How Do You Define Love?

by Peter J. Mancus,


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My father was a U.S. Air Force flight medic. He told me that a flight surgeon, a licensed medical doctor he worked with, shared with him that doctor’s definition of love. Per that doctor, “Love is an abscess of the heart that drains through the penis.”

Ugh! That is a clever, hideous, graphic, image. It is also a crude, cynical, realistic definition of sex, from a man’s point of view, but not an accurate definition of love.

I prefer this definition of love:

“Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

However, like many, that cute little fellow with the bow and arrow, Cupid, despite what I assume are his best intentions, has not always been kind or helpful. Too often he shoots his love arrows into the wrong heart(s); thus, despite how the Bible defines love, love far too often fails.

Worse: A cunning, unprincipled person who does not give a damn about how the Bible defines love often ruthlessly and cleverly takes advantage of a person who loves them and exploits that person unmercifully.

Here is an important question relevant to “What, if anything, do you use or rely upon to test if something you feel or experience is love?”

My answer: There is much truth, and wisdom, in this adage: “What sizzles fizzles.”

While it is true, sometimes, a man and a woman instantly, upon first sight or soon thereafter, hit it off well and their relationship rapidly becomes physically intimate, there is a material difference among sex, infatuation passion, sexual energy and love. Consequently, the sobering odds are high that what sizzles will fizzle, fast. This truth is partly because most things that are precious take precious time to build, and trust—mutual trust—is one of the most essential building blocks for an enduring man-woman relationship arising from true love.

Significantly, no man-woman relationship that was worth anything good and endured ever progressed faster than the amount of mutual trust that existed between them.

Once, when I was at a group shoot, I watched, up close, two good looking young models, naked, posing together in close proximity. As a normal heterosexual guy, as I enjoyed their polished rapid beautiful flowing from one great pose to another, I found my mind wondering, contemplating the following thoughts. Physically, they were both sexy and beautiful, equally so. One was taller than the other. One had a bit bigger this and a bit smaller that. So what?

They both had boyfriends. I was old enough to be their father. I did not love either one, but I appreciated their beauty and their posing skills. Physically, either one would be considered by most heterosexual men to be a good looker or even a trophy wife. But, at the end of the day, their skin beauty is transitory at best. What is really important in the realm of a real relationship, is not their looks, but what are their values? Goals? How compatible? How reliable? How sincere? How committed? What is their personality? How good is their core? Are they trustworthy?

Sex, beauty, passion and love are, most emphatically, nowhere near the same thing, even though some aspects of each often overlap.

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