Love is sometimes pictured as a meeting of personalities in some mystical assurance of baseless emotion. The intellect is put on the other side of a high stone wall, and a chill, grey atmosphere is contrasted to the riot of colored flowers and warm sun-filled grass on the “emotion” side of the wall.
The impression is given that one needs to make a choice between “mind” and “heart,” and that to choose one is to deny the other. “Come away from the harsh use of logic, you over there on the cold side,” shout some. “Love, feel, experience—don’t question. Just let yourself go. Is love there? Is it not there? Don’t ask. The very asking may drive it away. Jump into experience and feel.”
Is this true? Human love, though limited and imperfect, can grow and deepen through the years. How does this take place?
Love grows through deepening understanding, a better knowledge of the other person. It grows through expression. If one discovers a new reason to admire, enjoy, and be stimulated by the other person, he should verbalize this discovery. “I love the way your mind works.… I love the compassion you have for minority people.… I love your sensitivity to my need of music right now.… Thank you for getting those concert tickets for tonight.… How nice of you to think of making those tapes for Johnny in the hospital. I love you for that.” Concrete reasons for loving another human being need to be expressed to that person, and the expressing will help the person who is doing the verbalizing also.
Dwelling in one’s mind on reasons for love does not diminish the feelings of love; it increases them. Making new discoveries of qualities in the other person’s character through recent things he or she has done adds to the content of love. And verbalizing ...1