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15 Things Shakespeare Can Teach Us About Love

Do you get excited to see the latest staging of a Shakespeare play…or were you excited to leave him behind when you left high school English class?

Wherever you stand on Shakespeare—love, hate, indifferent—you know that he was one of the greatest writers to ever live. Not only did he pen nearly a million words, but he also dispensed lots of wisdom that still resonates today, including:

  1. In pursuit of love, move at an even pace. “Wise and slow. They stumble that run fast” (Romeo and Juliet).
  2. The best romances are often those that sneak up and surprise us. “Love sought is good, but given unsought is better” (Twelfth Night).
  3. Music enriches your love life. “If music be the food of love, play on” (Twelfth Night).
  4. Make punctuality a priority. “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late”(The Merry Wives of Windsor).
  5. When it comes to romantic relationships, expect some ups and downs. “The course of true love never did run smooth” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream).
  6. Use your lips for what they are best suited. “Teach not thy lip such scorn, for it was made for kissing, lady, not for such contempt” (Richard III). In other words, why use your lips for complaining and criticizing when they could be used for kissing instead?
  7. When it comes to romantic love, the mind matters most. “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream).
  8. Be wary of someone who gives gifts to make up for bad behavior. “Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind”(Hamlet).
  9. Listen more than talk. “Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice” (Hamlet).
  10. True lovers don’t try to change each other. “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds” (Sonnet 116). You may be motivated to improve yourself to bring your best to a relationship—but you don’t need to alter yourself in order to impress the other person.
  11. Never underestimate the power of a simple act of kindness. “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world”(The Merchant of Venice).
  12. Beware of the person who looks striking but lacks substance. “All that glitters is not gold” (The Merchant of Venice).
  13. Sometimes attraction strikes instantly and powerfully. “Hear my soul speak: The very instant that I saw you, did my heart fly to your service” (The Tempest).
  14. All that’s happened has before prepared you for what’s ahead. “What’s past is prologue” (TheTempest).
  15. For true lovers, physical appearance is irrelevant. “Love is blind, and lovers cannot see” (The Merchant of Venice).