Is Love a Feeling or a State of the Mind? – Eniola Olaosebikan

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Love is patient, love is kind, love is this, love is that – these things are all easy to say. However, considering the negative things that happen even when we say we are in love, one cannot help but ask what love really is.


Growing up, I remember writing a very hateful letter to my dad once – the same daddy that I love as well. Sometimes, when our spouse does something we think is ‘annoying’ to us, at that moment, everything called love is thrown away, leaving us with resentment and sometimes, vengeance.

No doubt, there are many classifications of love, but asides the agape kind of love (which sometimes becomes incomprehensible), is there any other form of love that can be said to be unconditional? Is there love that does not change with feelings or deeds? Feelings in the sense of the emotions we have when they do something that goes down well with us, and deeds in the sense of their actions that are pleasing to us.

No doubt we love our parents and we love our partners as well, but, things tend to go wrong when they offend us. This can make us throw every teeny bit of love we have for them away at that instant and almost immediately, we replace these ‘feelings’ of ‘love’ with some form of coldness.

So is love a feeling, or a state of mind?

Some married couples, when asked if they love their spouse, replied that they do not know. This is shocking to me. I thought love was supposed to be the bedrock of every marriage! So if you do not know if you love your spouse or not, what then is the bedrock of your marriage? This, I usually ask myself, especially when I see couples who have lovingly been together for over 10 years, 20 years and more.

Is love based on the emotions of what one’s spouse does for one, or on the deep reality that this person is a good person and always means good for us? Is love actually a feeling that goes and comes, or one that stays and goes nowhere? Or perhaps an accumulation of all the good deeds only, leaving no space for the seemingly bad days?

For Temi, when asked if she loved her spouse, her reply was yes. When asked why and how she knows, a reply was not forthcoming. This made me wonder how love truly is between couples. A school of thought says that when you love your spouse, you love him or her for no reason (this may be why it was hard for Temi to explain why she loved her husband. For her, it was a feeling with a particular kind of depth and awareness that she could not explain).

Another school of thought says one way to know if you love your spouse is to examine the reasons why you are with him in the first place. In other words, the reasons why you are with him would show you if you love him or not. The question now is: if you are with him for reasons that can be classified as selfish in some ways, would you still say you love him? Let’s say you are solely with him for the comfort he gives, his soft-spoken nature, and the fact that he meets all your needs and beyond, would you still call that love? Considering that love has been said to involve some forms of service and not just what we can get or solely what suits us?

Because I have no firm answer to these questions – especially ‘categorical’ opinions about the various schools of thought involved in love and loving a person – I’ll push this to you: What really is love? Do you think true love is when we love with reason, or without reason?

I’ll be looking forward to reading your answers in the comment session.

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