Kines once again sparked a thought... ^_^.
There is a common misconception concerning love. Most people these days, as one of the chronicled.org comments says, are in lust. They, with the help and misguidance of the Media, have confused sexual longing for actual Love. But it's hard to tell the difference many times. In a relationship where sex is involved, how do you tell for sure whether you love the person because you feel dependent on them for physical intimacy, or whether you truly Love them?
I can't figure it out myself. I think I'm in Love. I feel incredibly strongly toward my current 'other'. I want to share my life with him in every way possible - including physical love. However, there is more to our relationship than a need for physical attention. We are friends on a deeper level. And that, I think, is part of Love. It's nearly impossible to Love someone who you don't get along with outside the bedroom. Despite our little feuds over where to go for lunch, he and I get along pretty well.
But what is Love, really? It's not just being friends, or even lovers. The word used to denote something more... a feeling that's hard to capture with words. It's something like caring for the other person, and something like feeling protective of the other person, and something like knowing that you can forgive the other person no matter what... and something like a lot of other things. Maybe it's like being a parent. Or does being a parent simply make it easier to Love? I could come up with half a thousand definitions of Love... but it all comes back to one thing. Love is what has happened when, after years and years together, you realize you're going to spend the rest of your life with this person because you'd never adjust to anyone else. ^_^ Or maybe that's just resignation :P
I'll try to tell you what I think Love is.
Love is accepting. For most of history, "Love" as we think of it hasn't counted much in marriages. Arranged marriage is still popular in Islamic nations, as well as the more traditionalist areas of India, China, the United States (yes, it happens here occasionally) and... well, the rest of the world. True, most of the industrially developed nations don't bother with it any more, but for some people an arranged marriage is the only way. I don't know anyone in an arranged marriage but it seems to me that if you were brought up well and your parents knew what they were looking for, you would find yourself quite happy with any match they brought home. Parents tend to be pretty observant of traits and quirks which most people ignore or hide when they are looking for their own mate. And like being assigned to share a dorm with someone you have never met before, the people in arranged marriages probably tend to settle into a comfortable co-existence out of necessity. Love comes later, if at all. Once you know someone, have learned their eating and sleeping habits, have picked up after them and taken care of them and lent them money, you start to love them. Little things remind you of their smile or their attitude. You miss them when they aren't around to talk to. You want to serve them, because you have respect for them and you know they would do the same for you. Love is Equal.
Love is Forgiving. Most of all, Love knows that everyone makes mistakes. There is nothing wrong with being angry for a little while - it is a natural reaction. But Love can forgive, even though a transgression may seem difficult to overcome.
Love is Respectful. People in loving relationships don't seem to have screaming fights very often, and I don't think it's because the sex is that good. An important part of any healthy relationship, romantic or not, requires both people to have respect for each other and themselves. If you can discuss a difference of opinions and still get along then you're much better off.
Love is many things. Look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It's one of my favorite Bible passages... although I still can't quote it. At any rate, whatever Love is or is not, I know one thing: when people think they are in Love, there isn't much anyone can do to convince them otherwise.
I could go on but this post is long enough already. I have homework to do... although if you'd like to debate any of these points or add your own, feel free.