Over the weekend, I experienced my first wedding as like….idk a real grown-up or something. It was the first wedding I’d ever been to where I was actually friends with the people getting married as opposed to a family member or one of my parent’s acquaintances. I was a bridesmaid and I ended up giving an impromptu toast in lieu of the maid of honor (she didn’t want to speak and I love public speaking so pretty much volunteered last minute), and as I sat there, slightly champagne drunk, with only twenty minutes to prepare it, I realized I hadn’t truly thought about what romantic love means to me in a long time.
I know that I love and am in love with my boyfriend…but what does that mean? What I came up with in that network-sitcom-length of time, is that love ultimately comes down to how that person makes you feel and how far you’re willing to go to make them feel as amazing as possible in return. There are multiple different kinds of love (the ancient Greeks had eight!), but romantic love is one of the ones you get to choose for yourself, which makes it all the more special when you compare it to family love for instance.
In my little toast, I talked about how even though I didn’t know the groom that well, I couldn’t be happier for them because what I did get to see was how he made my friend feel. We were living together when they first became a couple, and I got to see how her face would light up when he would send her a present, or her smiles at her phone when he would text, and I thought THAT’S it. Her happiness was the love part. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about it, it doesn’t matter what they look like in the end, it doesn’t matter if they tick off your theoretical checkboxes – it’s how they make you feel.
When you think about it this way, love becomes a whole lot clearer in my mind. There are no illusions about being with someone to please others, or to spite others, or because they’ve got money, or because of how attractive they are. All that matters is how you can make each other feel.
I know that I’m in love with my boyfriend because he makes me feel happy, he makes me laugh, he makes me feel strong, safe, beautiful, smart, listened to, I could go on and on. And I’m pretty sure I make him feel amazing too, but I guess only he can answer that 😉
The weird thing about the paragraph above is that it probably wouldn’t sound all that romantic to anyone else. That’s because the feelings are intensely personal and only something a much better writer than I, could truly put into words. Traits like – patient, kind, funny – don’t make up a relationship. They merely make up the blandest version of a person and it’s all the little things and feelings that make up that love.
Unfortunately, I think nowadays it’s easy to miss this crucial part of a relationship. We get so focused on the other person – do we have the same sense of humor? Do we both like Indian food? Do we both like to travel? – and we forget about the actual feelings part. Does this person make me feel happy? Wanted? Safe? Brave? If the answer is no, then why are we even bothering with whether we like the same food or not?