I'm a big fan of love, in all of its manifestations. Whether it's romantic, amical, familial or self-love, I am all up for it! Sure, I haven’t always been like this. I’ve had my moments where I’ve wanted absolutely nothing to do with love, and often used to question its legitimacy.
“What is love?”
“What's this intangible thing which makes us care so much about others?”
“Where does it come from and why does it make me feel this way?”
Oh I was there many, many times. But grasping and fully understanding love… I believe it comes to us in different stages. It varies from person to person; with every couple, relationship, and friendship. Love is one of the most powerful and purest emotions which comes from within and maybe this explains why everyone experiences love so differently. The fact that this great emotion comes from a place so deep within us changes everything. Have you ever wondered how many events in our lives have touched us in a way where we’ve ended up changing and redefining the manner in which we feel, express, and perceive love? Personally, I find this to be utterly fascinating.
So in my quest to better understand the meaning of true love, I spent an evening at Central Park interviewing couples. We talked about how they met and what they believe has helped them solidify their relationship, making it last for as long as they’ve been together (and hopefully for many more years to come). As for me, I'm in a very good place when it comes to love. Hands down I've never been as in love with life, with myself, with my friends and family members... And with a man who I love deeply and who makes me want to be a better person each and every day.
It's a wonderful time to celebrate love, and with this I wish you all a happy Valentine's Day!
BRITTNEY AND MARK
We saw Brittney and Mark from a distance and decided to talk to them briefly. It was very visible they were both on cloud 9, so we didn't want to bother them much. Mark told us how they were coworkers and how he was testing the waters for a bit until he finally decided to ask her out on his birthday. As Mark describes it, everything with Brittney feels right. They have been together for the past 4 months and you can clearly tell from a distance that these two are crazy about each other!
LINDSEY AND DAN
So how'd it all happen?
Lindsey: We met at Ministry of Sound, it’s a club in South London.
Dan: I was battered… And she took advantage!
Oh man, please elaborate!
Dan: I was mounted, basically!
And she just fell in love?
So how did you guys keep in touch after that?
Dan: She put her number in my phone, and I remembered the morning after. We met each other again, a week after that and had a real conversation where I was not out of my mind!
And you guys have been together for…
Dan: A year.
And you are visiting her right now?
Lindsey: Well I live in San Francisco, he lives in London and he’s moving to San Francisco in the next couple of months!
And there you have it, beating long distance like true bosses! Wishing these two all the best in their worldly adventures.
ILDIKO AND BRANDON
What’s the story?
Ildiko: we met a little over a year ago at a Halloween party.
Brandon: Well, I went to a Fleetwood Mac concert and then decided to go to a house party with one of my buddies and apparently his roommate works with her! So her and her friend showed up and then we just hit it off at that party!
What were you guys dressed up as?
Brandon: I was Clark Kent.
Ildiko: I was trying to channel like a Sherlock Holmes type of detective haha!
So you were both going for the superhero, saving the world from trouble type of look?
Brandon: A little bit. I guess we could say that! It’s our night job haha!
Ildiko: Honestly, it was one of those things where I wasn’t even planning on going out. I was sitting on the couch in my sweatpants and it’s like a friend who’s kinda like, maybe she’ll call, maybe she won’t! Then at 11:30pm she calls, “hey we’re going to this party – do you want to come?” So I just threw up something together and went.
Brandon: So we met around midnight and just hit it off. And we’ve been together ever since! Yeah, and then we moved in together a few months later.
Ildiko: A few months, he means over 6 months later.
And when you saw each other, did you just turn around and knew “Oh my gosh I love her!”
Brandon: Um, yeah! A little bit of alcohol involved, but you know, once you can see through that it’s perfect! Haha
For how long have you been together?
Ildiko: Over a year and a couple of months now.
What would you say has helped you keep your relationship going strong?
Brandon: The fact that we get along so well. I mean, it’s just so natural with her compared to other people in the past.
*dramatic Pause. They were being extremely cute and we had to give them a moment.
Brandon: We live in Washington, DC and New York is her favorite city so I took her to New York for Valentine’s Day. We usually try to come up here every few months because she loves the city, and so do I, and for the first big thing - it was Valentines Day, and I surprised her… First time in New York and now we’re back!
Ildiko: Actually last year! And we were just talking about the plan for a year and a half from now, for us to move up here.
Ildiko and Brandon are not your ordinary couple, they are best friends and this was my favorite thing about getting to know them! New York will work out beautifully for these two.
MARIA AND DANIEL
So, how’d the magic happen?
Maria: We met in Spanish class, I was a freshman and he was a senior. They had assigned seats so they rearranged the seats and he happened to sit in front of me. He wouldn’t stop turning around and asking me for a pencil every day. So I knew he was going to ask for a pencil and I was ready every day, and he would never give them back. I first started with mechanical pencils and I was like, “Ok, this is kind of expensive” so I just got regular wooden pencils.
Daniel: She wanted me to ask for a pencil! Haha!
Maria: Hah and then he asked me to prom, his senior prom! So I was excited as a freshman.
This was all in high school? You guys have been together ever since high school?
Maria: So, we went to prom and after prom I was like… “I like this boy!”
Daniel: But then she didn’t want to be with me anymore…
Maria: Yeah, so we broke up for a few weeks and a month later we got back together.
Daniel: She regretted it!
Maria: Haha yeah. But then we started dating again! And then after that… Let’s see, what happened after that? We’ve been together what, 7 years?
Daniel: 6, 7 years?
Maria: Yeah, 7 years!
Daniel: 2 years married and 5 years as boyfriend and girlfriend.
Maria: Yeah, we waited 5 years and then he proposed and I said yes! And we’ve been married ever since!
What sort of crazy made you ask for those pencils every day?
Daniel: Well, I thought she was beautiful! You know? And I don’t know, I didn’t think I was that ugly so… Haha!
Maria: You had a chance!
Daniel: Yeah, I thought I had a chance!
What would you say has made your relationship last for this long?
Maria: I think it’s God centered.
Daniel: That’s the center of our marriage and our relationship.
Maria: You know, first being boyfriend and girlfriend, and then our engagement was beautiful too, but it’s all been about keeping God as our center and knowing that He’s the one who gives us love, to show each other love.
Maria and Daniel were the first couple we interviewed for this post. Their eyes were glowing as they talked about each other. Their relationship has a solid center and their story is a truly unforgettable one!
ANONYMOUS ("ELSA AND FRED")
How long ago did you guys meet and how did it all happen?
Fred: We grew up together in Pittsburgh, PA and met seriously…
Elsa: After the war.
Fred: After the war… Well, no!
Elsa: Yeah, that’s all right.
Fred: After World War II.
How’d you know there was an interest for something more than just a friendship?
Elsa: Oh because you do, when you know everybody’s known each other for all your lives… You know, this sort of happens.
Fred: We fell in love!
Elsa: Yeah haha!
Fred: Been together since 1948.
Elsa: 67 years!
And what would you say has been key in helping your relationship grow and last for all this time?
Fred: That’s a good question… We soldiered on!
Elsa: Haha soldiered on! No, we’ve had a wonderful time, a marvelous time! That’s the main thing, we’ve had a good time.
Fred: I would put in a little more, sincerely I would say… We fell in love and stayed in love.
Elsa: You know, you just have to keep working at it. It’s nothing that hard to work on, but you just don’t give up.
Fred: And have a good sense of humor!
Elsa: Oh definitely, a good sense of humor! That’s really, really important!
As soon as we got to the park I told Diana I wanted to talk to an elderly couple. After doing all of our interviews, we hadn't had any luck! Until we saw these two getting up from a bench, walking hand in hand to their next destination. I wasn't really sure how to explain to them I was doing an interview for my lifestyle blog and they preferred to keep their identities anonymous, which is why I've opted to call them "Elsa and Fred".
They've been together for 67 years and they're madly in love with each other. To all the people hash-tagging their Valentine's pictures this weekend, THESE are true relationship goals. Don't be fooled.