Love is a complicated emotion that has inspired poets, writers, philosophers, and scientists for centuries. Some cynics swear it doesn’t exist, while hopeless romantics think everyone should set out to find their soulmate.
Despite these disagreements, most people agree that love is a complex mix of feelings, actions, and beliefs. Whether it’s love for a partner, child, pet, or idea, it’s hard to pin down precisely what love means. But one thing is for sure: When we say “I love you,” it’s not just a simple declaration of feelings — it’s also an offer to work on your relationship, which means finding a way to compromise and respect each other’s needs.
When we fall in love, our brains light up in the same places that are stimulated when we get food, water, or sleep. These areas of the brain are also activated when we see photos of a person we’re attracted to or when we listen to music that reminds us of them. But if you look at brain scans of people in love, you’ll see that they’re less active in the area that stimulates primary emotions like anger and sadness.
While we may feel a rush of positive emotions when we’re in love, it can be difficult to sustain those highs over time. In fact, studies have shown that the longer a couple stays together, the more likely they are to struggle with arguments and jealousy.
To ensure that a relationship is healthy, experts suggest focusing on the long-term goals of the pair. “Another key piece to the puzzle is ensuring that each person is fully committed to the partnership, which will require consistent and active effort over a prolonged period of time,” Khalili says. That commitment might mean picturing future dates, adventures, trips, a marriage, or even a family. It might also mean putting in the hard work to overcome obstacles that come up along the way, such as financial or health issues.
In addition to strengthening a relationship, loving someone can also inspire creativity. People who are in love are more likely to create art, such as poems, writings, and paintings. They might also be more receptive to new ideas and experiences, which is why they’re often open to trying things they wouldn’t normally consider.
For example, they might be more interested in learning about the cultures of other countries or try their hand at cooking a new cuisine. They might also be more willing to give up on their hobbies in favor of the people they love. This can help them grow as individuals, but it can also lead to some serious problems if the two aren’t on the same page about what they value in life. That’s why it’s important for couples to talk about their expectations and values early on in a relationship. That way, if they decide to change something about their lifestyle, they can do it together and make the transition as smooth as possible.