Tuesday, March 19, 2013

LOVE - Noun or Verb?

LOVEA small word for such a spacious and elusive phenomenon.  Of all the mysteries that enchant us, love may be the one most sought after.  Love, of course is a huge topic every day in my therapy practice.  Clients ask me:   "How can I love myself more?"  "How can we have a more loving relationship?" “Why do I want and fear love?”  "How can I heal from this failed love affair?"  "Am I in love or am I in an addiction?  When asked outright, “What is love?”  many clients stop dead in their tracks.  Though it seems to be something they desire, they seem to have difficulty describing the very thing they are looking for. “Well, I don’t really know, but I think I know what it is when it’s there.” They often respond to me.  Love may be the most haunting of life experiences and the most used word in the world, but what in the world is it?

Recently a student asked me if I considered love a noun or a verb.  I posed the probability that it is both.  In my book, Love’s Way, I describe love as the ‘Big Something’, a measureable energy that is as distinct as mental energy.  It is an amorphous, intangible state of being, a mysterious something we seem to keep searching for.  It is a power. That makes it a noun.  But unless we do something with the energy of love that is everywhere, including in us and around us, it goes idle.  Though love is not a relationship, it’s in our human relationships we get to energize love or withhold it.  It is up to us.  We get to take the noun love and make it a verb. Love put into action improves the immune system, increases life expectancy, wards off colds, lessens depression, and creates zest in children.   Love is the cheapest medicine there is and there is no end to its supply.

So, I throw the question out to you.  Do you consider love a noun or a verb and why? 


  1. By and large we beings either produce or consume. This is how I like to think of "the Big Something". Am I a consumer of it, or a producer of it? One produces the noun but consumes the verb. After all, don't we "make love"?


  2. Love as a verb calls us to acts of generosity towards others. Rather than some intangible concept, love asks that I make occasional sacrifices by moderating my own wants and needs and be of service to others.

    It asks me to live in the grey areas of life. This may mean accepting someone's shortcomings or accepting that part of them which I find reprehensible. Love accepts the hate within all of us. It accepts the delight in all of us. Love is the antithesis of shame. It affirms our humanity and helps us negotiate the tension between the individual and the communal. How does one find personal identity and fulfilllment in community with others? Love permits us to adapt ourselve and coexist with others.