More young adults than ever doubt they can find real, lasting love. In today’s throw-away culture, a “forever love” that can endure the ups and downs of life can seem unrealistic, even unattainable.
Yet, we all feel a deep need for love. In fact, scientific research indicates that the brain’s hunger for love is just as strong as the body’s desire for food.
So, it’s not surprising that the age-old question—”What is love?”—remains one of Google’s most popular searches. Love is life’s deepest mystery. It promises paradise, but is fraught with challenge and pain.
Perhaps if we could begin to understand the mystery of love, we might find it to be more attainable than some may think.
With that in mind, I set off to help young single people explore the question “What is love?” and see if we might find that love is truly possible, after all. The result is a new documentary film that brings together scientific discovery, fascinating stories of lived experience, enduring wisdom and an eternal vision. This film—What is Love? Life’s Greatest Journey—will be shown in more than 750 theaters nationally on October 16th.
What is Love? Life’s Greatest Journey
Research that Paradisus Dei conducted earlier this year with the help of Sentient Decision Science indicates that single-status people are less optimistic about lasting love, as well as less likely to say they think they will marry someday, than those in relationships. People in serious relationships are 8% more likely to say lasting love is possible, 19% more likely to want to marry, and 24% more likely to believe that they will marry someday. (Interestingly, those living together were the only group to be more likely to believe that they will marry than say they want to marry.)
Importantly, those who are in a serious relationship are significantly more likely to say that “Love is beautiful” than those who are single status (or those living with someone). It’s clear that from the inside, love looks beautiful. But from the outside, lasting love may seem unattainable.
One of the most powerful insights we uncover about love in the film is that what we think of as romantic love is just one facet of the totality of love.
True, lasting love consists of other forms of love, as well. To begin to understand this, consider a few questions:
- What can science teach us about “animal attraction” to help us understand what causes someone to fall in love with another person?
- How can love grow to sustain a relationship for decades, often through difficulties and struggles?
- What can lead an exceptional person to forgive someone who has hurt them terribly?
- Why will a mother or father risk their life to protect their child?
- Is there a dimension of love that does not die, outliving us as human beings?
What Is Love?
We hope that young adult singles find a powerful message of hope in the What is Love? documentary, and then want to delve deeper into the mystery of love. So, we will be launching a nine-part What is Love? series, featuring 30-minute videos and resources for young adult discussion groups, next February. In fact, the series kicks off on February 14, 2024 – which is both St. Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. The series develops in greater detail nine themes established in the film, including:
- Love is a Mystery
- Love is Desire
- Love is a Free Gift
- Love is Communion
- Love is Expansive
- Love is Unconditional
- Love is Sacrificial
- Love is Eternal
- Love is Possible
We hope that those leading young adult ministries at parishes and dioceses across the country will help their young adult singles explore this message of hope within the mystery of love. To learn more about the upcoming What Is Love? series, sign up for updates at https://www.whatislove.org/#news