While it’s always wonderful to receive romantic cards, beautiful flowers and mouthwatering chocolates, especially on Valentine's Day, what most of us want at this stage of life are gestures of an altogether different kind — ongoing actions that attest to the bracing love another person has for you.
A kind of love that forgives disappointment and provides ongoing comfort, builds you up and moves you forward.
A kind of love that’s refined by life’s ups and downs and has less to do with fleeting chemistry or long-term habit than with essential character.
A kind of love that makes someone want to hold your hand and have your back.
These 11 quotes shed light on grown-up love:
1. “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
— Jess C. Scott, The Intern
2. “The mature response to the problem of existence is love.”
— Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving
3. “I will love you always. When this red hair is white, I will still love you. When the smooth softness of youth is replaced by the delicate softness of age, I will still want to touch your skin. When your face is full of the lines of every smile you have ever smiled, of every surprise I have seen flash through your eyes, when every tear you have ever cried has left its mark upon your face, I will treasure you all the more, because I was there to see it all."
— Laurell K. Hamilton, A Lick of Frost
4. “Come sleep with me: We won't make Love, Love will make us.”
— Julio Cortazar, Hopscotch
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5. “…love, in its truest form, is not the thing of starry-eyed or star-crossed lovers, it is far more organic, requiring nurturing and time to fully bloom, and, as such, seen best not in its callow youth but in its wrinkled maturity.”
— Richard Paul Evans, The Letter
6. “Falling in love you remain a child; rising in love you mature. By and by love becomes not a relationship, it becomes a state of your being. Not that you are in love — now you are love.”
7. “Love can’t mature in one room. It has to come out of the full sharing of everything: joys, aspirations, downfalls, all of it. That’s the only real path to love.”
— Leon Uris, Trinity
8. “I will love you as we grow older, which has just happened, and has happened again, and happened several days ago, continuously, and then several years before that, and will continue to happen as the spinning hands of every clock and the flipping pages of every calendar mark the passage of time, except for the clocks that people have forgotten to wind and the calendars that people have forgotten to place in a highly visible area. I will love you as we find ourselves farther and farther from one another, where we once we were so close that we could slip the curved straw, and the long, slender spoon, between our lips and fingers respectively.”
— Lemony Snicket, The Beatrice Letters
9. “If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door, I’d embrace you, kiss you, and call you back for one more. If I knew that this would be the last time I would hear your voice, I’d take hold of each word to be able to hear it over and over again. If I knew this is the last time I see you, I’d tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already.”
— Gabriel Garcia Marquez
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10. “You know the reason The Beatles made it so big?…'I Wanna Hold Your Hand.' First single.…brilliant. Perhaps the most…brilliant song ever written. Because they nailed it. That's what everyone wants. Not 24/7 hot wet sex. Not a marriage that lasts a hundred years. Not a Porsche…or a million-dollar crib. No. They wanna hold your hand. They have such a feeling that they can't hide. Every single successful song of the past fifty years can be traced back to 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand.' And every single successful love story has those unbearable and unbearably exciting moments of hand-holding.”
— Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
11. “With my last breath, I’ll exhale my love for you. I hope it’s a cold day, so you can see what you meant to me.”
— Jarod Kintz, This is the best book I’ve ever written, and it still sucks