The word ‘love’ evokes different images, emotions, and hopes for each of us. Thus, there are as many ways to answer this question as there are individuals offering an answer. Just as the meaning we each ascribe to the word ‘love’ takes different shape depending on the context of the relationship in which it exists, our personal definitions of love evolve as we navigate the unique trials and successes of our lives. While love may very well be an intriguing concept to contemplate, I wonder if the ambiguity inherent to the word love leaves us at a loss for how to love better. While most everyone is aware of the startlingly high divorce rates, there has been less attention offered to the equally startlingly number of couples who feel underappreciated, lonely, and disconnected in their marriages after the joyous occasion of bringing a baby home. Thus, another important question regarding the concept of love pertains to the action of love—how can we be more loving? Perhaps there is merit in defining love so as to answer this question. The definition of love that resonates most strongly for me is that of the Chilean biologist, Humberto Maturana. While based in biology, his work has had a significant impact within the field of marriage and family therapy. In their book, The Tree of Knowledge, Maturana and Varela stated that love is simply, “the acceptance of the other person beside us in our daily living.” If we could each commit to this idea of truly accepting the other for even just one hour, how would we approach our interactions with our spouses differently? Perhaps we would be less judgmental. If we were to wholeheartedly embrace this definition of love the next time we find ourselves entering into conflict with our spouse, might we approach the conflict with more curiosity and less contempt? Within family life there lies an abundance of occasions to nourish our marriages and thereby teach our children about loving relationships. It is possible that love, is not the confusing and elusive concept that we often consider it to be. What is love, really? What if love is simply the act of accepting each other? How will you love today?

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