What ‘Love’ Really Means Because It’s Not Just A Feeling

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Genessa Panainte

Love. What the hell is love? We try so hard to make sense of it, to understand it, to grasp it between our fingertips and hold it in our palms. We want, so desperately, to label it. To box it up. To put it on a shelf that we can easily pull from when we’re ready. To feel comfortable and steady and grounded as we free fall into another person.

But love, I’ve learned, is undefinable.

Try as we might, we can’t quite pinpoint exactly what it means to love someone, to know what that word means or how it feels or becomes tangible in our lives. When we think of ‘love’ we think of butterflies. We think of the first moments in meeting someone, the way our heart jumps out of our chests, or the weakness that happens in our knees. When we think of ‘love’ we think of kisses. Of fleeting, beautiful moments. Of bliss.

But love isn’t just those initial moments.
And perhaps it’s not even those moments at all.

When we look at our relationships, are we ‘in love’ in the beginning? Or are we just wrapped up in the attention we have from someone else? Are we drawn to their souls, or their physical bodies? Are we in love with their spirits, or the way they make us feel?

Because love is not just a feeling—love is an action, a manifestation of emotion, a choice, a moment of faith where we decide, with all of our selves, to be with and for that person no matter what.

For some reason, we’ve told ourselves that love is beautiful, is easy. That when we meet ‘the right’ person, they’ll fall into us so gently, so beautifully. That when we learn who we’re meant to be with everything will fall into place, like puzzle pieces finding their matches, like simplicity.

But real love is complicated. Real love is messy. Real love is decisions and actions and thoughts and emotions, and continually learning who someone is and how that someone can fit into the chaos of our lives.

Real love is knowing all the ways this world, this person, and you are imperfect—but believing in the fact that you will make a beautiful relationship, regardless of everything that says you won’t.

Love isn’t simply a feeling. It isn’t simply two hands intertwined, or two bodies coming together in lust. It isn’t being with someone who makes you laugh, or smiling as you go on dates, or kissing the lips of someone who you’ve learned to appreciate as someone even closer than family.

Love isn’t just moments that you remember, spots on a timeline in your life. Love isn’t the person whom you feel the most comfortable around. Love isn’t even finding your ‘home.’

It’s pushing, day after day, to keep that ‘home’ feeling over time and through obstacles. It’s conflicting and confusing and a whole lot of change as you both grow, together and separate.

Love is actually challenge. It’s meeting someone who pushes you to be greater, bigger, brighter than you were before. It’s finding someone who you see fighting battles with, and for. It’s discovering that your life was incredibly full before, but falling into them has made it even more complete somehow.

Love is imagining another person’s arm around your shoulders as you grow old. It’s seeing parties and weddings and anniversaries with them by your side. It’s family, maybe even children, sprinkled around you. It’s the thought of ‘forever,’ as hard as that is to actually visualize.

But love is also all the challenges that come with those things—the messiness, the confusion, the fear, the failure, the faults you will both carry forward and learn to battle in a relationship with one another.

Love is not just a feeling. It is a choice, a decision, an action, a movement. A movement towards another, despite what stands in your way. Despite all the ways the world will tell you to give up or walk away. Despite all the things that will try to break you down, break you apart.

Love is a movement towards one another, despite the impermanence of this world.

Love is saying that in this temporary life, you will choose to believe, choose to give one another your everything, choose to be one another’s, against all odds. TC mark

Why Family Estrangement Is Roughest at the Holidays

(Editor’s note: This content is sponsored by grandPad and previously appeared in 2016.) When you’re about to ask a friend or a colleague whether they’re going home for the holidays this week, think twice. The holidays — so often tied to family and tangled in questions of going home — are not always so happy…

The post Why Family Estrangement Is Roughest at the Holidays appeared first on Next Avenue.

Wife’s Choice of Surname Impacts Perception of Power in Marriage

Wife’s Choice of Surname Influences Power in Marriage

Over the last half-century, American women have increasingly chosen to keep their maiden names. A new study suggests a wife’s choice of surnames may influence perceptions of her husband’s personality and the distribution of power in the marriage.

In a three-part study conducted in the U.S. and the U.K., Dr. Rachael Robnett of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and her coauthors concluded that men whose wives retain their own surnames after marriage are seen as submissive and less powerful in the relationship.

The study, published in Springer’s Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, is the first to examine whether perceptions of a man’s personality vary depending on whether his wife takes his name or retains her own.

“The marital surname tradition is more than just a tradition. It reflects subtle gender-role norms and ideologies that often remain unquestioned despite privileging men,” said Robnett, an assistant professor of psychology at UNLV.

Using a variety of research methods, researchers found a connection between gender-typed personality traits and perceived power dynamics.

Traditionally, instrumentality or aggressive and dominant traits are associated with higher status and power and are often ascribed to men. Expressivity or more loving and nurturing traits tend to be associated with lower status and power and are often ascribed to women.

However, findings in Robnett’s study show perceptions of these gender norms change based on a woman’s surname choices.

“Our findings indicate that people extrapolate from marital surname choices to make more general inferences about a couple’s gender-typed personality traits,” she said.

In the first study, researchers surveyed U.S. undergraduates and asked them to characterize a man whose wife retains her surname after marriage. Respondents described the man using expressive traits and commented that he was “caring,” “understanding,” “timid,” and “submissive.”

In the next study, participants in southeast England read a vignette about a fictional engaged couple and took a survey about their perceptions of the woman’s surname choices. Respondents perceived the man as higher in expressive traits and lower in instrumental traits when the woman retained her own surname.

In the final study, also conducted with U.S. undergraduates, the researchers examined whether hostile sexism, or an antagonistic attitude toward women, helps to explain individual differences in participants’ responses to questions of power in a fictional marriage.

Respondents who held firmly to traditional gender roles and can be described as hostile sexists perceived a man whose wife retained her surname as being disempowered.

“We know from prior research that people high in hostile sexism respond negatively to women who violate traditional gender roles,” Robnett said.

“Our findings show that they also apply stereotypes to nontraditional women’s husbands.”

Source: University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Things to Take Care of Before Getting Married

Things to Take Care of Before Getting Married

From our growing age, we imagine what our life would be once we get married but we never plan the things we need to take care of before getting married. Every successful marriage consists of two people that have done some enormous things and have been in every situation before they decide that they are ready for their marriage. Marrying someone is undoubtedly the biggest commitment to make because sharing everything that has been yours the whole time with another human being and taking care of that person at the same time is what makes marriage a hard step. Compromising for each other makes a strong loving bond between a couple who make mutual decisions. In order to make sure that you live your dream wedding life, you need to take care of a few things that you will never regret.

Make communication a key

Every relationship goes through various arguments and fights but only communication and compromise make things better between two people, therefore, it is important to communicate with another person about everything in order to eliminate any kind of misunderstanding between each other. Marriage is a really strong bond and all it requires is to make your partner comfortable with you in everything. Communication actually helps in reducing the number of fights between a couple and enable them to understand each other in every situation, no matter what they go through. Therefore, before getting married make sure you make communication a key.

Share a list of things you won’t compromise

Before starting any relationship, it is important that you share the things that you can never compromise on such as your career or some other priorities. There are several things that you cannot live without and your partner should actually respect that. Before getting married make sure you talk about all your priorities and things you don’t actually like. Similarly, you should respect your partner’s priorities and things that he cannot compromise on. These little things help your couple grow strong day by day and you get to understand and love each other the way they are. Therefore, talk it out and see what each person wants from their life.

Share your finance with your future partner

You should share your finances with your future partner so that the other person knows everything about your financial status and your affordability. Share your short-term goals and where you stand and your savings and spending. This little measure before getting married is important because your partner will know your financial status and will not expect more than what you afford. One of the major reason of marriage breakdowns is the money problem, therefore, in order to avoid this, it is great if you share your finances with your partner because then your couple will overcome money problems together without dumping each other for this reason.

Meet your future Family

It is important to meet your future family in order to understand their customs and traditions that they follow. Also, you get to know what they actually want or expect from you. You are not just going to live with your partner, also, you are going to handle his or her family, therefore, make sure you get to know them and realize if you can deal with their drama or not.

Shop together

Shopping together helps in various things such as you get to know what the other person likes and what doesn’t appeal him or the amount of money the person spend on shopping for themselves. Before getting married make sure you guys go shopping together and understand each other’s likes and dislikes. also, try to discuss it with your partner if you would like to shop yourself for the wedding along with his family. There is nothing wrong if you go for your wedding shopping along with the groom’s family, instead, it will help them shop better for you according to your choice. try out every dress that you like and be comfortable. You can also try out some new stuff from Indian clothing Los Angeles.

Meet your partner’s friends

Meeting friends of your future partner can help you make your decision. Friends and gatherings usually reflect the personality of a person. You can know what kind of a person your partner is only by meeting his friends. If his friends are quite responsible with their jobs and everything, you can easily identify that your partner is going to be responsible for you too. But if you find his friends to be extra free and open-minded, maybe it gives you hints why you might not like to marry this person. Therefore, meeting each other’s friends is a really good step before getting married so that you get to know them and get to know the personality of your spouse as well.

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