The age-old question we all have asked ourselves at least once: What is love? I’ve been planning my wedding for the last year and a few of my friends are dating. Naturally, I start considering the idea of love and what it means to me. To truly define it, I had to revisit past relationship experiences. I found that there were a lot of common themes with people I love and people who I thought I loved.
Love is …
- Developed over time. Love is never instant with anyone you meet. You may be instantly interested and attracted to the individual, but love takes time. When you start dating, you are learning about someone else, how to be with them, and sorting through all kinds of emotions.
- The appreciation of your significant other. Every one is unique in their own ways. Knowing that this person is different from you and still accepting them in entirety is one way of knowing you’re in love.
- Easy if it’s right. Don’t get me wrong. There will be brief moments in your relationship timeline where you’ll struggle, get irritated, or have an argument, but it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence.
- Guided by a code of ethics. There needs to be trust, respect, loyalty, honesty, support, and equality in order for a relationship to be happy and healthy.
- Openly communicating. Talk to one another constantly. Be sure that the both of you are on the same page and are taking the time to understand each other’s needs and emotions.
Love isn’t …
- Controlling someone else. No one should be telling you how to live your life. For example: what to wear, who to be friends with, and how to use your money should only be your decisions to make.
- Hurtful. Mean and hurtful comments should never be said in conversation to one another. You can never take them back and they will only cause issues later on. Also, you should never be physically harmed, mentally degraded, or betrayed.
- Selfish. There are two individuals in the relationship, so it is never about one person getting everything they want. Find common ground and work together to find balance.
- Like the movies. There isn’t going to be this perfect world and grand gestures. You’ll get caught up in the challenges of every day life. Find the time to have a date night or plan some other activity together. Keep in mind that it’s the little things that count the most, like when your spouse does something to make your day easier. They did that for you, so cherish that.
A Few Key Notes
- If it wasn’t meant to be, you will feel that in your gut right from the start. There are little hints along the way. Pay attention to those hints and don’t waste yours or their time.
- Stay to true to yourself. Don’t lose your identity and don’t let someone try and change you.
- Put in your effort and require that they match your level of commitment.
- Be goofy and just have fun one another. Enjoy this time together and laugh a lot.