Love is weird. We experience it in so many different ways, whether from whoever we choose to be with, or with our children, pets, family or friends. And because all of those versions of differ from one another, we really have all very unique ways of experiencing this very complicated human emotion. Do we really fall in love with someone? Or is it more about finding a person and mutually agreeing to accept one another for life because we as a species don’t like being alone? I’m willing to bet everyone’s definition of love is different, making it still such a strange and extraordinary thing.
It still baffles me that my husband and I have been married for five years. That may not seem like such a long time, but the way in which we began our relationship was so unconventional that there were plenty of people with plenty of doubt. When I first met him, as cheesy as this sounds, I felt like I was “meant” to know him. We were instantly inseparable, and a few months later, when he asked me if I wanted to drive to Las Vegas at 11:00 at night and get married, I didn’t even hesitate. We drove 25 hours, through a true blizzard that stopped us on the interstate multiple times, and it was then that we realized that surviving that trip was obvious proof that this was meant to be. In a black dress that was nowhere near bridal attire, I married my husband in a tiny ceremony just steps away from the Vegas courthouse.
But it hasn’t all been a fairytale. If you’d ask me if you should run off and get married to someone you technically barely know, I’d tell you to run like hell (My husband has a longstanding joke that he “tricked me”) but I WILL say that being married helped us push through issues that otherwise probably would have ended us. And helped us grow into better people, both individually and together. It turns out we are actually two very different people, but somehow we’ve made it work. He may never care about Hunter S. Thompson or like my tattoos, but we get each other in a very real way, which to me, is definitely love.
Do I regret not having a ‘real‘ wedding? Sometimes. When we first came back from Vegas, we told my family we were only engaged so I could have an actual wedding. I started planning, bought an incredible gown, and even sent out save the dates. But after drunkingly spilling the beans to my mom, and my husband growing tired of not telling everyone, we just let it go. I imagine that someday we’ll renew our vows so that I can wear that dress and have my dad walk me down the aisle, but I’m happy knowing that we did something seriously awesome; something most people would only dream of. And now we have a seriously cool story to tell our son.
And now, five years later, after such a non traditional marital journey, we’re actually living a VERY traditional life. My husband works and I stay home, and our roles as breadwinner and housewife are the ultimate 1950’s cliche. But I’ll never be Betty Draper, and my husband will never be Don. But my son will grow up remembering that he never had to leave his mom’s side, which brings me such a lovely sense of comfort. If I ever needed to remind myself what love is, I need to look no further than his tiny, gorgeous face.
So is there really a universal way to describe love? It’s truly a different experience for everyone, and engrained so deeply into our human psyche that I’d almost consider it part of what actually makes us human. A kiss from my dog is obviously different than one from my husband, but it’s all love, just the same. So spread it: whatever it is that you consider love. And all of us, as humans finding our place on this planet, should be willing to find it. Maybe then, as happy, loving beings, we will finally understand one another and enjoy a bright, peaceful, and open hearted world.