True Love… A very popular topic but yet, what is really the true meaning of love?. In this post; when I say love, I don’t mean agape love. I mean the type of love felt between lovers. First off, let’s see how different dictionaries describe it.
According to Merriam Webster dictionary; “Love is an attraction based on sexual desire: affection and tenderness felt by lovers”
According to Oxford dictionary; “Love is a strong affection for somebody that you are sexually attracted to.”
From these definitions, you are forced to realize one thing, and that is that these definitions don’t really capture the true essence of love. In a way, it seems like the ones who defined love in those dictionaries have never been truly in love.
True Love goes beyond sexual attraction, because you can be sexually attracted to a person and still not be in love with them and sometimes you can be crazy in love, yet sexual attraction wasn’t what got you hooked in the first place.
This reminds me of when I fell in love with my first and only girlfriend, Katherine. Sexual attraction wasn’t what drew me to her when I initially fell in love and YES, she is damn HOT but that wasn’t in any way the reason I fell for her. Though Yes, you must have sexual desire for the one you are in love with but that shouldn’t be considered as a defining characteristic when defining love.
That being said, what is True Love?. True Love is the strongest feeling known to man, it is that strong burning desire, a calm and ever strong sensation of affection one has towards another person, but when referring to a lover it’s laced with sexual desire. However, like I earlier warned; sexual desire is not a defining characteristic of love.
For example, you may have a friend whom you also have a sexual desire for. You love this friend but you just aren’t in love with this friend despite been sexually attracted to him/her’). We love in our own different ways so the right way to define love between couples is to define love based on how you feel around the one you’re in love with.
My own definition of true love is as a strong overwhelming attraction to someone you feel you can’t do without; someone you wish you could give the whole world to. Someone whose presence can light up every fiber of your being; whose smile can brighten you up on your most terrible day.
Someone you first think of when something happens to you or around you, someone you wish you could freeze time whenever you are by their side. A person whom the thought of hurting hurts you more. That same person you can easily give your all to. Whose text or call will get you super excited though you might hide that excitement once in a while *wink.
Also, I have to point out that you also have to be sexually attracted to the person because if you aren’t attracted, that means what you’re feeling is most likely agape love which is common among family and friends.
All the things I mentioned above are some of the defining qualities of love. You may not have all these qualities or you may have more than the qualities listed. One thing I have learned from my personal relationship and the experiences of friends and others is that each person has his/her unique way of defining love, but there are necessary characteristics that they all have.
Characteristics of True Love
Forgiveness: We are all human, we are full of mistakes. Even when we don’t intend to hurt others, we end up doing things that will hurt someone so bad. In love there’s forgiveness. There’s no perfect relationship so you need to learn to forgive a repentant lover. However, like the old parable goes ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’ (meat is correct not food), I know there’s a limit to what most people can forgive; most people would take back an unfaithful lover while some others wouldn’t. What I see as a small issue may be a deal-breaker for you. Learn to forgive.
Endurance: Have you ever seen a rose? Did you notice the thorn? Yes? That’s just how love is, it’s so beautiful yet has such sharp thorns, when you truly love someone, you won’t leave them at the first sign of dark clouds, you have to hold them tight and closer than ever before, because that’s the way to show them you truly love them. By dark clouds, I don’t mean things endanger your life such as abuse, rather I mean trials such as depression, financial setback, etc. Love shows endurance. Have you loved someone before? For you to be reading this post right now, I guess you have or you have someone you are currently in love with. If that’s the case, would you leave such a person when they are going through a tough time? I guess your answer would be NO. That’s what love is all about, holding someone you love close and tight through a storm. (Listen to these songs; Michael Jackson- ‘hold my hands’, and R. City ft Adam Levine- ‘Locked away’)
Sacrifice: This is one of the strongest characteristics of love, it’s also one of the easiest ways to know if someone loves you. I’m smiling while writing this…memories. Sacrifice in love can’t be overemphasized because even in the religious aspect, God Himself who created all things and has no superior, loved us so much that He gave us His only begotten son (John 3:16). God showed us the greatest act of love and that’s why when you give out something so dear to you, you’re expressing love; be it agape love, romantic love, or otherwise. The sacrifice could be spending time with your partner even when you’re so busy. It could be putting their needs before yours. It could be seeing them through a rough time at the expense of your own activities.
Giving: This is also a crucial trait in love but its different from sacrifice in the sense that in this case, you give out something which may not necessarily be very valuable to you. For example, when you always try to get someone their favorite flower or drink, that is giving. Giving in love must be consistent in order for it to be considered an act of love.
Tolerance: This is similar to endurance but from a different perspective. No two humans are exactly the same even if they are identical twins or so close that they can finish each other’s sentences. This is due to factors such as background, religion, perception, experience, etc. So this means that we all have different habits, likes, and dislikes. Sometimes the one you love may possess a habit you may dislike which you must learn to tolerate. You need to accommodate such a difference if you truly love such a person. Failure to tolerate this difference could lead to frustration, irritation and subsequently, hatred in that relationship.
Respect: When true love is present in your relationship with someone, you automatically respect them. You will respect their feelings, you will also respect their opinion, and you wouldn’t want to disrespect. One popular form of disrespect is a public embarrassment, which most people including me, hate. Love respects. You can’t claim to love without respect. I see a lot of people claim they are in love yet they don’t respect their partner. Even when you’re upset, learn to communicate your opinion to your partner respectfully without being verbally abusive.
Trust: True love without trust is suffocating. Trust is about having total confidence in a person. It is what will make you hold onto your partner in stormy days. Also, trust can be seen when you have firm confidence that your special someone wouldn’t act in a particular way. Trust is so powerful yet so fragile and once broken, may never remain the same.
Compassion: This is the last characteristic I will be talking about, but this doesn’t mean it’s the last characteristic of love. Compassion can be considered as the live wire of love; as the breath of love, as the face of love. It cannot be called true love if it’s not laced with compassion/affection. Compassion is a trait of true love here can be seen when you genuinely care about your partner and his/her well-being and consciously make efforts to ease their problems and distress.