sure.

  2. Good point. With my parent’s marriage there was no abuse, cheating, stealing, or anything like that (except money issues). They simple fell out of love with each other. They stayed together as long as they could for us kids, but after some of those money issues I mentioned before forced us to lose our home, etc. they decided to split ways. This happened before my spine surgery.

    I never saw my parents in love. They had rooms on the opposite sides of the house. So it wasn’t a horrible thing when they did divorce, although I would’ve preferred them to have divorced and things not change. I was a teen and didn’t like how what I grew up knowing changed after that. My dad moved to an apartment and then moved to Michigan just one month after my spine surgery.

    1. Hi Chrys, that must have been pretty devastating and I’m sure your dad’s timing in his departure couldn’t have been worse for you. I hope he maintained his bond with you and your siblings. That’s one thing about divorce that is hard to understand, when one parent chooses to disconnect from the children. I hope you’ve had an opportunity to see and spend time with couples who are in love because without the role modeling I think it can be hard to understand it. I believe the absence of love in a marriage has its own atmosphere that is very apparent to the children. Not a warm, fuzzy home…

  3. After my marriage ended, I decided I was willing to do “hard work” in another relationship, but I would never EVER again do “hard sad work”.

    My partner, and I mean my actual everyday life partner now, is someone I’ll do hard work with any day. We’ve had our days, don’t worry! And often times we fall into bed exhausted from our days without more physical intimacy than me reaching for his hand and him cuddling into me without needing sex. But we always feel respected, loved, and at ease with what we have found in each other.

    As long as you can feel blessed 90% of the time, the 10% of tolerating each other’s habits because they’re part of the person we love is incredible. As long as (s)he is not disrespectful and mean, we all are allowed cranky moments. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Great summary, Michelle: “As long as you can feel blessed 90% of the time, the 10% of tolerating each otherโ€™s habits because theyโ€™re part of the person we love is incredible.”

      I’m happy for you that you’ve found someone you can live with in such a secure and loving way. One of the nicest things in the world is your partner simply taking your hand before you fall asleep.

  4. Love this post! I also have learned the hard way about what love is, by learning what is not. I also think of love as a journey–along the way I’ve learned to love myself and see myself as worthy, working on all the hard bits of myself via therapy and experience, so I can better understand how to give love and also accept it. And what I used to accept! ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ข but I think it’s because of that line from the perks of being a wallflower: we accept the love we think we deserve.
    I’m still learning, still working on overcoming old wounds and also accepting myself as imperfect, but instead of relying on love from outside to fill me up, I had to learn to fill my heart up all on my own. So I still struggle. I do my best and the journey continues. โค๏ธ

    1. So beautifully explained, Jane. Thanks for sharing your wisdom here! WE accept what we think we deserve—absolutely true. If we don’t think we deserve that unconditional love then we don’t see it when it’s in front of us. It’s easier to accept the wrong kind.
      This: “I had to learn to fill my heart up all on my own.” YES. That is awesome and I agree it’s a journey. Your daughters will learn good things from you, Jane <3

  5. Really insightful stuff here Lisa. I hear the words of my ex in so much you say here. I see the man I was and the man she dealt with for so long and the emptiness she felt. Beautiful article!

    1. Aw, thanks Dan. Good to see you. I’m impressed at your ability to look back and see where you want to do better. No doubt your next relationship will be amazing due to the lessons. We all learn lessons. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Thanks Lisa. “My next relationship” is still a concept that is foreign to me though…I guess unless its with the same woman:-) A hurtle I may never be able to get over but for now I am focusing on that relationship with myself you spoke of. That’s proving to be a tough nut to crack. Forgiving yourself seems to be harder than I would have imagined. Keep up the great work. Your words have been a great help to me and I am sure many others.

        1. Hi Dan, I think this learning to love self is not easy. Especially if it’s not something we really did or thought of in the past. It sounds like you’re approaching this the right way though. As someone said to me…”It’s not over until you’re dead.” I know that sounds kind of morbid but as long as we’re alive we can try to fix relationships, even re-new them. Thank you for your kind words, Dan. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Moonstruck! A perfect quote.
    I’ve always been starry-eyed about love, and of course it’s changed and I know that it’s a hot mess that breaks your heart and ruins your day, and then does wonderful things too.
    I still think it has everything to do with.. everything! Yay!

    1. Hi Tamara, isn’t that quote great? Of course, the way Nicholas Cage says it is incredible. I still think that was his best role ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m a romantic at heart as well. I always thought that was a fault and not an asset. I’ve learned though, that it’s a good way to look at life. I believe it’s highly connected to gratitude as well. Yes, love ruins things and makes a mess—LOL ๐Ÿ˜›

  7. Great insights, Lisa!! I agree with all the items on your list and would like to add a couple more. Love is forgiveness ๐Ÿ™‚ Love is letting go of grudges. Love is letting go of the ego. And finally, love is letting go of expectations. Sometimes when we bring all of these things into the relationships (grudges, ego, expectation) the more love gets clouded ๐Ÿ™‚

    The better and higher versions of ourselves we become, the better lovers we become.

    1. Hi Vishnu, wonderful additions to the list—thanks for those! Expectations is something I get caught up in and I’m learning to let go of. Ego—he’s a bit of a beast in love, isn’t he?

  8. Hi Lisa,

    Ahh Love…I didn’t know what it really was between two people until I left my first husband. I had to spend time learning how to love myself. (I didn’t know how to do that) Then after about a year, I knew what pleased me and what I needed sharing a life with another person.

    It was a part of my life where I was restructuring myself for the good! Then, and only then could I find what I needed in another person. When I met my current husband (David) it was 26 years ago. It feels like yesterday and all my life rolled up into one.

    Love is where you laugh together, have compassion, understanding and a pinch of patience to live with a person. You recognize some quirks the other has but learn to laugh at it. You care so much that even if they get sick you know it is another way of loving them.

    OK Enough with the novella…lol

    -Donna

    1. Hey Donna, I love this: “Love is where you laugh together, have compassion, understanding and a pinch of patience…” so true! I think the time to yourself learning what you love and what makes you truly happy is a step many don’t take. I love the long comments ๐Ÿ™‚ Novellas welcome.

  9. As someone who has never really had much luck in the realm of love, this was such an eye-opening post for me, Lisa. Agree with you that we all define love differently and we may not see eye to eye on that subject. Interesting you bring up the idea the opposite of love is indifference. I’ve always wondered – does our definition of love change over time, and can we make a person see and accept love in a different light? Maybe that is possible, but it would really take an open mind and perhaps sacrifices if one chooses to go down that path.

    Love as hard work? I believe that if you are with the right person, it will feel right and staying together just feels like a natural progression ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Mabel, You grasp the topic very well ๐Ÿ™‚ I believe our view or belief of love does change over time. I don’t believe we can make someone love the way we want them to. It doesn’t work. I agree when you’re with the right person, things progress and it feels right even when things change. Love will come to you!

  10. Beautifully written. I find your post very interesting, not all women know that we have to learn to love ourselves first before we can share good love to our partners, always keep in mind that we should never loose ourselves to love, in some instances it is the best feeling in the world but eventually, continuously losing yourself will lead you to desperation and unhappiness. Love is a pleasant feeling, it should allow us to grow, achieve and enhance ourselves. Thanks for sharing all these great insights.

    1. SO true about losing oneself in love. It can happen and love is pretty potent stuff. Always need to keep our heads screwed on straight. If it’s real love it will last beyond that initial rush.

  11. You are so right Lisa, it does start with loving ourselves, giving ourselves the love we desire and deserve.
    I feel that indifference is a killer in a marriage. It was to me. Indifference and feeling like ‘you are not good enough’. All The Time.

    I wish that many women would read you and understand that the lack of love can be a reason for taking the chance to live a new life.

    Thank you for helping us finding our way in relationships and life in general.

    1. Hi Marie, exactly! Indifference is a killer in a marriage, also in a friendship, in our work— in everything. If we don’t care then nothing gets done. Thank you for your lovely words and for sharing your personal story <3

  12. ***Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of these is love.***

    Love shall endure FOREVER.

    Once again, great post, Lisa. xx

    1. “the greatest one is love”—Agreed xoxo Great reminder, Kim. Thanks for mentioning the other two important ingredients!

  13. Yes! Love yourself first and foremost! We must. Have to!
    I often think of my girlfriend who calls me quite frequently with her marriage problems — and no I am not saying that my marriage is perfect. She went from boyfriend, to boyfriend, to boyfriend, to marriage and the whole time I kind of wondered if she ever had the chance to really get to know herself – by herself. If that makes sense. Like her identity was always M with J or M with E or M with….
    Now she has kids and is sinking. Who are you?
    Love who you are first and be that person and find that person who loves you and respects you.

    I cannot love this post any more — how many times can I say love in a comment?
    Love you ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hey Kim, that’s interesting about your friend. Sometimes we’re too close to see our own problems or solutions. It’s one of those things you can’t really tell her though without the risk of losing a friend. Love is something we automatically think of with someone else but of course, it applies to self first. No marriage is perfect. Snowflakes are perfect. Love ya right back! And I love how many times you said LOVE. Love, love, love….:)

  14. I LOVE this. It’s so true that it’s much easier to identify love when you finally figure out what it’s not. And I’ve also found that since I’ve come to love myself, I have a very different definition of what love is (although both events may have occurred concurrently). Great post Lisa.

  15. Oh, man… This post, Lisa. So so good–and this:

    “The opposite of love is indifference or apathy.”

    The absence of feeling and apathy will kill a relationship faster than a cheating spouse. It hurts so much to live and be with someone who simply does not care about you or the relationship.

    I love that quote from Moonstruck (I have to watch this again–all I remember is “SNAP OUT OF IT!” lol)… If love were easy to obtain and keep, there would be a lot more of it, I think. It’s complicated and hairy and messy sometimes but always worth it if we know when to fight for it and when to walk away.

    XOXO and thank you for sharing your heart today, Lisa.

    1. Hi Charlotte, yes, Moonstruck is always a good one to watch. It’s like comfort food in the form of a movie. I love the set, all the lines and I appreciate it more the older I get.”Snap out of it!” —classic.

      Apathy is a killer of many things especially love.
      Love is messy, for sure.
      Thanks, Charlotte for sharing your heart here, too xo

  16. The feeling of being in love is way too hard to describe without coming across as cheesy, but love itself isn’t. You’ve created the perfect list! I totally agree.

    1. Hi Marcia, exactly. All one has to do is read your fly on the wall blog posts, to see that in action. You obviously have a very loving marriage and lots of fun in your house—LOVE lives there.I agree with your list, too!

  17. Oh I’m so glad you said that the opposite of love is indifference–I say this all the time! Haha especially when the hubby and I are having heated arguments, I’m like “well, at least we care enough to get so worked up, so that’s a good sign!” Lol;-)

  18. Dear Lisa,

    You are absolutely right . A healthy love must not contain the above mentioned points by you. This is the first time I am visiting your blog and I really love the way you presented the LOVE. Thanks for sharing Lisa.

    Cheers !!!

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