Few words in the English language convey such a range of meanings as the word "love". For many, love is the point of existence, for others it's the manifestation of the divine, for some it is a tool of oppression. No other subject has spawned so much poetry. But what is love? Is it an animalistic urge, a mystical aspiration, a social construct, a neurological glitch, or nothing at all?
Love is a verbShow moreShow less
Like any other verb, love is a relational action, something we engage in and act upon.
While anyone can say they're in love, it takes a certain amount of action to prove it. The best way to show this is through gifts, either to the person being courted or to their family. These differ widely across cultures.
The best known example of this is a 'bride price', a custom in many cultures in which a groom and his family settles on a price paid to the family of his bride-to-be, or a dowry, the reverse. This is done to strengthen family ties, to provide for the bride's family (or the groom's family), and most importantly, to prove dedication of one party to another as a manifestation of love.
More specific gifts or offerings are expected in other parts of the world. In Fiji, men may be expected to present the father of their betrothed with the tooth of a sperm whale. This represents good luck and means ‘I love you’ from the inside.”
In Welsh custom, young women are presented by suitors with intricately carved wooden spoons called lovespoons. This is meant to demonstrate to the women's father that the man is adept at carving and able to provide for them.
It is important to show love, not just to say it. Gifts and tributes form the basis of an authentic love; one in which one party is willing to sacrifice for the other.
[P1] Not just words, but action, is important in demonstrating love.
[P2] Love is best demonstrated through gifts and tributes to show the effort one party is willing to go to for the other.