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There’s no other topic widely and excitedly talked about than love. People giggle over it in K-dramas. Pop stars sing about it. Writers pore over three to four novels narrating it. And all over the world, people celebrate it with roses and cheesy greeting cards every year. There are so many ideas attached to love. Intimacy, romance, marriage–you name it. Yet the simplest, most compelling of all is contained in a four-letter word as well: home.
Love always feels like home. It sounds abstract to put it that way. But ask long-time couples and they will definitely attest to these definitions of love:
It Welcomes with Comfort
Home is what we long for after a long, exhausting day at work. As soon as you open the door, you dive into the couch, throw off your shoes and socks, and just watch your favorite television show. No pressure. No judgment. True love feels the same.
You can’t wait to see the person you love, even though they’ve been a constant presence in your life. You are comfortably yourself when you’re around them. You laugh wildly, leave dorky photos on their phone, and sulk over the ending of a rom-com movie, knowing that you’re loved wholeheartedly, regardless. There’s no need for pretenses, precisely because love gives up on the idea of perfection.
On the flip side, when love doesn’t allow you to be comfortable — when you would have to put on a face or take on a certain character you’re clearly not — then maybe it has evolved into something else. Perhaps it’s not love anymore. Love always feels like home.
It Nurtures Self-Growth
From your first utterance of sounds to late-night thesis writing sessions in college, down to failed attempts at cooking sinigang, the home has witnessed how you learned in life through time. But more than being a silent witness, it provided space for your life-long education. In the same way, love nurtures growth.
Love supports you in different endeavors. It has probably stayed with you in the toughest university life moments and reassured you that you’re a great cook despite a too-sour sinigang. Love waits, even. If growing the self means going out into the world on your own, love patiently stays and anticipates for your return.
On the flip side, when love doesn’t leave room to grow — when it stifles aspirations — then perhaps it has left. Maybe it’s not love anymore. Love always feels like home.
It Gives a Safe Space
Home is a safe space for when we feel vulnerable. When life gets too overwhelming, your first thought is to go to your bed and cry all day. When you feel rejected or shamed, you want to grab that tub of ice cream from the fridge and stay all day at your couch binge-watching. Love likewise provides a safe space for our vulnerabilities.
Remember that time your love shed tears when you first shared your shaky family relationship? When they reassured you that you’re beautiful despite not feeling it? When they sat quietly at the edge of the bed and held your hand in silence while you mourned over the death of a close friend? Or all those times they wrapped you in embrace during turbulence in flights? Love is our safe sanctuary whenever we feel small, alone, and lonely. In turn, we become theirs.
On the flip side, when love doesn’t reach out in times of vulnerability — when it fails to understand that it’s okay not to be okay — then it may have been lost along the way. Perhaps it’s not love anymore. Love always feels like home.
It Lasts Forever
We put down our roots in homes we see ourselves living in for the next 10, 20 years. It’s where you will grow your career, have kids, and spend the rest of your life with your spouse. In the same manner, love lasts forever.
It stays even when the going gets tough. It remains true to vows uttered years back. It simply loves despite the inconvenience and the pain. On the flip side, love also knows when it’s time to say goodbye, when there are too many scars that don’t heal. It doesn’t mean giving up on forever. It only means opening doors for self-love. Sometimes, loving yourself means moving forward.
Love always feels like home. How are you loving, and how are you loved?