My father first heard about my mother through a cousin of his. The way he tells it, his cousin was on a busy train in Taiwan when he noticed a young woman who was as beautiful as she was brave.

With a firm smack of her hand, she had fought off the unsolicited advances of a presumptuous passenger. She then fearlessly cautioned, “Don’t you ever try that again!”

My uncle knew that she would be a perfect match for his equally cool cousin, my dad. So my parents began a love story through letters imbued with poetry and dreams. And the rest is history.

Meanwhile, in the city of Taipei, a young medical student and a China Airlines stewardess met through a mutual friend. Theirs was a friendship that slowly turned into love. My mother-in-law fell for my father-in-law’s good looks while he admired her kind heart. Four kids and 47 years later, they’re still enjoying life together, hand in hand.

Our family had the privilege of spending the holidays with both sets of parents recently. I observed their enduring love and servant hearts and marveled at their ability to accept and forgive. Their lives are a continual masterclass on love.

They and my husband have taught me so much about love:

Love is making coffee for the other person every morning so it’s ready for them when they wake up.

Love is noticing what your spouse enjoys and looking out for it when you go shopping.

Love is being the No. 1 fan when your husband plays an instrument and cheering the loudest when the performance is over.

Love is knowing what your partner needs or wants even before they themselves realize it.

Love is planting a rose garden for your wife because you know how much it means to her.

Love is holding back a criticism when you have every right to say it.

Love is making peace with the past and letting it go.

Love is seeing your spouse happy and striving to be the reason why.

Love is thanking God every day for your loved one, faults and all.

There’s so much we can learn from the loving relationships around us. And if we pay close attention, perhaps one day our own love stories will be told by the next generation of amorous scholars. 

Opinions expressed are those of Nina Ha.