Love: sometimes so evident and sometimes so confounding. At times, it is so difficult to comprehend and oftentimes it is practically impossible to define. Sometimes saying too much doesn’t seem to be enough, and sometimes all it takes is just a line or a few words of poetry. As the famous author Paulo Coelho said, “Love is a disease no one wants to get rid of. Those who catch it never try to get better, and those who suffer do not wish to be cured.” Quotes about love are unparalleled expressions of love bound in space but never bound in time. Many love quotes are extremely relatable, as if someone was able to read your mind. Then, there are a few that keep you pondering for hours on end while you try to unravel what they could mean. And then, there are those that come with life lessons, with truths so bare you cannot deny their importance for your own love story.
Our ancestors have been giving us love advice from times immemorial in the form of proverbs. While most of them are quite encouraging, others come with caution; a few are rather bitter truths about the agony inflicted by this strange thing called love. Proverbs are expressions of culture and tradition that show historical and sometimes Biblical values. These are centuries old sayings of wisdom that have been bestowed upon us by our forefathers, which came from their practice and experience. Proverbs are often metaphorical and state a fact or a general rule of conduct that are to be followed as a way of life.
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When it comes to love, different cultures and languages from the world over have different perceptions. Years of understanding about human expressions, expectations, and their losses and achievements in love have given rise to beautiful love proverbs. These are wonderful manifestations of the teachings of some wise people that have been kindly passed on generations after generations in various parts of the world. Some of these proverbs exemplify the universal laws of love while some are completely contradictory to each other and stem from various folklores. It is indeed very interesting to learn about the beliefs about love that exist in different traditions and different geographical locations. Numerous countries, varied religions, and even innumerable languages all have different thoughts and feelings that have translated into proverbs.
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So, what do the old folks from other languages tell us about how to navigate the messy business of love? A Roman proverb itself says, “Love understands all languages.” Let us find out by exploring these 30 beautiful true love proverbs from around the world.
1. Nothing is impossible for a willing heart. – French
Yes, a heart that is willing to put in effort into even the smallest of things will never fail. That’s one beautiful proverb coming from a country that is home to the city of love!
2. The heart that loves is always young. – Greek
They say it’s never too old to fall in love, I guess the Greeks have known that for a while.
3. Even a god finds it hard to love and be wise at the same time. – Latin
We commit the silliest of mistakes while we are in love and even the gods could not be saved from it either it seems.
4. You can suffer without love, but you can’t love without suffering. – German
Pain and pleasure go hand in hand, and love’s true worth is found only in suffering.
5. Love is like seaweed: you go to her, she leaves you, you leave her, she follows you. – Madagascan
If you start imagining this, love looks like a jinxed seaweed coming after you if you aren’t after it!
6. Where love reigns, the impossible may be attained. – Indian
Echoing a similar tone as the French, Indians believed love to be the highest power overcoming all impossibilities.
7. Where there is love, there is no darkness. – Burundian
Love will hold your hand and guide you through darkness to light.
8. Love has to be shown by deeds, not words. – Swahili
From a language originating in Africa comes an influential proverb – love is to be shown in actions.
9. In war, hunting, and love, for one pleasure a hundred pains. – Portuguese
The ethnic group of people from Portugal sure understand the trials and tribulations of these three things and finds common ground among them.
10. Love rules without rules. – Italian
This Italian proverb says it all. Love like love should be – unchained, unabashed, and free-spirited.
11. Love cannot be compelled. – Russian
Love is not love if it is forced or comes with certain conditions. The ancestors from the world’s largest nation did give a solemn piece of advice.
12. Love, smoke, and cough are hard to hide. – French
Where there is smoke, there is fire, and the French believed the same for love and a cough too!
13. A flower cannot blossom without sunshine nor a garden without love. – Chinese
The Chinese, with all their myths and legends, gave this heart-warming proverb saying how essential love is in our lives.
14. We choose to love, we do not choose to cease loving. – Latin
This is one of my favorite love proverbs of them all. When you love with all your heart, can you ever stop loving a person? Where will all the love go? No, we can never stop loving someone. How true.
15. Three diseases without shame: Love, itch, and thirst. – Irish
The people who gave us soulful Celtic music and delicious beer also told us that love is a shameless disease!
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16. Faults are thick where love is thin. – English
Love that is accompanied by doubts seldom lasts.
17. When one is in love, a cliff becomes a meadow. – Ethiopian
It is not where lovers meet, but that they meet that matters. Where there is love, any place is beautiful.
18. If the full moon loves you, why worry about the stars? – Tunisian
Give importance to the one that loves you and don’t worry about the rest.
19. Love, like rain, does not choose the grass on which it falls. – South African
Like they say, love is blind, isn’t it? Indeed.
20. In order to really love someone you must love him as though he was going to die tomorrow. – Arabic
The classic language of Arabic encourages us to love immensely without bounds, and to give your all to the one you love.
21. Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies. – Portuguese
And so they say, you are in love when two becomes one.
22. Black as hell, strong as death, sweet as love. (About coffee.) – Turkish
Well, this Turkish proverb compares love with coffee and I think the reverse is also true!
23. Love enters a man through his eyes, woman through her ears. – Polish
Through this proverb, the Polish tell us a well-known fact!
24. Love gives life within. – Hawaiian
What a beautiful thought to muse upon! For when love grows in you, life grows in you.
25. A man in love mistakes a pimple for a dimple. – Japanese
Time and again, our ancestors have warned us not to be carried away by a beautiful face!
26. A life without love is like a year without summer. – Swedish
Would not all the warmth in the world be lost if it were not for love?
27. He who loves the vase loves also what is inside. – African
When you love someone, you must accept everything about that person because beyond the body there is so much more.
28. Who travels for love finds a thousand miles not longer than one. – Japanese
The hard working Japanese came up with this intense proverb saying that a person could climb mountains for love.
29. A woman prefers poverty with love to wealth without love. – Hebrew
The ancient Hebrew language tells us something about a woman’s love that still holds true today.
30. Love is blind, but not the neighbors. – Mexican
You might be a fool in love, but others aren’t! But then, I guess love was made for fools like you and me.
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So, it is high time you paid heed to all the love proverbs passed onto us by so many different cultures. Love cannot be taught, nor can it be learned. It is something that needs to be understood and felt. As you grow in love, love grows in you. Yet, some lessons that come from these wise men (and women) cannot be neglected. It will help you know and choose the right things while you are in love. Some of them give a lot of strength and courage to the ones who suffer in love by instilling hope and positivity. Some of them warn you about the dangers in love, and why shouldn’t they? After all, love is not an easy thing. As Albert Ellis said, “the art of love is largely the art of persistence.”
Now we know how strikingly different and yet surprisingly similar philosophies of love are in different parts of the world. Modern thinkers and authors may say otherwise. In fact, they might have definitions and opinions that are very different from what these proverbs with varying history and customs say. But it is all a matter of perspective, and when seen from a very general viewpoint, some of these are hauntingly true. These proverbs should be acknowledged as a gift of experience and humble teachings from our forefathers and should be kept in mind if not blindly followed. It is always a pleasure to glance upon the treasure trove of knowledge about love that came from legends past.