What is Love?

EngagementNo, I’m not quoting Haddaway, but feel free to bop your head to the side while reading if the mood strikes you.

This is actually a serious question that comes up in everyone’s life at some point. There are different perspectives on exactly what love is. Some follow a purely science-based and rational explanation and say that love is a biochemical reaction to promote the mating cycle and the continuation of our genes. As much as I love science, this is a little too fatalistic to me, since the way the brain works makes me at least want to believe that humans are more than just the sum of our parts.

Philosophers have asked this question, as well. Some say it’s the driving force of human nature. Some say it makes the world go round. Some distinguish between types of love, such as brotherly love, erotic love, etc.

When I say that I love Olivia, it is not without pause. This is not because I don’t love her. It’s because the word itself falls far short of expressing my true feelings for her. You see, like many people, I’ve thrown the word “love” around when describing a lot of things in the past. I’ve said that I love pizza, or that I love Star Wars (original trilogy, just to be clear). Obviously, my feelings for Olivia go far, far beyond my fondness for any of these mundane things.

But even when you strip away these casual remarks, the word “love” still feels insufficient. My feelings for her dwarf what anyone has ever described love to be. It’s a feeling that cannot be expressed properly in words. To my knowledge, no word has been invented that can adequately describe how I feel about her, and with emotions this strong, I am ill-equipped to invent such a word myself. She is my light. She is my inspiration. She makes me a better man. And I tell her I love her because, as poor a description for my feelings as that word is, it is the only word available to me.

We’ve had a storied history. We originally met all the way back in middle school, but mostly knew of each other without really getting to know each other. Still, something about her stood out to me.

A few years ago, we met up at our ten year high school reunion (Go Conquistadors!), but lost contact again shortly after that. About two and a half years ago, we reconnected once again through Facebook and have never looked back. So I’ll always have a bit of a soft spot for Facebook because it ultimately brought us back together in the best way possible.

Since then, there has never been a day when we haven’t at least talked on the phone, if not seen each other. Even today, this far along into our relationship, every time I see her name come up on my phone, my heart skips a beat. Every time we hold hands, I still feel that spark. Every time she smiles, it lights up my day. And every time she laughs, it fills my own heart with joy.

Last week, I took Olivia out for her birthday. We were going to Cirque Du Soleil: Iris at the recently renamed Dolby Theater (formerly known as the Kodak Theater) in Hollywood, but before then we needed to kill some time. So we went to the Glendale Galleria, where she wanted to look for some home furnishings for her sister. While she was shopping, I excused myself to use the restroom, but I really ran downstairs to get a little sterling silver ring. I had ordered a real ring custom-made, but it wasn’t ready yet.

We moved from the Galleria to the Americana across the street and went for an early birthday dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (if you don’t live in Los Angeles but watch “The Big Bang Theory,” you’ll get these references). After dinner, they brought her a little birthday desert, and I asked the waiter to take a picture of us together. But this was a bit of a ruse, as my real purpose was to get next to her in the booth so she could hear me. I gave a little speech I had prepared, but only about half of it because I was so nervous that I forgot the other half.

Then I slid out of the edge of the booth, took her hand, got down on my knee in the middle of the restaurant, and asked her to marry me, using the little sterling silver band as a stand-in until the real ring was ready.

Later last week, I got the real ring, but the jeweler who made it couldn’t find a ring box, so he gave me a very nice little pewter and crystal pig with an enameled interior, wrapped the ring in tissue paper, and put it inside. I took Olivia to a casual dinner at Topanga Plaza, then we walked around the mall and sat down on some cushioned and surprisingly low seats in the middle of the mall. There, I got down on my knee once more, skipped the speech, and asked her to marry me again, but this time with the proper equipment, and with the encouragement of the little engagement pig.

Oh, yeah, and by the way:

She said “yes”! (both times)

Our first picture as an engaged couple (at my cousin's Bat Mitzvah reception)

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One response to “What is Love?

  1. Congratulations!!! Well said, I am very happy for the two of you and I wish that when you become 1, it is One, all the time looking after each other and giving your 100% of love, patience & humble. Piece of advice, take more time to see how beautiful each other are, rather than the faults of each other. Much love your friend, Elly

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