Many spend their lives in search of love, but do we as a society understand what love truly is? Contrary to popular belief encouraged by modern culture, love is more than the initial feel-good emotions and increasing heart rate, love is a long-term commitment that often takes hard work, and it’s work worth doing.

Photo by Dani Jo Stevenson

Love is a curious dance, sometimes flowing carefree with the melodic music of life, sometimes starting and stopping like a needle bouncing across an old scratched vinyl record, but true love continues moving in rhythm between two people who are committed to the end of life’s beautiful song. 


It is time for the societal meaning of the word “love” to change.

The word love is mostly used according to the first definition in the dictionary: “An intense feeling of deep affection.” In other words, love is something that someone feels.

Love is perhaps the most twisted, distorted and misunderstood word in the English language.

If you consider the amount of books, articles and studies dedicated to the topic it is clear that our society desperately wants to understand love, but the truth is that we have strayed further from real love than ever before.

People often spend their lives trying to demystify the precious feeling, or they toil endlessly in search of the love that will make them happy.

If we live our lives as if all there is to love is the feeling it gives us, we are missing out on the depth and beauty that love really brings.

Love is not always easy and beautiful, it is not a cure-all for all of our problems in life and it is not something we simply fall out of. Real love is a choice.

What we see modeled for us today in society, through television and movies primarily, is a complete misrepresentation of what love should be.

Real love is not a measure of emotion, love is an action and, like all actions, it requires a decision and a commitment.

Love is a choice and not an emotion.

The emotional component of love, as with any emotion, is unreliable and inconsistent.

Love is an act of the will, not just a passive state of being that we simply fall into.

The love defined by much of our society is a selfish love, based on the wants and desires of ourselves, but real love is not concerned with our own needs but rather the needs of others.

I do not want to be misunderstood, emotionality is a very real and important part of love, but it is not love.

Studies have shown that falling in love is much like taking a dose of cocaine, releasing a sense of euphoria. When you experience “falling in love” your brain releases several euphoria-inducing chemicals stimulating 12 areas of the brain at once.

These chemical reactions are what make us believe that love is simply an emotion. This high that we get from love is the romantic part of falling in love, but love requires so much more work than that.

The truth is that romantic love will eventually end, but only to be followed by committed love.  

Modern love tells us that if we no longer feel those chemical reactions we are no longer in love and it is therefore acceptable to move on.

It is OK to stop feeling the butterflies and weak knees, your heart doesn’t have to skip a beat for you to love someone.

Modern love is a creation of the modern world designed to fit our wants and desires, but real love can not be merely a feeling; it must be a passion that manifests itself in actions.

Feelings fade, and once they do, it takes work to maintain that love, and “being in love” is a decision we all must make.

What we feel is reflected in what we do, but the real test comes once the feeling changes and the newness wears off.

Regardless of how much you care about someone, they are still human and they will disappoint you, but much like Christ’s love for us, we must radiate love filled with grace and commitment.

Lust can’t wait to get, love can’t wait to give. Love is a covenant and defining it will define you.

By Dani Stevenson

Dani Jo Stevenson is a staff journalist for MBU Timeline. Stevenson is majoring in communications studies with a minor in journalism. Stevenson is a member of the tennis team at MBU. After graduation, Stevenson will be pursuing a master’s degree in speech language pathology.