Love is a 4-Letter Word

By Lori Welch Brown

Love is a 4-Letter Word

If you’re looking for love, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Keep walking past those cute little pink heart Valentines, pass right on by the fuchsia thongs blinged out with “You’re Mine,” hang a left at the flavored love lotions and edible whatevers and head straight to the feminine products aisle. From there, go to the antacid aisle and then circle back to the trash bag aisle. Those are the places where true love resides. I know. I’m a buzz kill. Yes—there’s a place for the raging hot, sticky passion-fueled nights, but at some point Mr. (or Ms.) Sex in the Shower is going to have a raging virus (aka Man Cold) or have bodily fluids dripping from somewhere that is the opposite of sexy. Under the germ-encrusted sheets, beside the pile of phlegm-filled tissues is where love lives.

The blinged out thong phase is called dating. It is intoxicating and thrilling beyond words, and alas, it is fleeting. And, it is not for everyone. There are plenty of happily married people out there who never left behind any DNA in a public place or had to have buttons replaced on shirts due to a spontaneous interlude. Truth. There are plenty of great Mr. Rights out there who haven’t had lace panties thrown at them. And, there are plenty of phenomenal women out there who would rather bungee jump off the Grand Canyon than willingly wear the word ‘SEXY’ across their butts in the name of love. This fact is a huge disappointment for many, and yet it shouldn’t be because while that phase may be what brings you together, it is rarely what keeps you together. We all yearn for the lace hearts, chocolates and sweet nothings because it satisfies our need for immediate gratification and it makes us the stars of our own Hallmark movies. I get it, and it’s probably what kept me single for a really long time.

The world (aka social media) tells us all we need to know about love. Love is passion. Love is never having to say you’re sorry. Love is the most powerful drug of all. Love is an aphrodisiac. Love is two bodies coming together as one. Love is electric. Love is erotic. I’m here to tell you love is none of those things. Love is like happiness—it is a decision that takes work and effort. Love takes action. Love is putting another person’s needs in front of your own. When you find the person who is willing to give you the last chocolate chip cookie, you may be onto something.

Love is:

  • Saying you’re sorry a lot
  • Listening even when it’s not about you or puppies or kittens or Netflix shows
  • Never having to wax (unless it’s back hair and then it’s full on)
  • Moving someone else’s underwear from the washer to the dryer
  • Rinsing someone else’s random hairs from the shower
  • Accepting. Every. Damn. Thing. And when you think you’ve mastered acceptance, start over
  • Smelling spoiled milk and potentially caustic lunch meat and performing other random mystery science fridge checks
  • Setting up the coffee pot for the next morning without being asked
  • Biting your lip when your partner is clearly loading the dishwasher incorrectly
  • Watching back-to-back episodes of Deadliest Catch
  • Taking the dog out on cold, rainy days so your partner can sleep in
  • Pretending not to see chin hairs
  • Agreeing that yoga pants are sexy and that Spanx are a silly waste of money
  • Listening to opposing political viewpoints even though you know they are based on Facebook facts and are basically bat sh#t crazy
  • Ignoring your S.O.’s politically-inspired Facebook rants (‘Unfollow’ is a helpful tool)
  • Laughing at jokes you don’t always get and/or fear are founded in partial truths that don’t shine the brightest light on you (Note: Love is never attempting menopause jokes)
  • Assuming the best in your partner’s actions, motives and words always
  • Leaving the light on so your partner can read

Before you go getting your g-strings in a twist, I’m not saying you can’t have it both ways. Yes—you can get the trash taken out and make out in the back of the car. Just not every day. Specifically, not on really cold days or stressful work days or the cat threw up on the new carpet days. That was hard for me to get my head around when I was single. I imagined every day like a “Carrie and Big” reunion day. There would be flirty stares, passionate gazes, smoldering kisses, buttons flying, romantic giggles, sweaty sheets and…well, you get it. TV and movies—especially Hallmark and anything with Jon Hamm—have tainted how we think of love. It’s like movie stars don’t have morning breath and/or require stretching. No achy/stiff joints here!

The reasons I love my husband, XXL, are many, but at the end of the day, he is my home. He is my safe place, the one I want to be in the trenches with. He not only signed up for my version of crazy, but he opted out of the warranty. On our third date, XXL turned to me and said, “I want you to know that I get you. I see what all those other guys missed. I guess that makes me the smartest.” XXL is a master at working in a compliment for himself, but that sealed the deal for me. Later that night I very gracefully face planted on his deck (there may have been wine involved). He got down on the ground beside me and we both turned over and looked up at the stars. Love is messy and clumsy and far from perfect, but it is what makes life worth living.

Love is a four-letter word that starts with ‘like’ and ends with ‘work.’ You better like the one you’re with enough to get down on the floor with them because, trust me, they will require you to pick them up often. If he’s lucky, you’ll like him so much that you’ll be willing to dance across the room wearing a pair of fire engine red ‘Be Mine’ thongs.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Love yourself as much as the one you’re with. And if you’re not ‘with’ anyone, love yourself even more.

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