Love Around the World

The month of February brings with it pink hearts, flowers, candy and undying declarations of love. In my private practice with couples, the issue of how love is expressed on Valentine’s Day by the husband or boyfriend is big! While some criticize it as a “Hallmark Holiday”, Valentine’s Day is here to stay. And this holiday prompts me to ask the question: What is love?

Some popular answers include:

“Love is a verb.”

“Love is patient. Love is kind.”

“Love is never having to say you are sorry.”

“Love is all the little things she does such as being nice to my parents.”

If that last one threw you off, think again. While romantic love is assumed to be all about passion and poetry, our understanding of love is actually very rooted in culture. The definitions of love can be different from country to country. Certain forms of love are more popular in the western world. However, other cultures see love differently.

In some cultures love is expressed and gauged more indirectly. Wine and roses do not always equate love. Love might be read between the lines rather than shouted from the rooftops. Love might be gestures of caring, actions, and other non-verbal expressions. So if your partner is nice to your mother that might in fact be rated much higher on the “love scale” than a dozen long-stemmed roses.

I came across this study that looks at similarities and differences in what love means across cultures. Hope you find it interesting. Oh, and enjoy that box of candy too!