What exactly is love?
Is it a kiss? Is it a stare? Is it the way that person you adore and admire holds you or makes you feel warm and comforted? Safe and appreciated?
Any guesses? Can’t think of one solid answer, right? That’s because there’s no real definition. There never really is. It all depends on each one of us and how we perceive the beauty that lies in the enormity that is in fact, love.
This morning, the world witnessed two people simply in love, exchange their wedding vows at the historical and lavish Westminster Abbey in England. Those two people were not just Prince William and Kate Middleton – two people in love, but of best friends first, who share a deep connection and mutual understanding and respect for one another. Their decade-long romance began as a simple friendship; both being involved with other people at the time. In spite of this, the two spent much of their time together as they studied art history at the University of St. Andrews. Shortly after, they started seeing each other romantically until a break-up that lasted for several months in 2007.
Regardless of this, they maintained a strong friendship and rekindled their romance later that same year, bringing attention to the world that these two were quite serious about each other and Kate would one day be Prince William’s wife.
William and his bride’s long-awaited kiss this morning at the Royal Palace showcased to the crowds just one facet of their love; a kiss that was playful and tender, demonstrating a surefire confidence and spontaneity – the way any solid relationship should uphold. As a matter of fact, they kissed twice not only showing a “deep love” for each other but that they’re fun, flirtatious and sincere with one another. The first kiss went by quite quickly but you could see them genuinely feel that affection they have for one another but the second kiss, that was simply a “William and Kate” kiss. It was spontaneous and lasted a bit longer before the blushing bride pulled away in a coy manner. In some aspect, it set the two apart from Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s historical appearance nearly thirty years ago. Prince William and the now, Princess Catherine’s relationship is clearly seen to be rooted in a respectful friendship where the two love and understand each other.
But love. What is it, really?
Well, I was asked a few months ago by one of my best friends about love and its true definition. It’s not an easy question to answer, especially when you have to answer right on the spot. It’s a whole bunch of things and sure, I may be a romantic sap but I personally think love is a strong feeling, affection and attraction for another and strengthens from the roots of a solid friendship – the way we saw it today at the wedding. In love, there is a deep care and a bond, between two people that results in trust, intimacy and a relationship that enhances both partners. Within that love, there is an ability and a willingness between both individuals where you’re allowed to be who you choose to be and the choices you make without compromising your identity. Love is looking past their imperfections because to you, they are perfect.
I’m not a therapist or someone who can give advice about love because I don’t feel I am in the position at the moment to dictate such feelings but I do believe with love, there’s to be a great patience as frustrating as it can be. Nobody likes waiting, especially when you’re in love with someone – you want to spend every waking moment with them, talking to them, smiling at them and listening to them talk about whatever they’re enamoured with and engage in silly conversations that only you two would enjoy and find laughter in. It becomes more than emotion when involved with the charm of love. It actually becomes a drive as powerful as hunger and the passion becomes engraved in our brains, lingering onto the next moment when we get to be with them.
But love? That’s my definition and it’s different for each one of us but regardless, we all should know that love includes compatibility. It doesn’t matter if your astrological signs say you’re made for each other or that you’ve made lifelong vows to the other – love is like-mindedness; being well-suited for the other and understanding that person, no matter what obstacles come in your way. It should always stay consistent with the times and depending on the two and the strains, both sides need to mutually keep it fresh and zest it up.
Sometimes on our journey through life, we find love in the most unusual places and at the most unusual times. But maybe they’re not really that unusual and we think it is because it’s unexpected. When the belief of love comes into consideration, love becomes a mysterious journey and often leaves us puzzled in terms of our life’s road. Where do we go from here? It becomes worse in the shape of a triangle, running back and forth, figuring it all out but the psyche takes a beating: the person whom we may see in front of us may be the least compatible than the person who is perhaps, thousands of miles away.
Now love is one thing that poets, writers, musicians and movie studios enjoy diving into. Without the depth of love and its many faces, they would all be miserable and not produce anything worth, well – loving.
The one-hit wonder tune by Haddaway, may have added to the definition in the early 90s when they asked a generation and of course, the legendary Butabi brothers, “What is Love?” and as silly as it sounds, they got some of it right:
What is love?
Baby don’t hurt me.
Don’t hurt me.
Love also involves pain! Lots of it. There’s the heartbreaking aches in your chest, sobbing uncontrollably and for some, eating your way through carbs kind of pain that hangs around. Sometimes your heart aches so much that it begins to crack and in cases of unrequited love, you keep an eye on those cracks throughout your years because you’re afraid there will be a moment when it all breaks and shatters entirely. But sometimes, your heart just breaks. Breathing becomes difficult. Life becomes a bit bleak and sleep tends to be a resort. Well that and TV.
I remember seeing a book on a neighbour’s shelf in her kitchen called "What is Love? A Simple Buddhist Guide to Romantic Happiness" and it was incredibly thin. That got me thinking immensely that love isn’t simple and love isn’t just a mere, eighty pages! It’s thicker than that. It’s deeper than that. It’s a “whole other beast”, as my best friend charmingly puts it.
Love is – love is a whole world full of stars and just the two of you, swinging about them. If it engulfs your whole heart and your mind, you know it’s there and it’s certain. There’s no doubt about it. I can’t persuade people to believe what love is and isn’t but for me, love is that. Love is the elation you get, the mood swings and the sleepless nights, the constant thinking and obsessing about the other and it transcends time, age, race, gender and geography.
Rumi once said, “Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
In the case of William and Kate, they found each other through unexpected times and held on because they valued each other and loved one another in their own way despite breaking up in 2007. They built their own kingdom without anyone having their say and built it against the odds.
Love isn’t simple but it surely lurks even if we’ve been hurt from past experiences. Love isn’t a romantic comedy or a sugary pop song. It’s a wheel of emotions. Love is also trUSt and if we’re lucky, we’re able to figure it all out and go with that flow. If not, well – who knows where you go but life is a giant puzzle and sometimes it takes a while for us to complete it and see that picture we’ve created for ourselves underneath it all.
It’s been said that love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning; a solid definition. For William and Kate, the two find meaning in each other within their friendship, the way they exchange glances, the chemistry they share and the value they hold in one another. Their relationship clearly shows that love takes time especially if you find the right person to make it work with.
Prince William and Princess Catherine, also now known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be taking time this summer for their first official royal tour of Canada in July of 2011 where William is an Honourary Canadian Ranger appointed by the Canadian Armed Forces. The two married at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011.
When thinking about love and all it's facets, I think the late Princess Diana and mother of the groom, said it best when she said to do what you heart tells you as well as making the most of what you have with love:
"If you find someone you love in your life, then hang on to that love."
And with that, I think William and Kate got it right.