Ester Perel on the definition of love
Do you have a working definition of love?
It’s a verb. That’s the first thing. It’s an active engagement with all kinds of feelings—positive ones and primitive ones and loathsome ones. But it’s a very active verb. And it’s often surprising how it can kind of ebb and flow. It’s like the moon. We think it’s disappeared, and suddenly it shows up again. It’s not a permanent state of enthusiasm. I’m thirty-five years in a relationship, I practice. And I have two boys—I practice. It’s not just romantic love.
I think that definition today of love—“you are my everything”—where you really see it, this complete exaltation, is in wedding vows. Have you ever noticed? I mean, it’s, “I will wipe every tear that streams down your face before you even notice it’s going down.” I think a realistic vow is “I will fuck up on a regular basis, and, on occasion, I’ll admit it.”
Source: Love Is Not a Permanent State of Enthusiasm: An Interview with Esther Perel, in The New Yorker