True love definitely exists, but it isn’t what most people expect. There are many things that you have to learn during a relationship (even when you’re already married), it can’t all already be there on a first date.
True love is something to be “acquired” and “fought for”. It can’t be there at first sight, as Hollywood would have us believe. Attraction is there at first sight, which is one element of love but not the most important one. True love needs to grow with time.
Often attraction evolves into love, or love develops after years of friendship. It can also be developed within arranged relationships. That being said, the acquisition of true love has a few factors involved.
1. Love is primarily an act of will. Of course all of the other things have a say as well, but will-power is the only thing that can get you through difficult times in a relationship, which are sure to occur. You have to decide to hold on to your partner in bad times as in good times, otherwise your relationship will not last, and if it doesn’t last, it cannot be true love.
2. The feelings. Feelings are very strong when you “fall in love”, but can become weaker over time. With true love, the positive feelings towards each other should not fade away, they should have a tendency to grow with time. However, without the will-power to pull you through difficult times, reliance on feelings alone will destroy a relationship.
3. Attraction. Two people who love each other should be and remain attracted to one another. I don’t only mean physical attraction. Attraction to the significant other’s character is just as important if not more important.
4. Unity. It is important to have unity concerning the important things in life (meaning also that you count the same things as important). This means that both partners have similar plans for the future (where you want to live, how many kids you want, what career plans you have, your vocation, hopes, and dreams). Spirituality is also important. If two partners have the same faith and count their faith as equally important, that is a huge advantage. However, there are exceptions that confirm the rule.
5. Communication. It has been said that communication is the most important thing in a relationship. And I agree. Both partners need to understand what the other is trying to say. If you can’t communicate clearly or often misunderstand each other, that will stand in the way of a healthy relationship. Also, if one person is too shy or scared to talk about a particular issue, it means that you either don’t trust each other or are offended easily. Either it is not true love or the communication needs work. Communication goes hand in hand with honesty. If you can’t be honest with each other, you have a serious problem.
6. Similarity. Of course all people have differences, and some differences can truly spice up a relationship while others can be overcome by the power of the will as stated above. But similar likes and dislikes, a certain equivalence in education and knowledge, shared hobbies, interests, lifestyle choices etc. can be very helpful.
7. Culture. I do not count this point as very important as there are many lasting, happy marriages between people from different backgrounds, and the readiness for intercultural relationships has increased a lot in the past decades, and I wholeheartedly encourage that.
Nevertheless, same culture provides for similarity in many things and therefore can help.
Now here are some attributes of true love. Again, if you have any additions, please comment. I do not mean to say that you need to be perfect in the things listed below. What I do mean to say is that both partners should do their best in caring for, respecting, and accepting each other. Only if both partners actively work on the points below can the relationship develop in a healthy way.
True love is:
1. Selfless: Everyone is to some extent selfish, even in love relationships. But true love in its ideal form is not selfish, but always thinks and acts for the good of the other. It would do anything for the partner, even die for her/him.
2. Unconditional: “I love you because you’re beautiful”, “I love you because you’re smart”, “I love you because you’re good in bed”, “I will love you if you take me to a restaurant every week”, “I will love you if you stop smoking”, “I will love you if you love me back”… All these are statements of conditional love. True love doesn’t make conditions. It accepts the partner however she/he is, which requires a lot of will-power.
No human is entirely capable of this type of love, however, as stated above, it’s not about being perfect but about working on it together.
3. Enduring: True love bites through the bad times and eventually gets over them. This means: no divorces. Most divorces happen because there is no will-power to pull through the bad times or because one partner is too stubborn to change or work on her-/himself.
4. Growing: True love grows with time as you get to know your partner better.
5. And many other things.