Last week, I sent out a request asking for your advice on the elusive, fragile utopia known as love.
Your response was overwhelming and I thank you. I wish I could have shared them all.
Two of the most poignant responses I received were from women who have suffered the loss of the love of their lives.
Kathy Krusel of Boardman writes, "I am a single mom who was widowed at the young age of 37. I have learned out of my experiences you can never love your spouse enough. ... My advice to all of you, is to live each day to its fullest; appreciate your spouse, say 'I love you' and be fully in love with them."
Andrea Leonardi of Poland, lost her husband to cancer last year. "It is easy to fall in love," she writes. "It is much harder to stay in love but the love that endures, that grows and deepens with the years is more precious than words can say."
Quoting advice: Several readers shared their love advice, referring to the Bible. Paul's advice to the Corinthians in I Corinthians 13 is a favorite for many. "Love is patient. Love is Kind." (Of course, Paul also told the Corinthians in Chapter 7, "Those who marry will have many troubles in this world.")
Arlene Pae Eckenrode of Burnsville, N.C., approaches love by the golden rule, "Love one another as you love yourself."
Gayle Ridge of Poland looks to the Crosby, Stills and Nash song entitled, "Love the One You're With."
"Forget about the Brad Pitts of the world -- they have foibles too." Gayle writes, "Give your partner all of your positive attention. You will be surprised how perfect he/she really is!"
Laura Grohovsky of Youngstown refers to Shakespeare for matters of the heart. "Love is not love that alters when alteration it finds."
I believe Judy Bossone of Youngstown echoes Shakespeare's sentiments. "Never try to change a person," she writes. "Love them for themselves."
Selfless: Rick Morocco of Beaver Township shares a beautiful love illustration. "Draw an 'I' then cross it out and you will have love."
Tom Granchie of Struthers, echoes, "For love to survive, one needs to always be thinking of your partner, not of yourself."
Richard Harvey of McDonald has a spin on that "selfless" love theme.
Richard advises, "It is better for a man to just say, 'Honey, you are right. I wish I would have thought of that.' And say it like you mean it."
Kymberly Foster Seabolt received her most valuable piece of love advice from a dear, old friend. "Marriage requires falling in love many times -- with the same person."
Jean Pinkard of Cortland refers to love advice her father shared with her. "Love many. Trust a few. Learn to paddle your own canoe."
For some, love advice has come from years of experience.
Harry "Bud" Ross of Boardman has learned the meaning of love during his 48 years of marriage to his wife, Lois. "When you care as much about the needs of another as you care about your own needs, you've found love."
Bob and Jocelyn Wilms of Austintown have enjoyed 50 years of marriage. "Marriage is not 50-50," Jocelyn writes. "It's 90-90."
William and Virginia Schumm are working on 61 years together. "Laugh a lot," William says. "Keep smiling," Virginia echoes.
Laments: For others, love has eluded their grasp.
"I lost the best love," laments Jane Macejko of Poland, "when I was searching elsewhere. Broken hearts mend, but when?" She signs her letter, Valenblind.
Still others find love advice just plain hard to come by.
Robert Macomber of Canfield writes, "I cannot think of any good advice about love ... I just blunder along, following my heart."
Mary Trenkelbach echoes Robert's sentiments. "I give advice about love to no one. Let him learn from experience," she writes. "I will say this, if anyone really wants to know what true love is, get a beagle."
Mr. Spot's eyes are filled will love for Mary. "What more can anyone ask for?" she asks.