Real Love is Home Base.

Via Jennifer S. White
on Jul 13, 2013
get elephant's newsletter

Ah, the mystery of true love.

Everyone—and I do mean everyone—is always trying to analyze it and break it down for us dumb old humans to better understand.

Is real love selfless or selfish?

Is it kind while simultaneously being honest?

What is love anyways?

First, let me tell you what I think love isn’t.

Love isn’t always patient or kind or anything else pretty to write about (even when you desperately want it to be).

Do you know what it is, though?


Real love is always safe.

I’ve been with my partner for nearly 20 years—through angsty adolescence and the birth of our child-rearing years.

We’ve moved around together and changed careers.

We’ve helped each other build our dreams—and reminded the other why they were worth reaching for when we felt too low to look up wistfully at the clouds.

In essence, he makes me feel safe—like my home base.

Sure, sometimes we get on one another’s nerves.

I have a propensity to be a bitch, and he has the tendency to let me be—right up until he can’t stand it anymore.

Then we sulk and pout or, worse, hash it out, and then, of course, we make up and kiss and are lovey-dovey once again.

So, yeah, I don’t think real love is always cutesie and easy—because being a human being isn’t usually these things either.

We’re not Biblical superheroes.

We might try—we might aim for that loving perfection—but we’ll repeatedly fall short because we’re living, breathing, beating hearts not perfect red shapes on Hallmark cards.

I think love is many things, which is part of what makes it so hard to define and dissect and package up with a nice-looking bow for everyone to know they’ve found exactly the right thing when it appears on the door step. I think this is true because, fortunately and unfortunately, people don’t fit into these easily organized boxes.

We’re messy.

We crave change and newness, but then we nearly never know what to do with it when we actually get it.

Some people adore the chase—those exciting, hormonal sensations of striking flint and finding flinging sparks—and in my never-humble opinion, these are the people who are less likely to find real love.

Because love settles.

The fire diminishes into embers that rekindle and flare up occasionally, but that initial scary spurt of flames isn’t quite the same, but don’t worry, there’s a reason for this—and the reason is that love is safe.

It’s cozy and it keeps you warm when the world is cold and harsh and bitter.

Sometimes that fire flares up seemingly to burn you.

You become afraid of love because you discover that it can hurt too (even when it works out and falls back into that Goldilocks setting of “just right”).

What is “just right?”

To me, love is perfect when you find someone whose imperfections mesh and blend with yours.

True love expects rocky, uncomfortable moments and it is patient in the sense that it knows you’ll climb over this difficult terrain and eventually wind up sitting on top of the hill in the soft light of the peach and purple sunset smooching.

Love knows that these imperfect passes make the more blissful ones that lie ahead that much sweeter.

And when my husband irks me and I bother him, I still feel protected.

I feel secure enough to adventurously explore the rest of my life.

I guess in a way, love is selfish because it allows you to be you while still being an us.

Yet it’s also selfless because you have to always be willing to give 110%.

Because that’s another thing about love—it’s not 50/50.

Sometimes it’s 60/40 or 90/10—and sometimes it feels 100/0—but you still can’t keep score.

Because at the end of the day, love is your home base.

It’s where you go because you want to run there—with the crisp wind on your pink cheeks, hair sailing behind you, salty sweat on your upper lip—you want to run there into open arms that make you feel free from harm.

Because love is safe—even when it’s also a mountain full of other things—it’s still always that.

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” ~ Maya Angelou

Seane Corn talks real love with Waylon:

Like elephant love on Facebook.

Ed: Sara Crolick



About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She's also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.


5 Responses to “Real Love is Home Base.”

  1. Ashley says:

    Thank you so much for this! As a somewhat new and young couple (we've been together for nearly two years) we have our fair share of ambitions, fears, quirks and habits that sometimes mesh and sometimes…not so much. It has been a battle on days but we always come back to that safe place that you talk about. It really does feel like my home base and I feel even more grateful for that after reading your article. Nicely written.

  2. Jennifer White says:

    Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts, Ashley.
    I'm by no means a relationship expert, or a people expert for that matter (sometimes I can barely figure myself out).
    Still, it seems to me that relationships change (hopefully towards growth and evolution), they ebb and flow like everything else in life, and relationships are all different because we are all different—but I still say that regardless of your expectations they should always feel safe.

  3. May be now i realize that why she leave me, i can't bring her safe, not yet. I can give her everything but that just not enough.

  4. Laura says:

    Jennifer, I loved the article. And, I agree. I also think that loving couples in long term relationships, sometimes, can find it hard to navigate between the comfort of a happy relationship and the thrilling uncertainty of sexual attraction.

  5. Travis says:

    Jennifer – just came across this article and shared it with our singles community. I think that so many people searching for love don’t first take the time to learn what love actually means. You have hit the nail on the head with this article. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us.