It’s February 14th, and we all know what that means.

Happy Valentine’s Day! No, really, I hope it’s happy.

In honor of this Hallmark excuse for a “holiday,” I have a few thoughts on love to share, inspired by the following quotation:

“In order that love lasts one has to reinvent oneself.”

The statement above comes from the contemporary French philosopher Alain Badiou. I encountered it in an article in the Guardian (which was excellent – I would highly recommend reading the whole thing) a few months ago, and subsequently saved it on a sticky note on my desktop. It’s one of my favorite quotations about love, since it balances perfectly between idealism and impossibility.

While I may not believe that there is no such thing as Love with a capital L – Love that begins at first sight, never encounters doubts, endures forever (and beyond!), and only exists between two pre-determined soul mates – I also don’t want to believe that love is solely a cultural construct, doomed to end after the first bloom of lust.

Badiou’s conception of love falls perfectly within these extremes, rendering it realistically attainable, but also acknowledging the amount of work compromise and it takes to make a relationship evolve and last. As someone who is currently very much in love but has only been in a relationship for a little more than a year and a half, I appreciate the “you can do it if you put the work in” sentiment of the statement.

I also found hope in another of Badiou’s statements in the article: “Fidelity [is] the randomness of an encounter defeated day after day through the invention of what will endure.” While he acknowledges that love may, after all, be an invention, he also does not deny that possibility that it can endure. This statement took on even more meaning for me after I read an article in the Atlantic titled There’s No Such Thing as Everlasting Love (According to Science). While enduring love may not exist on a purely physiological level, a series of loving micro-moments can be willfully bound together into something meaningful and lasting.

With that in mind, I would like to share a few words with my own love.

Joe: You are wonderful, and I am so happy with you. I want to put in the work to make what we have last, and to continue to reinvent myself with you (we’ve already done it, what, three times?). Even though what we have may be an invention, I know that we can make it endure.

I love you.

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3 thoughts on “It’s February 14th, and we all know what that means.

  1. Aunt Christine says:

    I “love” that you are talking about “love” on Valentine’s Day :o). I recently came across something about love that rang true to me also. I found it in a guilty pleasure of mine – reading “Dear Margo”, written by Margo Howard, daughter of Ann Landers of the advice columnist fame. Margo found it when she attended a wedding and heard the wedding sermon. Here’s what Rev. Ben Bentham had to say about love:

    “In the film ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,’ Captain Corelli and a Greek girk, Pelagia, have, as Americans might put it, ‘made out,’ and Pelagia’s father says to her: ‘When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roles have been so entwined that it’s inconceivable you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, not excitement, not a desire to mate every second of the day; it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. That is just being in love, which any of us can convince ourselves we are in. Love itself is what is left when being in love has burned away.’

    “He’s talking sense. The reality is that love burns like a furnace for a while, but then settles, and then it has to be worked at. The romantic and sexual love described in The Song of Solomon has to grow up, to be adult. There is no future in being ‘in love.’ You have to learn to love. And unfortunately, our cultures seem to have not the slightest shred of maturity when it comes to that. Love in the media is all the burning fire, when what is needed are the strength and wisdom to go beyond being in love to loving.”

    So, the message above is similar to what you wrote and it sounds like you & Joe are on the right track. Happy Valentine’s Day to you both.

    Love you,
    Aunt Christine

    • swish-click says:

      I really appreciate this sentiment in particular: “Love itself is what is left when being in love has burned away.”

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Elicia says:

      Really great. I was pretty interested in what you said Amy, but I really like this response Aunt Christine. Happy Valentines to all!

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