Love has caused people to write poetry, make countless movies and build epic monuments.
On Valentine’s Day (Feb 14.), more than 8,227,925 couples in Canada will enjoy the company of a romantic partner and for some, a proclamation of love will be made, according to Statistics Canada.
Colwood Mayor Doug Kobayashi and his wife Mindy have been together for 45 years. The courtship took place over several months and their love has grown stronger as the years have gone by, he said.
“We have some common interests, but we do our things. Our personalities are opposite, but that’s what I love about her because she is unique.”
The pair have travelled the world together and lived in the United Kingdom at the beginning of their marriage.
“The first six months, she was very homesick, but suddenly, she saw this whole new world and then she didn’t want to leave England.”
But love and romance may not be as straightforward as, say, sending a card or flowers to a new or long-term partner on Valentine’s Day.
Romantic love has intrigued philosophers and scholars for thousands of years, said Azin Nasseri, psychologist and executive director of Vancouver Island Counselling Centre for Immigrants and Refugees.
Nasseri studied romantic love when he was completing his master’s degree.
“The Encyclopedia of Religion talks about how the question of love has been one of the most fascinating and most taught phenomenons throughout history, more than any other concept,” he said.
Love is a pure force of attraction to whatever humans perceive to be as good, true, useful, beautiful, or familiar and it is one of the two forces that most people operate on, Nasseri added.
“One is the full force of attraction, and the other is the force of repulsion. Even bacteria in a petri dish, if you put nutrients on one side, they’re attracted to it. If you put toxins, they move away,” Nasseri said.
There are three important aspects that the study of love will look at when determining romantic love: the object, the quantity and the quality of love, he said.
The quality of love is related to what the object of love is. It could be an object, pet or person, according to Nasseri. The quality is whether or not you might die or go to extreme measures to protect it.
“The quality of love determines whether someone gives their life for an object or not. It is dependent on the object of love. The quantity is about duration. It’s about intensity. For example, in romantic love, when you’re talking about Valentine’s Day, it can be quite intense in the beginning.”
Love can be more powerful than cocaine as the brain releases chemicals, oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins. While the intensity of these chemicals is strong, how deep and long-lasting they are has yet to be tested.
Love is a force that can be used for good or it can be harmful, and if we want to utilize the power of love, we need to be able to use it intelligently, the psychologist said. It’s also directional, he said, noting that the act of breaking up – or falling out of love – represents the force of attraction looking for a new person.
“Whether physical, emotional, intellectual, social, or spiritual connection, they are no longer at the level they were interested in because of the change in human psychology,” Nasseri said. “At the atomic level, the interaction of electrons with the nucleus and protons is an expression of love, and magnetism is an expression of love.”
Such quantum thoughts almost certainly weren’t on the mind of Lanny Seaton almost 60 years ago when he first saw his wife at a piano and fell head over heels.
“Her hair was down to her backside. So I asked my friend, ‘Are you taking her out?’ He said ‘No.’ So I drove her home. And we went out together for two years and then we got married.”
The pair have had some rough patches but have always worked through them. They have been married for 57 years and raised four kids together.
“We’ve always worked together. Before we go to buy a car or something, we always talk it over. And work it out together,” he said.
It’s important to love yourself first before entering into a relationship, said Nasseri, as an unhealthy view of yourself can create a co-dependent relationship and can lead to toxic courtships.
Karleigh Oleksyn of KoLab Barbershop Collective in Langford is engaged to her partner of three years and echoes what Nasseri said.
“Before you get anything serious, love yourself first. And be secure with yourself before you try to find that in something else.”
Oleksyn fell in love with her partner the moment he came into her barbershop.
“It’s not a Hallmark movie, but it’s beautiful to learn about someone like what, you know what their passions are.”