Valentine’s Day is coming up soon. It’s also an anniversary for Ben and me: the anniversary of our first kiss. (I know, I know, cue retching noises. The day and the event were not intentionally synced.) Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019, will be Ben and my four-year anniversary. Four years! We met when we were teenagers and got together a few months later. I’ve known him four years now. Sometimes it feels like it’s been forever, and sometimes it feels like it’s been four weeks.
Love is interesting. I love that Ursula Le Guin quote, “Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.” I think that is an excellent explanation for why I feel like I have known and loved Ben forever and sometimes it feels my knowledge of and love for him was born only yesterday. It’s because it is born, and it grows, and it weakens, and it heals, and it thrives, and it weakens again, and it dies, and it is reborn again. It’s not a perfectly circular cycle; more often than not, stages skip or repeat. It is nothing if not unpredictable.
Love changes with time, with experience, with knowledge. Love changes because people change. Change is the only truly inevitable thing in life, besides death. People learn, people grow, people age, people gain experience. Hopefully, when people do change – and they always do, no matter how monumentally or infinitesimally – they change in a way that complements their chosen partner.
I also believe that love is a choice. Falling in love isn’t; falling in love is emotions, selfishness, adrenaline. It is, for most people, effortless and unconscious. But, loving someone is a choice. Loving someone is choosing them over every other possible match. Loving someone is putting them and their needs first. Love is putting in effort to make things work.
So, whether you’re in love or loving or both, this Valentine’s day, remember that the most important thing is making the person you love, romantically or platonically etc., feel loved and appreciated. That’s all any of us ever really want, anyway. And to Ben – I love you endlessly.