Much has been said about love, but if you search the horizon, you will discover that most of the things written about love are either pithy or cynical. Society in general can be cruel and heartless toward real virtue of any kind. In the most popular venues, love is seldom dealt with with any degree of sobriety. Modern humor mocks marriage, husbands and wives, then glorifies every conceivable breech of virtue, such as sexual immorality, profane and obscene values. Real love is a mystery to most people.

Most people never realize the true potential or value of love, nor do they learn to practice the art of love. It is usually very poorly defined. People think they are in love, but they can't explain it. There is a great deal of confusion and cross-referencing of the terms LOVE, ROMANCE, INFATUATION, AFFECTION, TENDERNESS and so forth.

Love may include romance, infatuation, affection and tenderness. But even if those elements are not present, it could still be love. A lot of people will tell you that they are in love, or that they have been in love, but there is a huge disparity between one person's definition of love and another's. Two of my favorite statements on love are: Love is a choice to do the highest good for someone.

Love is the bond of perfectness (Colossians 3: 14): It is the perfect glue. Love is noble and idealistic. Love is the highest of all the virtues. God Himself is love.

Paul classified faith, hope and love as the highest virtues, and concluded that love was the highest of the three. Love is essential to all perfect relationships. What most people never realize is that true love is not always romantic. Romance is different from love, even though ideally, they should occur together. Romance is the emotional component of love.

Romance adds the sparkle in your eyes. Romance adds the perfume and the colors. Romance embellishes the scenery and swells the music. Romance is the gilding of love. Romance is gold leaf.

It is ornamentation. Romance sometimes becomes a means unto itself. It even becomes a cheap substitute for love at times. Some people seem to desire the trappings and embellishments of romance in place of genuine relationships. By comparison, romance is superficial to love. Romance is skin deep.

Love is heart deep. Romance requires things that love does not require. Romance requires gift and surprises and lavish attention. Romance sometimes demands things that contradict love.

Romance is offended when the gold leaf wears off. Romance condemns love that is not eye-pleasing. Romance often injures and denigrates true love because love doesn't always appeal to romance's selfishness. Love is for givers, not gutters. Those who demand to be loved before they will love shouldn't be surprised if no one gives them love. Lovers live in a world of giving.

The gutters, the ones who are looking for love, is a different world. We have a duty to love, but we have no guarantees that we will be loved. We have it in our power to love, but we have no power to force others to love us. It is folly to spend life demanding love from others. If we are true lovers, our entire mindset is in a giving mode. There is no place for bemoaning the ways others neglect us.

Love is fascinating inasmuch that it draws a person into an expression of caring and concern for another. An entirely selfish person cannot love. Anyone whose desires are only for self-satisfaction cannot manifest love. Love requires the giving of ones's elf to another. It involves an element of self-depletion, self-exhaustion. Love is empathic.

It puts itself in someone else's shoes. Love seeks to understand. Love cares. It does not pre-judge. It does not pass sentences. Love does not jump to conclusions.

Love does not throw down ultimatums. Love does not declare war on its object. Love is tender, it is kind, it is forgiving. Love is tuning into another's sensitivities. Love sense's another's strengths and weaknesses.

It uses the other person's measuring stick. It suffers and rejoices on another's terms. Love seeks rapport. It seeks to interface with another at their level. It seeks to relate emotionally, intellectually, physically and spiritually.

Love compromises whenever possible. Love sacrifices personal whims if they are incompatible with the one who is loved. Love abandons pursuits that hurt the one who is loved. Love will do without. Love will dress in the color that another chooses.

Love bends. Love stretches. Love must sometimes keep silent. Love is a desire that someone will fare better than yourself. It is the willingness to spend yourself for the well-being of another.

Love will pay a debt the other cannot pay. It will bail them out for the sake of survival. Love wants the other to survive even if it means death to self. Love will die so someone else can live.