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  • Writer's picturePaula Wesselmann

How Do I Love Thee?

In the song by Tina Turner, What’s Love Got To Do With It, she is speaking of a woman who enjoys carnal encounters with her lover but feels no emotional connection with him. She wants to make her man understand that their relationship has nothing to do with love, which she dismisses as “a sweet, old-fashioned notion.” Tina hated singing the song but followed her manager’s insistence and the song was a hit. 

Now that Valentine’s Day is around the corner, I am once again thinking of the word “love.” With the craziness of our daily lives, I sometimes think we forget to value it. When the word is expressed, it is a priceless gift. It is profoundly tender and passionate. When accepted, it is a conscious decision to treasure another and to dissolve boundaries. It isn’t grandiose. It is the simple daily act of showing you care.

As a young girl, I admired Elizabeth Barrett Browning – 1806-1861. Whenever I read the following sonnet, my heart would melt.

How Do I Love Thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and

height my soul can reach when feeling out of sight for the ends of being and ideal grace.


I love thee to the level of every day’s most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.               


I love thee freely, as men strive for right.                                         

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.                                         

I love thee with the passion put to use in my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.     


I love thee with a love I seemed to lose with my lost saints.

I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears of all my life; and, if God choose, I shall but

love thee better after death.

I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day. February 14th is my birthday, and I have always enjoyed being born on a day of love. The power of love is something we can give at any time, and when it’s offered to others, we strengthen ourselves with its blessings. May the love you give and receive be valued and shared for without love what a cold and empty world it would be.

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