whatislove breaks into my journal: an investigation in earnest

“what is your definition of love?”

+ follow-up q, developed over the course of question-asking: “do you think it is a choice, or something you fall (or are born) into?”

+follow-up, follow-up, only posed to a few: “who do you love?”

  • “what brings him joy brings me joy; what brings him sorrow brings me sorrow” -sl
  • “having the patience…to deal with his crap, and him with yours.” [it is a choice.] -qk
  • “…” -ah
  • “LOVE?! did we worry about stuff like this when we were in our 20s?! you guys are so complicated! we just fell in love!” -the rs
  • “oh like… dedication. and honor.” [wait seriously?!] “no, like…I just feel like these are words that go together…” -gr
  • “extreme like” -lg
  • “you love them like family, you’ll be sad when they die, you actually care when they talk about their problems, you are actually genuinely worried when they are sick.” -cs, via ca
    • “she was sweating when I asked her if she loved him hehe”
  • “my definition of love would be an unconditional emotion of care and wanting what’s best for them irregardless of other feelings?” -kk
  • “lol you ask me this every couple of months… love is insanity. it’s an odd sensation of illogical bliss and hapiness even when you’re down in the dumps. when logic tells you nothing is okay, love tells you everything is fine. kind of an indirect definition” -o
  • “when you really care about someone no matter what the circumstances are. it means being there during the trials and the joys and providing hope and support” -ab
  • “hmm I think love is…an unconditional acceptance of someone else? valuing and caring for them in any circumstance, I suppose.” -sc
  • “unconditional respect and caring for one another.” & “loving someone at their worst cause you know what they’re like at their best” -co-worker of sc chimes in
  • “hmm…a loaded question. maybe love is knowing the truth about someone and not letting that change the way you feel about them.” + “for the most part, I think it is a choice.” -rl
    • +4 days –> “maybe love is still being [there] for someone even though that person continues to exhibit behavior that gives us every reason to give up. maybe love is simply in forgiveness. idk I’ve been thinking about this a lot since you’ve asked. tough q and tough answers but I think love is a pretty tough thing of itself”
  • “the commitment of unconditional and willing sacrifices for someone that stems fro the desire for their good?” + “hm I think a large part of love is deciding you will commit to loving them. attraction may not be a choice, but I think love is.” -sh
  • “ah. long answer.” -iz
  • “oh man that is a loaded question. I think there are many, many definitions of love and that multiple definitions can be true at the same time. but I think for me, the greatest indicator of love has always been a desire for another’s success, safety, and well-being that is as free from impurity and selfishness as it can be. and potentially come at the expense of your own success, safety, and well-being.” -dr
  • [translated from de korean] “you’ve asked me this before 🙂 and I think what I said was something like: trying your best to understand the other. knowing that you’ll never ever perfectly understand, but trying nonetheless” + [how has it changed since you got married?] “okay yeah so understanding is important but so are actions haha. I think it’s important to make an effort to be good to each other. I mean there are so many little things that go into taking care of a household, you know? you can understand all you want but if only one person is doing all the chores they’re bound to get annoyed.” -jhj
  • “to me, love is unexplainable amounts of care, affection, and even respect for someone or something.” + “my personality makes e choose what I invest energy and time into loving. like God, my friends, nature, hobbies (outdoors staying active, singing even though I’m not good, learing how things work, learning, driving, etc.)” -jk
  • “doing something for someone ‘in spirit and in truth’ — meaning that you have a person in mind whom you want to do something for (spirit), but what you’re doing is meeting that person’s want/need at the same time (truth). so for example, if I were to buy you tickets to like a Nascar race for your birthday, it’d be in spirit (because I bought them for you, but not in truth, because you have no interest in and may in fact dislike Nascar. does that make sense? this response stems from a discussion we had at my church recently.” -mk
  • “thinking of another’s needs and desires and showing them that you care!” + “choose!” -jm
  • “it’s like one of those things that everyone knows about but doesn’t understand, I think I’d have to think about it for a lifetime before I figure it out lol” -gj
  • “such a difficult question! hmm… I must think about this for a sec.” -gk
  • “oh man I don’t know… appreciating someone for who they are, accepting their flaws, being willing to sacrifice things for them?” + “hmm I think you can grow into it. esp. as you mature.” -ah
  • “Godly love? agape love? or a love of lasagna? haha but I believe love is when you put someone before you and don’t expect anything back.” + “two people care for each other and will put the other before their own needs. ladeda. I think you can try to choose… but it doesn’t work out for me that way. I tend to fall I think.” -hs
  • “God is love. Hahaa wait, is there like a multiple choice option?” -jo
  • “God is love. If you want to discover what true love is, listen, we better know God.” -pij @ sc 2/8/15
  • “loving is caring, thoughtfulness, love is unconditional. yeah sorry I got nothing deep and sorry this is so lateee.” -sw
  • “definition of love (generally): caring about someone enough to make sacrifices” -dc
  • “mhh strong feelings toward somebody. makes you entirely trust him or her and sometimes you lose your mind. and it can hurt like nothing else.” -sk
  • “well I think loving someone and being in love with someone is a bit different. I think we’re predisposed to get along with people who are either more like us or better match our personalities. I feel like being in love with someone is a different feeling than loving someone. in love is like the butterflies in stomach, but even more so I want to make you happy because seeing you makes me happy sort of thing. like it doesn’t matter if you’re together because all you want is the best for them regardless what that means for you.” + “I don’t think you could be in love with someone without loving them as well. that being said I have definitely seen people who are in love but just so incompatible/unable to communicate that their love is tearing each of them apart and it’s just painful to watch, let alone be a part of.” -sm
  • “oh man, today was a tough day… but I thought about what love is time to time! I came up with something! haha I think Love is when you care about someone more than yourself and always look forward to every minute together. I think time is sooooo uncontrollably limited in our lives, and so how one enjoys spending a lot of time with someone is a really good reflection of love as well, I think” -sp
  • “love is a choice and people that love u make decisions for your good.” + “you love us ;)” -ism
  • “I think love is a sense so unconditional good and a complete sheltering feeling towards your dear ones. especially towards the one that it’s at your side. but i think love is a state of the soul, in gneral. towards people society the earth and so on. I will think more. thanks so much to draw my attention to these things.” -eg
  • “you can have different kinds of love.” “uncommon, strong attachment” “like, I love my vitamix and I love dave and I’ve loved different guys I’ve dated but they’re all different.” -jc
  • “what I’ve got with my wife.” [WOW ya gotta go home TONIGHT and TELL HER WHAT YOU JUST TOLD ME!!] “I told her that first thing this morning! when I scraped the ice off her windshield!!” -rc
  • “marriage.” [that’s it?!] “someone cares!” -jh
  • “unconditional acceptance?” + “both. I don’t think people always fall in love when they aren’t ready. but I also don’t think it’s something that can be forced.” -wp
  • “I was thinking about this. and there’s this part in leaves of grass that for me, right now, sums it up best:
    “Loafe with me ion the grass, loose the stop from your throat,
    Not words, no music or rhyme I want, not custom or lecture
         not even the best
    Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.”
    that’s it, I think.
    love ya dear” -the other m
  • “I think to love someone is to want the best for them, to wish for their happiness, and to have their interests in mind. Like I said before, this will change depending on the relationship in question, but the core is similar.” -ead


  • email response #1 from bn that I have vowed to read again and again until I’ve gleaned all its wisdom juices; cannot be summarized here
  • email response #2 from ead: systematic and well-pondered; this, too, needs time for digestion.
  • email response #4 from the other m:

I was thinking about this. and there’s this part in leaves of grass that for me, right now, sums it up best:

“Loafe with me ion the grass, loose the stop from your throat,
Not words, no music or rhyme I want, not custom or lecture
     not even the best
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.”
that’s it, I think.
love ya dear


  • sneak-sprinkled this into casual conversation with mompops: [you forgot…again!! daaaaad you said this like 20934 times the last time I came home…!] “see, love is forgetting. forgiving! and farting in front of each other. and caring for each other…”

oops I didn’t start out with a hypothesis except maybe some inklings and uncertainties, but here’s the data dump. analysis and conclusion to come, soon.

favorite pop culture bits on the subject:

1. theory-support:

2. embarrassingly real:

3. usually not mah style but uh:

bonus track: tips for Valentine’s Day for Mark, from little brother Alex

tip number 1: Don’t get her something dumb. e.g. dead flowers.

tip number 2: Don’t get her something ridiculous. e.g. creepy teddy bear

tip number 3: Don’t get her something too expensive. illustration: “diamonds are okay; chicken nuggets are not.”

tip number 4, and you’ve got this one down: Be wise.

tip number 5: believe in yourself.

happy valentine’s eve!



2 thoughts on “whatislove breaks into my journal: an investigation in earnest


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