Let’s face it, finding love isn’t always a Night at the Roxbury.

We have all felt sparks with someone who hasn’t felt it back, and let go of that perfect-on-paper person once we realize paper isn’t a perfect substitution for real connection.

This, however, isn’t a recollection of love lost and love found. Instead, it’s about how to really know what love is – how recognize it, but more importantly, how to embrace it.

My true understanding of “love” happened the other day – a perception that was shifted through 3 wise words of a Taxi driver.

I was on route to The Book of Mormon; a famously controversial and hilarious musical that I had just won tickets to the day before. And, unaware that I would gesture a cab over who would change my life forever.

The cab driver looked in the rear-view mirror and smiled at me. I smiled back.

“Who are you meeting“ he asked.
“Oh, just a friend” I replied.
“A friend?” he teased, as if he knew it wasn’t just.
“Okay, not just a friend” I muttered back.

It’s true, I felt unsure about this person – we were newly dating, and the sparks were subtle rather than intense explosions of awesome.

Sensing my uncertainty, the Taxi driver switched gears (and subjects), and began to tell me about his wife.

“How did you meet” I asked.
“What was the moment you fell in love with her.”

Their marriage had been arranged, and the love … well that is where those 3 wise words come in.
Interestingly, the Taxi driver spoke not of “I.LOVE.YOU,” but rather insisted that “LOVE.IS.CARING.”

“When someone cares about you” he said, “they have the ability to melt your heart. Everything else is merely attraction.”

I never truly thought about love in this way. I mean, yes, I think most couples aim to share a mutual caring and respect for each other, but does “caring” wham us in the face like undeniable attraction? Or, does it tend to be a secondary afterthought that you hope will withstand past the initial butterfly’s, fireworks, and overall compatibility?

Love.is.caring, I repeated softly under my breath – I didn’t want to forget.

The Taxi driver told me to keep an open mind. Look for signs of caring rather than signs of attraction. Un-check those boxes that you believe one should fit, and when you meet that person who shows you they care, be open enough to embrace their affection.

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