Americans throw around this word so flimsily to describe their interests, with distinctions between loving a burger and a partner only found through latent context. Whether this affects our perceptions of relationships as something to foster rather than something to achieve is up for debate, although it is a stance I can surely sympathize with. I find it offensive to use this word so variably, as it is one of the few words we have that can attribute itself to so many different personal feelings of attraction and trust: you love your parents, your closest friends, your pets, and — typically to the highest degree — your partner. Love represents inarticulable feelings without defined prerequisites, making it inherently personal and private.
There are so many applications for love. It serves as a safe place to breathe when life is soul crushing, a place of airy tranquility when success invites celebration; in short, it serves as a connection between people to help them work through life cooperatively. Our parent guides us when we are lost, our friends grit their teeth with us when life hits us with the same trials, our pets bring us joy through their pure existence, and our spouse often does all of these things and more. All of these emotional reassurances scratch an itch that we sometimes forget exists, yet this same vaguely blissful word is the same one we use when we take a bite of pizza on a Wednesday afternoon. Our food fosters our existence, sure, but it should never serve the same role as a leader; as a fellow lost student; as our ally in life. It might sound like a silly game of semantics, yet food plays an inarticulable role in an epidemic of obesity. Food will always be a mere creation, not your companion.