"What is it about love? What is it about being in love that make people so crazy and just borderline irrational? I feel like even as old as I am (26) I don’t have a healthy handle on what it is to actually love someone. Isn’t this something that you learn with time or something? You see so many people posting about “loving this” or “loving that” and you just sit and wonder sometimes about what it is exactly that they are feeling.
There are so many questions that I have about the subject such as:
1. How do you KNOW when you are in love with something?
2. How is the love different for people that you are just friends with?
3. Can you love more than one person at the same time?
4. Can love be instant? Or does it take a great deal of time?
5. Can it be harmful?"
I believe that love is a choice. I think you know that you love someone when you are willing to give up what you want or at least compromise on what you want in order for the other person to be happy as well. And sure, anyone can make a choice to be self-sacrificing. But I think that love makes the self-sacrifice okay. You recognize that you are giving up something you want, but instead of doing it grudgingly, you do it with contentment, because you are happy because the other person is happy.
Also, I think love of friends and "love" are so similar that they are almost indistinguishable sometimes. Especially if you are "in love" with a very good friend.
You can love more than one person at one time, but again, it comes down to the choice. I still love Chris, but I have chosen to not be with him anymore. It isn't healthy, and it isn't my future. And my heart is most definitely open to loving someone else and is well on its way. So I am loving two people at the same time. And I will always love Chris. But that love is a steadfast, permanent love - not a passionate "let's get married" love. I don't know if that makes sense or not, but that's the only way I know how to describe it without going into more detail.
Attraction can be instant. And lust can most definitely be instant. But I think true love takes longer than that. The butterflies and obsession are not permanent.
Love can most definitely be harmful. I mean, look at history and look at all the stupid decisions that were made because of love. Romeo and Juliet, Helen of Troy, Henry VIII and his obsessive search for something to complete him, and the millions of others that haven't made the history books. Love clouds logic. And when you aren't thinking logically, you screw up.
Our culture doesn't help that at all. We have songs like "All you need is love" and "in the name of love" and "I believe in a thing called love." All based on the emotional high that you get when you are attracted to someone. That type of love will destroy you.
I try my hardest to base my love off of what is time tested and true. I Corinthians 13 is a good start. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not hold offense. It is not envious. It is not selfish. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
I do have a great example of love in my parents. They made the choice before they even got married to never consider divorce. (However my mom always puts in an addendum that says even though divorce is not an option, murder is. haha!). I've seen them fight, scream, slam doors, not talk to each other for hours. But they always make the conscious choice to attempt to calm down, talk things out, and come to some sort of compromise that they can both work with. And my sisters and I can visibly see the love they have for each other through their choices to make things work no matter how hard it is.
The bottom line is that people are selfish. We want what WE want. And our basest nature demands that we ALWAYS get what we want and SCREW the world! But that is not love. Love is purposefully choosing to put someone else above you (or at the very minimum equal to you).