What Love Is

By Scott Westerman (Audio)

Every Valentine’s Day, we revisit one of Colleen and my most requested essays.

After 4 decades of marriage folks ask us how can two people still be so much in love? Here’s our not so secret sauce.

Love is being 16, realizing that there is a 5 year age difference between the two of you, and building a relationship anyway. A relationship that is just as strong and steadfast today as it was when you first realized you were in love.

Love is a sharing a circle of close friends who are generous, faithful and attentive.

Love is deciding that raising a healthy family came before career aspirations and discovering that by doing so, both of your careers became more rewarding than you could have ever realized.

Love is carrying your tears on one another’s shoulders and laughing so hard together that your nose runs.

Love is beginning and ending every day by saying, “I love you, no matter what.” Even when you are royally pissed off.

Love is sending your baby daughter, who is just learning how to mimic everything you say, into daddy’s home office to tell him to “eat my shorts”, followed by daddy sending her right back to tell you, “daddy says you are a booger.”

Love is listening to your 3 year old son sing “Away in a Manger”.

Love is being broke, but feeling rich when the two of you tuck your kids into bed every night.

Love is tickling one another until someone says, “stop please”.

Love is sitting next to one another and holding hands at every concert, play and assembly your kids ever had.

Love is letting your wife taunt the ref and being willing to risk your son’s team getting a technical foul in the process.

Love is letting your husband fly every kind of airplane and go skydiving with the Army Golden Knights even though you know if something goes wrong the life insurance won’t pay out.

Love is standing together to demand the best education and best health care for your family, even if it means working two jobs.

Love is the four of you drinking lots and lots of root beer and then recording your own rendition of Alfred E. Newman’s “It’s a Gas!”

Love is seeing your wife find a career passion and watching her revel in it.

Love is watching your husband inspire his team to rediscover their self esteem and rise to the top.

Love is being side by side, watching your children graduate and get married.

Love is living in 13 houses over 3 decades and making each one a home.

Love is preserving date night every single week and never forgetting to do the things you did to win your spouse in the first place.

Love is discovering you have cancer and telling your husband to start his new job anyway.

Love is thinking that your wife is just as beautiful when the chemo makes all her hair fall out.

Love is realizing what “In sickness and in health” really means and sticking around.

Love is adopting amazing kids who aren’t your biological children, and teaching them what love is by your example, even if you sometimes fail.

Love is your combined sigh of relief when you are told that you are in remission.

Love is being present when your grandchild is born and seeing your spouse’s face in their smile.

Love is being told your cancer is back and believing that the two of you can beat it again, together.

Love is a lifetime of shared experiences that continually redefines what love is.

Love is deciding that whatever cards fate deals, you will live your days to the fullest, as two individual souls who have have always believed that life has been a much better ride because you loved one another.