Happy Valentine’s Day weekend, readers.
A few weeks ago, I asked you — in about 100 words or less — to tell us what love is. Thoughtful, compassionate, humble responses filled my inbox with messages of putting others first, laughing through hard times, showing kindness to each other.
Couples married for decades wrote about partnership. A few readers gave us the ingredients for the perfect recipe.
Several pointed to the 13th chapter of St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians as their guiding star: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails.”
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us – and now, with each other.
“Who you are now and who you were seven years past are two very different people. Seven years in the future will be a new version of you, too! To me, love means finding someone you can grow with. Finding someone whose character is compatible with both your present and your future self is how love comes to thrive. ‘The spark that kindles the heart and the mind illuminates a lifetime.’”
Bryson Velletri, Hempfield
“Understanding how much God loves you is required to understand how to love. The highest level of human love is in Ephesians 5:25, ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.’ Two scriptures that reflect this love are I Corinthians 13, which explains how ‘Love protects, trusts, hopes, always perseveres.’ And Ephesians 4:29, ‘Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their need, that it may benefit those who listen.’ I have 54 married years, enjoying God-honoring love daily.”
Don Pickel, Mount Joy
“The first reference I seek in defining ‘love’ is taken from the Bible, and particularly St. Paul’s definition to the Corinthians. ‘Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.’ St. Paul went on to pen that three characteristics are desired to remain loyal to the ‘Way’ (Christianity), faith, hope and love. ‘But the greatest of these is love.’”
Bud Hart, East Drumore Township
“Commitment, respect, thankfulness, forgiveness. The Bible says ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.’ (It’s what I strive for.) My wife and I have been married for 39 years. She is a wonderful, kind woman. I’ve told her on more than one occasion, ‘she makes me want to be a better man.’”
“Recipe: A Life of Love
A kind thought (one for you, one for me)
A learning mindset (a constant for you, a constant for me)
Welcoming gestures (many for you, many for me)
Encouragement (an abundance for you, an abundance for me)
Affirmation of ALL (I love you for you, you love me for me.)
1. Actively live a belief system that elevates ALL, free of discrimination.
2. Surround self with those who inspire. We are the company we keep.
3. ‘Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.’ – Maya Angelou
Nikki Rivera, Manheim Township
“Humor and laughter. It is what gets you through difficult times, when your love is really tested. It is very easy to love someone when everything is going great. If you are with the right person, when things get tough, a smile and a joke go a long way. My husband is a survivor of pancreatic cancer. I have had some health challenges, as well. At these times, humor and laughter was the best medicine any doctor could have prescribed. From someone who has been married 51 years to all the new couples starting out, I wish you happiness.”
Marge Jesberger, Lancaster
“True love is the strongest force in the universe. It is a superpower straight from God Himself. When we understand how much our Creator loves us, we cannot help loving Him back. And then it becomes automatic to love the people around us because they are made in His precious image. We see His face in other human beings, and we love them for His sake. This is a love that is eternal – that nothing can break; a love that itself becomes the key to every true happiness.”
Lilyan Rendon, Denver
“I was married for 67 years when my wife passed in 2020. I think the key to love is like writing a complex mystery novel. Love involves continual interaction of many characteristics — companionship, respect, patience, win/lose, shared pleasures, caring and many more. Unlocking the story over time is different for all lovers, and no one knows how long their story will last. Having children, providing homes, problem solving, careers and health issues are examples of chapters in every couple’s book. The key is building good memories together. My memories are of a fun-filled mystery story, lived with my best friend.”
John Thackrah, West Lampeter Township
“Love is caring so deeply about another person that ‘their’ wellbeing and happiness become more important than one’s own. It is placing their interests before what we want or need. You might say the key to true love can only come into play when there is total self–abandonment. Love is sincerely listening to a partner’s thoughts and feelings, which provides a reciprocal atmosphere whereby each partner can receive validation from the other. Love is feeling passion without personal motive – not a passion referring to lust but a passion that encompasses all that is important to us, all that gives us inner joy and peace.”
“Love is the key to happiness. It may even be the key to the universe. Love is not something you feel on occasion but is something you allow to flow through you. The most important step is to love and let yourself to be loved. Love, kindness, compassion, generosity, gratitude and meaning are some of themost important ingredients. Once you let love fill your heart, the desire to help others will flow. Help, assist, support and encourage. Give, whether that be material things or even a kind word. Show kindness and treat people the way you want to be treated.”
Marianne Gibble, East Lampeter Township
“I believe that the key to love is service. One of the most valuable things we can share is ourselves: our time, our talents and our energies in serving others. My life now requires the 24-hour support of people who are motivated by their love to serve others. Every day, I experience love through the dedication of these amazing support personnel who are fulfilling their unselfish call to service.”
“Trust, passion and a willingness give completely of oneself.”
Daniel J. DiBernardo, Lancaster
“To love is more than saying or repeating the three little words: I love you! You have to show the meaning of them spoken each and every second of the day. Embrace the action of doing so! Be respectful of the people in your life! Be slow to anger! Life can change in a split second. Appreciate the love God has placed in your life. Don’t take it for granted! My hubby and I both suffered previous love losses. But God granted us both second chances to love again. We will celebrate 16 loving years together this year. To God we give the…