By Dr. Nero Cavaliere
Our society is notorious for using the word “love” to describe the affection we feel for just about anything. We use it to express our feelings towards a parent, child, brother, sister, friend, animals, even a school, state, or nation. We say we love our house or our car. We’ve taken the word “love” and used it so much that people in romantic relationships often ask the other party “but, do you really love me?” In using the word in so many different contexts we have, in a sense, neutralized it’s power to correctly describe the emotions we actually feel. For example, do we actually feel the same love for a pet as we do a spouse? Is the love we have for our closest friends the same love we feel towards God? Allah? Jehovah? When two people stand before a cleric and declare their love for each other is their love the same as the love they express towards their families? The answer is “no”. The problem is that we only have one word in our language that expresses our positive feelings for a person, place, or thing, and that is the word “love” Sure we can use “like” to express our feelings but compared to the word “love” it’s the difference between a dwarf and a giant. So, when we want to express deep affection we say we love our household pet, or we love our country. Intuitively we understand what the person means. Yet, there are those who banter the word about in romantic relationships to the extent it becomes almost meaningless. That’s probably why the term “lusts” rather than “love” is used to portray the male’s attraction to the female. The point is that the strongest positive feelings we have are expressed as “love” and the differences in meaning is degree rather than kind. Maybe we need a new word in our vocabulary that aptly describes these differences.

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