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Column: Is love free or earned?

With Valentine's Day approaching, Stephanie Zoer gives her thoughts on love.
Stephanie Zoer

A dear friend of mine posted a question on social media if love was free or earned, and at the time I felt it was free, but through more thought on the subject, I now realize that some love is earned.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I had to search deeper into my thoughts about this, and the many diverse kinds of love a person may experience.

I still believe that love is mostly free because we do not have control over our emotions of love.

One person suggested that one would need to have respect and trust to have love for a person, and I did not really agree with this either, so how does love work?

Trust is earned. I can trust someone without loving them. It can also be the other way with having love, but no trust for the same person. There are many that I do not trust, and our federal government would be a good example of that.

To me, a trusting person is someone who is honest, a person one can confide in, and not worry about them running their mouth to the next person. A person who would treat my animals well when I am not around is someone I would trust.

Respect is also earned. I have a great deal of respect for people who work hard for their living and are honest, whether you are present or not. I respect people who show kindness to animals and people who have special needs.

I have no respect for people who lie, or cannot admit they made a mistake, or can never apologize for that mistake. Once again, our federal government would fall into this, as they have no respect for the people of this country.

Trust and respect can change in a moment for another person or animal. If one trusted a horse and then got bucked off, the trust would change quickly. Lying about someone would change the trust and respect quickly.

Love, on the other hand, is different, and far more complicated to say the least. Many of us fall in love without even realizing that it has happened.

Some people fall in love at first sight, others need to date for awhile and then slowly begin to feel the emotions.The love I have for my husband is completely different than the love I have for my children.I am in love with my husband, but it does not mean that I love my children more or less, but I do love them in a separate way.

I grew to love my husband through dating and getting to know him, and this love grows each day, but I loved my children before I even held them in my arms.

We are taught that we must love our parents and siblings, but like any relationship this can grow cold over time, depending on how a person is treated, and then this love needs to be earned back, depending on the circumstances.

My pets are family to me, and they love us unconditionally. I love them because they never get angry and are always happy to see me.

The saying you can pick your friends, but you cannot pick your family, does this refer to love? I believe love through friendship is earned; this, too, does not happen overnight.

Friendships grow through trust and mutual respect and then turn into love, but this love is different than a spouse or children.

That being said, this does not mean I would not go to bat for a friend, like I would for my children, because I would. Depending on who you love, and how you love, will depend on whether respect and trust are involved.

So, this Valentine’s Day and every day, show the person or animal you love that they are important and they are genuinely loved.