What is love? This question has stymied philosophers and fools alike for as long as time has been recorded. It’s a simple four-letter word and yet it is incredibly complex. It is one of the messiest, confusing, frustrating, exhilarating, and amazing of all human emotions. It is the basis on which all decisions are made, and when it comes down to choosing between love and something else like money, fame, etc., those with heart know that love wins every time.
Dictionary.com has over 28 definitions for love - categorized under noun, verb and idiom. Then there are 16 synonyms and a few antonyms thrown in for good measure. For me it just doesn't hit the mark.
For this Valentine’s Day I propose we do away with the English language version of love. I want something more; more explanation, more definition, and more strength behind the word. Somehow saying I love grilled cheese sandwiches takes away from saying I love you to a person, even though I really do love grilled cheese!
Let’s try French, the language of love. Love in French is amour; however, when it comes to saying I love you; they use the less than romantic verb aimer – to like. Je t'aime can mean I like you or I love you. Since there is only one word for liking and loving it’s a wonder things don’t get more confusing. I never really understood the reasoning behind like equals love as the French are known for being lovers - not likers.
Never fear, there is an even stronger word in French and that word is adorer, pretty much the same as the English adore. When you say Je t’adore to your love, you are saying you not only have a strong affection for them, you also adore them, and who doesn't want to be adored! Plus when you say it in a sexy language, it makes it all the more appealing.
The Spanish language is about as close as you can come to differentiating between I love yous. Te quieromeans I love you and is mainly used for family and friends. Should someone whisper Te amo to you in Spanish; you know it's the big one. It’s I love you and I’m in love with you all wrapped into one short, two word, five letter phrase.
So now that you’ve had your word lesson on love, try them out. Roll them around in your mouth, see what feels right for you, then look into your beloved’s eyes and let them know how you feel. Be forewarned – if they don’t know what Je t’adore or Te amo means you will not get the response you hoped for. In that case, a simple I love you will do just fine.
As for me, this Valentine’s I’ll be hanging out with people I love, no matter what language you say it in.