What’s Love Got to Do With It?
Looking back over the last 20 years of co-learning with my students in the university classroom, I see some things have radically changed while others have stayed fairly constant – both for them and for me. There is no question that each year students in my marriage and family class believe “love” is a necessary precursor to one of life’s major transitions, marriage. However, as they ponder their own life course, and as I have lived mine, what “love” is by definition and how it develops may be different for individuals sharing the same age or birth cohort, necessitating at least a “love primer” for a class on close relationships. Also, what the future holds regarding a lifetime of love has become increasingly salient, as it seems to be conventional wisdom today (albeit quite the conundrum) that marriage may well be a risk factor for love. This article outlines an assignment on the definition and development of love that continues to be rated very highly by students on anonymous, end-of-semester evaluations. In addition, I share some insights gleaned over the years as to how I introduce the topic and particularly how I try to help students glean pertinent information from the existing literature on love. It’s hoped readers will build upon this work and adapt it for their own classrooms.