Sadie Holloway is a workshop facilitator who teaches interpersonal communication skills to help people strengthen their relationships.
What Is the Definition of True Love?
Do you want to find someone who you know in your heart is your one true love? To find that person, you need to understand and appreciate what true love really means.
If you're in a new relationship, it's only natural to wonder if your new romance will last. How do you know if you have found true love? How do you know if the joy and excitement you're feeling right now will lead to a long-term relationship?
Even if you are in a long-term relationship, you may sometimes wonder, “Is this true love, or am I settling for less than I deserve?"
Do you know what the signs of a healthy relationship are? If you do, then you’re well on your way to understanding what true love really is.
Are you in love, or are you in love with the feeling of being in love?
|Being in Love Means||Being in Love With Love Means|
Loving each other just as each of you are
Wanting the other person to fit an ideal
Loving yourself and honoring your needs
Always putting the other person's needs first
Knowing that arguments are a normal part of being in a relationship
Avoiding conflict at all costs for fear that true love will disappear
You learn to like someone when you find out what makes them laugh, but you can never truly love someone until you find out what makes them cry."
— Author Unknown
Are You Ready to Fall in Love?
True love starts with you and how you feel about yourself. That’s right; you can’t find true love unless you truly love yourself. The capacity to know and feel true love begins when you're able to acknowledge and accept all of your personal flaws. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you start looking for love.
- Can you be happy and content being by yourself?
- Do you respect yourself? Can you stay true to your personal beliefs and values? Are you willing to disagree with someone, even someone you care about deeply, in order to stay true to what you believe in?
- Do you honor your thoughts, feelings, and opinions?
- Are you assertive? Can you stand up for yourself and ask for what you want?
If the answer to these questions is “Yes!” then you're ready to find true love. And true love is ready to find you! Why? Because if you can’t appreciate and love yourself, then somewhere deep inside, you will always believe you are unlovable, that you aren’t worthy of attention or affection and that no one could possibly fall in love with you. If you're hoping to find and keep love that lasts, start by giving yourself true unconditional love!
When you love someone, you love the whole person, just as he or she is, and not as you would like them to be."
— Leo Tolstoy
Finding Love That Lasts Means Having Realistic Expectations for Your Relationship
Don’t get caught up in unrealistic notions of romantic fairytale love. You and your partner live in the real world, a world that will present both of you with unexpected challenges and hard-won triumphs. True love is able to withstand the circumstances that are more complicated than the ideal situations shown on TV and in movies. Mainstream media definitions of true love can be biased and sexist when it comes to how “true love couples” interact with one another. If you base your definition of what true love really means on movies, song lyrics and paperback romance novels, you'll likely end up disappointed and heart-broken.
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Couples Who Are Truly in Love Have Many Shared Interests and Hobbies
Happy couples have fun together. They share common goals, interests, and hobbies. They work together on projects that give their lives a sense of purpose and meaning outside of the relationship.
Common interests that can bring couples together include sports activities (walking, hiking), traveling, cooking, gardening or volunteering in the community. What makes these activities great for couples is that they increase feelings of self-worth and satisfaction. And we all know that when we feel good about ourselves—when we love and appreciate who we are as individuals—we have more love to give to others. For many couples, shared activities can improve communication, increase the amount of quality-time spent together, and offer playful relief from some of life’s less-than-fun activities such as paying bills and dealing with stressful work deadlines.
Here are some other things to look for in a healthy, long-term relationship:
- Strong couples have their own friends and some mutual friends, too. True love means that you and your lover both have your own set of friends that you enjoy hanging out with. True love doesn't mean spending every minute of every day together; it means feeling secure enough that you don't feel jealous or needy if your partner spends time with his or her friends. On the other hand, having a group of mutual friends, such as other couples that you have something in common with, is also important to the success of your relationship.
- Men and women in healthy relationships can spend time alone without feeling lonely. People who feel loved and secure don't need constant attention or companionship from their spouses or boyfriends or girlfriends. Each person in a healthy relationship should be able to spend time alone doing things that they enjoy without feeling the need to check in, or check up, on what the other person is doing.
- If you're in a true love relationship, you’ll feel that your individuality is respected and honored. People who are in healthy relationships feel that their ideas, opinions, and experiences are appreciated. If one person is always trying to change the other person, there's little room for unconditional love in the relationship. The minute one partner tries to make the other fill a certain role or act a certain way, the relationship will start to feel strained
- True love means having the courage to let go of past hurts and being able to forgive one another when one of you makes a mistake. We all make mistakes in life. Some mistakes are bigger than others, but couples who are truly in love find ways to talk about those mistakes and move past them in healthy and productive ways. If one partner is constantly reminding the other person about a mistake from the past, the relationship won't survive.
Couples who find and sustain true love with one another are couples who are committed to treating each other with respect, kindness, and compassion.
Did you know that there are tangible health benefits from the true love that married, supportive couples give one another?
- Researchers at Harvard have concluded that cancer patients who are in a safe, supportive marriage live 20 percent longer than patients who are on their own, whether single, divorced or widowed.
- Marrying your true love can be good for your heart health, too. In a 2012 study of 500 American men and women undergoing heart surgery, those patients who were married were three times more likely to survive the first three months after heart surgery.
(Source: Lunau, Kate, How Marriage Can Save Your Life)
We're all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness — and call it love — true love."
— Robert Fulghum, True Love
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Sadie Holloway