When I first read Ursula Guin’s definition of love, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. Love is like bread?
Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.Ursula K Le Guin
Love Is Like Bread
Isn’t love meant to be something simple? Something you don’t have to work at. Is love just a matter of words? A feeling that doesn’t change.
On my morning walk on 14 February (Valentine’s Day, in case you forgot), I saw vendors setting up buckets full of red roses. At 7.40 am, they didn’t have any customers, but I was curious to know how many they sold that day! I recalled when I was teaching 16-18 year old boys that Valentine’s Day put a lot of pressure on them. They’d buy those roses and some of them would actually go down the street to find a girl (any girl would do!) to propose their love to!! I wondered what we mean when we say, “I love you”?
This year we completed 13 years of marriage. I can safely say that when I say ‘I love you’ to José now, it means something very different from the same words said at the start of our marriage! It means a whole lot more. There’s more respect, more friendship, more acceptance and more commitment in those words now.
Does Love Take Work?
I’m averse to saying that love takes work. But building a loving relationship, is like baking bread. It requires passion, skill and patience! It takes trial and error, tweaking something here and there, a willingness to wait for the right time!
But above all, to have a successful relationship you must understand the love style or the love language of yourself and your significant other.
6 Different Love Styles
According to Terry Hatkoff, a California State University sociologist, there are 6 different love styles, each having a different outlook on love.
- Romantic: Based on passion and sexual attraction
- Best Friends: Fondness and deep affection
- Logical: Practical feelings based on shared values, financial goals, religion etc.
- Playful: Feelings evoked by flirtation or feeling challenged
- Possessive: Jealousy and obsession
- Unselfish: Nurturing, kindness, and sacrifice
In her book, For Better: How the Surprising Science of Happy Couples Can Help Your Marriage Succeed , Tara Parker-Pope shares Dr Hatkoff’s example of a man and woman having dinner. The waiter flirts with the woman, but the husband doesn’t seem to notice, and talks about changing the oil in her car.
What does love have to do with this? The husband and wife have different definitions of love. The wife is upset her husband isn’t jealous. For her, love is possessive and when her husband doesn’t show jealousy, she feels that he doesn’t value her. The husband feels his extra work isn’t appreciated. For him, love is logical and practical. By looking after her car, he’s supporting her, and feels that she doesn’t appreciate that.
5 Love Languages
Dr Gary Chapman spoke of the 5 Love Languages in his book by the same name.
“5 Love Languages.”
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch.
You can take the Love Style quiz here and the 5 Love Languages quiz here.
The key to a more meaningful and loving relationship is understanding what makes your partner feel loved. This helps you navigate conflict creates more room for romance.
Go here to read a sweet love story.
Check out these books
For Better: How the Surprising Science of Happy Couples Can Help Your Marriage Succeed
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
Image Credits: Pixabay
My husband and I used to own a chocolate shop. Women would come in a couple of weeks ahead of time, to place orders. Some men would come in early to pre-order as well. But most of our male customers would come screeching into the parking lot thirty minutes before we closed on Valentine’s Day, hoping there would be something for them to buy.
I had no idea about the chocolate shop you owned, Jennifer. You must have so many stories around the shop. Your comment made me smile!
I really enjoyed reading this article. My husband and I did the 5 love languages quiz a few years ago and were a tad surprised by the results. It was a lot of fun to see what our love languages actually were.
Thanks for stopping by, Michelle. I’ve found the Love Languages quiz really interesting too.
I liked this post. Good job on it. Building a loving relationship definitely does take some trial and error.
Lydia recently posted..Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: My Favourite Memory and Why
Thanks, Lydia. But the effort is usually so worth it.
I really enjoyed reading this how you compared love with bread. It’s true love is effortless but yes relationships require effort …to be on the same page.
Glad you enjoyed the post, Ruchi.
Oh this is such a lovely post. Loved reading it. Love keeps us alive and it really needs work. Do keep writing such lovely posts.
Hi, Corrine – It is wonderful to discover your blog. I love that reflections that you have shared here. Very inspiring!
Thanks for stopping by, Donna.
5 love languages is a very interesting read. The way we think of love is just so different from person to person!
Modern Gypsy recently posted..Tarot reading for March 2020
Lovely post. Love takes work, but if it’s real, it feels easy!
Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
I think a long and lasting love takes work – and commitment – and stickability. It’s so easy to throw in the towel and to start wondering if the grass is greener elsewhere, but true love pushes through all that. You’re so right about romantic love settling into something deeper with time and I’m also a big fan of the 5 love languages – they explain a lot about why we sometimes feel unloved when our partner thinks they’re doing all the right things!
Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM
I love the analogy that love is like bread. I do think it is work- but not work that is miserable- more like a job that you love so you show up every day and work at it.
Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond
Hi Corinne a beautiful post and yes love is much, much more than red roses on Valentine’s Day. I love the analogy of the bread, we knead love, we let it rise and then we enjoy every morsel. Thank you for sharing at #MLSTL it is lovely to have you in our community. xx
This lovely piece spurred my thoughts to wonder if even the love styles are kinda dynamic, preferring to temporarily shift to a contrasting style. And when a spouse misses to respond to that shift, dissonance is felt. All said and done, love in significant relationships is worth all the work and more.
I too wondered how love and bread were related. But now it makes so much sense. Yes, the feeling of love is so much different than what I felt a decade ago. It does take practice and patience to create something memorable and longlasting. Although ‘receiving gifts’ isn’t a big part of our relationship, I 100% agree with the rest.
Thank you so much for the mention.
Rajlakshmi recently posted..When I got lost in my own office | Sydney life
I am so glad that my husband’s and my love styles, neither of them, are “possessive.” To me, jealousy indicates a lack of trust, and to me, trust is the foundation of real love. All the rest are good; I don’t think that over a lifetime of love, we have just one style or language of love, but adjust and move through them as the relationship demands. Maybe we have one that’s our primary go-to, comfort zone, preferred style or language, and maybe we have one or more that we don’t value at all (like “possessive”) due to it having negative connotations for us. It might be dull if we were stuck in one particular mode. 😉 And there’s nothing particularly “romantic” about pushing a baby into the world, but romance needn’t end when the family grows, either.
Holly Jahangiri recently posted..How Not To Support Your Candidate
An interesting perspective indeed. And I agree, love is like bread. It takes time, it takes effort at times, it takes passion.
I am not sure about the love part in a marriage. Most Indian marriages have nothing to do about love but there will be several other reasons which keep the marriage going. Is there happiness in such arrangements or not, who knows. I understand this contradicts the context of this post and the above comments.
I will still go ahead and mark the book – For Better as my next read.
This was a good read and made me reflect on our love styles. We are not possessive but logical and unselfish. I need VT to look at this and tell me what he thinks. But you are right that love and its definition changes over time. The analogy that you shared is relateable.
Parul Thakur recently posted..Gratitude List – February 2020
True, love evolves over a period of time and is a lot more meaningful than the initial years. Loved reading this post!
A very different take on the subject. Mention of “Quality time” as a Language of Love is very apt. Quality time is very under rated aspect of love; very few take it seriously.
Definitely, what love means is different to me as a girlfriend, as a new wife and now as a wife of 12 years. It evolved. Though we are the same people with time, we too, evolved. Our priorities changed, so did our perspectives. If we get to celebrate 10 more years of togetherness, what love means to each of us would be different from what it is now.
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