Your ethical will: What is love?

 Welcome to tell your life story by answering 12 questions!

This series of blog posts is inspired by the book For you when I am gone by Steve Leder. 

Together we will answer one question at the time, giving us a story to share with our loved ones. We will also give ourselves a chance to reflect. Are we living according to our values? 

You are more than welcome to share your answer in a comment. 

As Steve Leder puts it: 

Telling our stories is a way to share whatever meaning and joy we have found along the way, the depth of our love for others and for life itself. To share our story with someone is to say, you matter to me. 

What is love?

As soon as I read the question, Haddaway started singing in my head. Yes, I do have some similarities with Jenny in my book Love, Guilt, and Motorcycles (Jenny, Jenny in Swedish). Haddaway’s What is love doesn’t answer the question though. 

This is one of the answers in Steve’s book: 

“Love is covered well by Corinthians, but I’ll take us back to my Mayan ancestry where love is defined in a greeting, ala kesh ala kin, which means ‘the light I see in you is the same light in me.’ I believe the sages of the ages when they say we are all made of love - and that when we connect to this light within ourselves, we are able to see it in each other.” 

I find that to be a beautiful description. 

The other descriptions Steve shares often describe actions. 

“Love is picking up something at the grocery store that you don’t like to eat but that your husband adores.” 


“Love is getting up in the middle of the night to hold [my wife’s] hair back when she’s sick and puking in the toilet and then cleaning up after she goes back to bed.”

Others describe love in feelings. 

“Love is a feeling of belonging, of feeling just right.”


“...the butterflies in my stomach when I would see [my husband], the sparkle I saw in his eyes…”

I like words, yet, when I am asked to describe love, no words come. Maybe because words will inevitably fall short when trying to explain love. 

As one person wrote in Steve’s book: 

"Love is a state of being. Love, if we try to articulate what it means, shrinks."

That’s why I can’t find the words to describe what love is. I don’t want to shrink it. 

So what is love to me?

Love is everything. 

Love is life. 

Love just is. 

What is love to you?