What Does Love Look Like To You?

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Article by Wendy McCance

When I was young, I used to wonder what love looked like, what it felt like and how would I know when I was in love.  I remember talking with friends and family about what it felt like to fall in love and how I would know when I was struck by it.

No one told me the intricate details of what true love was really like.  I’m not talking about butterflies in your stomach (that’s attraction) and I’m not referring to that feeling of anticipation and excitement over seeing that certain someone.  I am talking about the love that gets you through the rough times and makes the good times great.

I have always been a bit hyper-sensitive to what my kids have witnessed as they are growing up.  Although the two younger kids were really too young to remember much, my oldest saw everything that love was not.  Since the divorce, I have remarried and have been happily in love for six years.  My ex-husband on the other hand is on his third wife and the relationship they have sounds as toxic as the one I experienced.  The kids are with their dad half of each week and see what a bad relationship is like.

Thankfully, the kids love my husband and he truly loves them as though they were his very own.  When they are here, they see true love and all that accompanies it.  It’s the hyper-awareness I have to what the kids have experienced that has made me do what my own family never did for me.  I talk with the kids about love.  I tell them what it is really like and also what it definitely is not.  I’m hoping that by talking with them long before they begin to date that they will have more confidence and a stronger understanding of what they should look for when coupling up.

This is what I’ve told them.

Love is:

*Two people who give each other respect.  They build each other up, but never tear each other down.

*Fights can happen, but when there is love, the fighting is fair.  No one puts the other person down or points fingers of blame.

*Communication is key.  Without good communication, a relationship won’t work.  This means that each person has their say without interruption.  There is feedback from the other person as well as eye contact showing that they care and are listening to you and vice versa.

*The person brings you joy on a daily basis.  You laugh a lot and are playful just like two kids.

*You want to do things for each other.  You want to make each other feel cared for.  You do these things to express your love not because you feel guilty or pushed into it.

*There is a lot of physical contact.  I’m talking about a hug, holding hands, sitting up against each other and snuggling.  It happens naturally because you just enjoy being near each other.

*You build the other person up to others even when they aren’t around.  You are proud of them and can’t help but say some good things about them.

*You don’t keep track of who did what.  One person doesn’t do it all.  You are intertwined and work as a team.

*You talk about the future often because you know you will still be together and like to dream with each other.

*It’s not the words that mean anything (although saying I love you, or you look good is always a good thing to hear) it’s the actions.  It’s easy to say anything, but actions tell the truth.  Your partner should be someone who is looking out for you and wants to nurture you in a variety of ways.

Love is not:

*Verbal abuse such as put downs, screaming, or saying anything ever that puts you in a place of fear.

*Fear is NEVER a part of love.  There is never a reason to feel fear in a relationship.

*Anything physical other than loving gestures is NOT love ever.

*You should never feel as though you are fending for yourself because the other person won’t be there for you.

*Being ignored or feeling overlooked on a regular basis is not love.

*Feeling as though you have no value in your partners eyes.

*Feeling as though you crave love and attention to the point that it has made you feel very insecure.

Of course I have not hit every point, but I’m sure you get the picture.  These are the things that I feel are so important for my kids to know.  I feel so grateful that I got a second chance with a wonderful man.  I’m so happy that we are a good example for the kids every day.  I am also comforted in the fact that the kids don’t just see what it is, but experience it with us.  When the couple is happy, the kids are happy.  The positive energy rubs off onto them and there becomes a nice comfortable cocoon of love and happiness that is spread through the family.

What does love look like to you?  Were you lucky enough to experience real love within your own family growing up?  Did someone ever tell you what it looks like or should feel like?  I can’t blame my family for not teaching me what to look for.  My parents had an unhappy marriage and screaming, insults and lack of support was the marriage that they had.

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]
Wendy McCance

17 thoughts on “What Does Love Look Like To You?

  1. “Happiness” comes from within. God is love and love is God in one fashion or another. Where there is no love, there is no God. My first marriage of 22 years ended when he decided he didn’t want the responsibility of kids anymore and he “went back out,” without looking back (no support or contact)…….. (until the kids were of age and not his responsibility anymore). After three years I got married to someone who whooed me all of those three years, He was the nicest gentleman a lady could meet…. until the ring was on the finger! THAT VERY NIGHT Domestic Violence was what my kids and I learned first hand! What a horror! Thankfully, that ended pretty quickly. Just because someone is on their third marriage does not mean they are the ones responsible for ruining the original marriage or both privious marriages. I’m burned out on men at this point. I don’t even want to consider a third sirious relationship. I know my needs like no other can and I am my responsibility. No one can “make me happy.” I have to decide to be happy in the knowledge that God loves me.

  2. My husband and I first talked about getting married 47 years ago. Unfortunately, we each married other people. Big mistake. HUGE mistake. Ten years later we got back together and have been together ever since. I can honestly say that I love him more today than ever, and I think the same is true for him. We are each other’s best friend! (Also, he has great legs for an old coot.)

    I have some concerns about your theory of always fighting fair. One tries, of course, to be the “better person” during a fight. But long ago my husband and I came to understand that you can’t hold what you say in a fight against the other person, because during a fight everybody uses the tools that they have at hand. We always knew that a fight had reached it’s lowest point when it got down to the “my mother - your mother” stage. “That sounds just like something your mother would say.” “Well, at least MY mother would never…..” etc. When it reached that level we usually ended up laughing. It was just too stupid.

    And while it would be nice if “The person brings you joy every day,” let’s face it, there will be days, weeks even, where he ain’t bringing you any joy and vice versa. But true love keeps you together because you know down deep inside that it will return.

    My husband and I often say that we stay together because we realize that no one else would put up with either one of us. LOL

    Kay in Hawaii

    • Hi Kay, I always love to hear what you have to say.  You always have some good insight to share.  I could tell that you and your husband had a special bond when I had read the comments you wrote back to back on the way your home looks and what it says about your personality.  There was a synchronicity to your comments.  You could feel the connection from reading each comment.  Immediate impression was, what a cool couple.  As far as fighting fair, I think sometimes I get a little narrow in my opinion, basing my words on my personal experience only.  That is why I am always grateful to the comments I receive.  It gives me an opportunity to expand my knowledge and to gain some new perspective on how the people around me react and feel about any given subject.  As always, thank you so much.


      • I always tell Brad that we might as well stay together I’m not going to get any better and he’s not going to get much worse. LOL

  3. You really got it right! I agree that respect is primary. I have been blessed to have 53 years of marriage to a wonderful man. Now that he has died, I have only happy memories to keep me going.

  4. Where to start…. Humm. I had a wonderful loving family as an example while growing up. In fact I just wrote about my mom (http://findingourwaynow.com/2012/04/a-daughters-memory-of-her-mother.html). Even seeing and experiencing that I found myself in a loveless relationship in my first marriage. The point is I knew it was. That marriage ended. I remarried a few years later to a wonderful man. Our relationship has grown stronger with each passing day. I feel lucky.

    You do the best you can for and with your kids. That foundation will guide them through life even when they make mistakes.

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