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.
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