What’s the Most Surprising Thing About Love?

Ph0to by:  Ivan Maigua

Photo by: Ivan Maigua at: Photo Botos

Poets have written about amour and singers have been singing about love since Adam met Eve. As long as love has been around, it still has the power to amaze and thrill us. Real Simple readers share insights into love’s delights and mysteries.

By Real Simple Editors

No matter what happens, you may not forget but you always forgive!
Emma Weiberlen
Bronx, New York

The surprising thing is how much you can learn about someone when discussing what it is that they love. When I first meet people, I always try to ask them about their loves ― what food do you love, what do you love most about living in the city, what is one piece of music you absolutely love?

It’s very revealing to hear someone speak about something or someone they love. Their face lights up, you can hear passion in their voice, and you find out what it is that really gets that person excited! It’s a great way to get to know someone and see that person in their most positive light.
Jacqueline Schmidt
New York, New York

Love has a way of returning again and again, with much less work and with just as much meaning!
Kimberly Ammons
Suffolk, Virginia

It always wins. We are all guilty of it! You swore you would never marry. Then it happens. You meet someone who finally understands your family ― someone you can laugh with, cry with, and everything in between. Love takes the win! Kids? Forget about it ― especially in this economy. Who can afford them? Nine months later that baby looks at you like you are the most important person in his world. That’s another point for love! You fix the neighbor’s car, tie a child’s shoe, hold the door for a stranger, return a lost puppy, forgive an old friend. Love remains undefeated.
Jennifer Baglio
Stratford, Connecticut

You find you have higher standards than you ever thought you had when you find someone to love and someone who loves you. Love makes people want to grow together and make ourselves better people for the ones we love.
Piper Hyland
Oakland, California

As a single mother who was alone for eight years, you would think the most surprising thing about love was that I would find the man of my dreams sitting next to me at my son’s baseball game. But the thing that surprises me the most is how much in love with him I am over three years later. I still get butterflies when I see him. Finding love that truly lasts later in life surprises and amazes me.
Fran O’Brien
Saddle Brook, New Jersey

My best friend once told me right before she got married that the most surprising thing about her love was her ability to admit when she is wrong, and apologize to her husband. With everyone else she is her usual stubborn self, but with her husband she is able to be her true self, even if she has to apologize for that sometimes! According to her, love does mean having to say you’re sorry.
Katie Charest
Baltimore, Maryland

I have always thought that if you were in love you would have those ooey-gooey feelings. I have been most surprised these past two years when I realized that love has nothing to do with those ooey-gooey feelings. Love is actually a sacrifice, and many times when I love someone else it actually hurts! I’ve found that when I lay down my wants and desires for someone else, that’s real love.
Celia Storey
Canton, Texas

It is like a Ninja, popping up when you least expect it and turning your once safe world upside down.
Susie S.
Alexandria, Virginia

Love doesn’t judge.
Taysha Riggs
Los Angeles, California

I had no idea what was going to happen when the “I can’t get enough of you” phase ended. I thought nothing could compare. Truth is, I wouldn’t trade the intimacy, trust, and comfort of being with my husband for over 15 years for anything. It does get better, deeper, and more significant.
Laurie Ciulla
Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey

It can come from someone I barely know. For example, from the man in need that I shared a sandwich with on the street, or from the 6-year-old child in a shelter who showed appreciation for the coat I gave to him. In those instances, love wraps around me with a ferocious strength.
Stephanie Morgan
Greenville, South Carolina

It takes on so many different forms: love for my husband, for my cat, for my friends, for ice cream.
Kelly Nishi
Erie, Colorado

Love is not deterred by morning breath or aging skin or lack of makeup or extra weight, because true love has a solid foundation.
Pamela Blomgren
Oskaloosa, Iowa

It happens when you least expect it. The moment you give up on love and think about purchasing 20 or so cats to become that lonely “cat lady,” it hits you like a Mack truck.
Marianna Harrison
Chicago, Illinois

That after 15 years, my husband and I still reach out to each other with sappy “I miss you” calls, even when we see each other every day.
Lety Jones
Discovery Bay, California

I never knew that being in love would help me overcome my fears. I am not afraid of getting sick, because I know my husband will be there to bring me soup and buy me tissues. I’m not afraid of being a parent someday, because I know he will love our children as much as I will. And now I dare to wear heels that are too high for me, because I know he’ll be there to pick me up if I fall. He’s just that good.
Molly Ebel
St. Louis, Missouri

The older I get, the better it feels to love than to be loved.
Heather Markus
Lansdale, Pennsylvania

When I became sick with two chronic autoimmune illnesses two years ago, my love for family gave me the strength I needed to push past the bad days. Love turned out to be the magic elixir that helped me overcome the disabling symptoms of my diseases. And for that I’m eternally grateful.
Erin Prindiville
Wildwood, Missouri

How much work it takes, but also how much fun it is to work on it. I have been married for eight years and love my husband passionately. And he makes sure of that. He treats me as if he is still trying to make me fall in love with him. I do the same for him.
Anna Boyd
Bullhead City, Arizona

The process of slowly falling in love with the really unexpected things about someone. For example, I am totally smitten with the way my fiancé, Jason, smells early in the morning, after a long night of sleep. It’s so human and so absolutely him that I can’t help but inhale and snuggle up.
Julia Davenport
Cincinnati, Ohio

Twenty-nine years later, I am still amazed by the way I instantaneously and utterly fell in love with my two newborn babies. And though that love has been tested over the years, it has only grown stronger.
Debbie Wnuk
Rehoboth, Massachusetts

How simple it can be. Love is felt through the small gestures and quiet moments that emerge throughout any given day: the sound of my husband whistling, the touch of my daughter’s hand on my cheek, my son’s smile on the basketball court when he finds my face in the crowd.
Robin Seitz
Hailey, Idaho

That I finally understand what it is. After 20-plus years of marriage, during many of which I thought, If things get too rough, I’m out of here, I realize just how much my husband and the union we have built mean to me.
Lisa Gioia-Acres
Las Vegas, Nevada

That it’s as strong now as the first day I said, “I love you.” My love for my husband of four years has evolved and strengthened from what it was on the day we wed ― two weeks before Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans metro area and we were displaced from our home. It has been tested through house hunting and a work-related injury (that he still hasn’t recovered from) and morphed into something completely different.
Amber Sisson-Manuel
Hammond, Louisiana

One word: everything.
Courtney Beardsworth
Baltimore, Maryland