"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." — 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Type "How do you know you're in love?" into any search engine, and see what you find. There's nothing but sappy lists that seem to confuse loving someone with liking someone. Phrases like, "They're the first thing you think about when you wake up," fill up the articles. Yeah, so is my toothbrush. "You daydream about life together." Yes, and I also daydream about a life where pasta is a health food. "You can't stop staring at them." I also can't stop staring eat that cherry red Camaro, doesn't mean I want to marry it.
While these shallow examples of "love" may be true for someone in love, they don't capture the width and breadth of love.
Loving someone is a conscious decision you make every day.
Some days, it's easy to love your significant other. Like the days when they send you a sweet text or when they kiss your forehead before leaving for work. But some days, loving them isn't as cut and dry. Some days it's hard to love your person. It's hard to love them when they've hurt your feelings. It's hard to love them when the two of you argue. This is where love is not singsong and happy all the time. Sometimes, loving someone hurts. It hurts you when the one whom your heart loves is broken-hearted. It hurts to see them hurt.
You've made a decision to care for them, and about them.
Choosing to love someone is choosing to choose them. It's choosing to respect them always, it's choosing to value their opinion, it's choosing to be patient with them when it isn't easy.
Love is choosing to be kind to them even when they chew too loud. Loving them is being proud of their accomplishments, not envying their success.
Love does not boast, love is not too proud to admit wrong-doing.
Love is not narcissistic, love is not a photo opportunity.
Love values honesty and fosters trust.
Love is hope, and love always strives for another heartbeat, another breath, another day.
Love is persistent when it is not easy.
Love is a strength.