What is True Love?
The gift of true love showers ineffable joy, happiness and contentment upon those who find. It is their sunshine refuge in an often dark world. It is the enchantment dream of ‘ever-after’ poets write about. It is the sweet serenade nightingales sing. It is the spell-binding touch of surrender that envelops our flesh. This is why true love is our strongest desire—to love and be loved in return.
But what does this love look like. Feel like. Sound like. Taste like.
Is True Love Chemistry and Passion?
Is it the weak-in-the-knees feeling when he walks into the room. Is it his voice that causes your heart to palpitate like a drumbeat gone wild. Perhaps it’s that euphoric ‘rush’ when he pulls you into his embrace. Maybe it’s how those fire-stirring kisses melt your soul. Or, is it the fact that you think about him every hour of every day 24/7?
While intoxicating, those feelings are likely infatuation or first rush sexual love, even puppy love.
While chemistry and passion are elements of true love, these elements alone are not substantive enough to grow into mature, genuine love for the long haul.
What, then, is True Love?
It’s a feeling of warm personal attachment. A feeling of being connected with the person who SEES you.
Here’s the thing about people who are truly in love: They SEE each other. They KNOW each other as best friends; and that’s what we all crave in a lover is to be SEEN and to be really DEEPLY KNOWN and UNDERSTOOD. And if you have that with someone, then THAT’S EVERYTHING!
But how does one achieve that special connection with another human being who is as flawed as we are? Where do we even start?
First, discover what true love IS and IS NOT.
There are four components to love. To reach the level of true love all four components need to interact together to form a cohesive, unbreakable, bond as One Team.
Let’s break these four components down one by one:
- philia – love of brothers (brotherly love) love of family members i.e. mother, father, sisters, brothers.
- storge‘ – love between friends i.e. workmates, girlfriends, others
- eros – love between a man and a woman (sexual love)
- agape‘ – love guided by principles of what is right and in the best interest of the family. It is love that is an unselfish devotion and sincere concern for the lasting welfare of the mate, along with an active expression of this for everyone’s good. Agape’ is the most important love of all. (More about this later.)
We want our lover to be our soul-mate as our closest relative (Philia). He is also our best friend (Storge’) and our most ardent lover (Eros). We’re off to a great start … But, more is involved.
Love also includes Emotional and Spiritual Support
The tri-fold bond of intimacy helps bond two people as One in unity of purpose:
- passion. Indeed, if this chemistry does not exist, the going can be rough. But sexual passion alone cannot sustain a successful relationship. It’s imperative to understand just where and when sex enters the picture because it is just one-third of the equation.
- emotional support – is on equal footing with passion. It means being on the same wavelength with your partner, seeing eye-to-eye, looking in the same direction together. It’s communication of the spoken and the unspoken meaning your partner can compassionately sense what you need, and be there for you giving of his time, energy and thoughts closest to his heart in response to your needs. In turn you likewise respond to his needs. It’s a reciprocal interchange.
- spirituality – strengthens relationships of couples who look to God and base their actions toward each other on Bible-based principles that guide and direct them. For non-religious persons, spirituality means moral and ethical values such as honesty, kindness, goodness, love, faithfulness, self-control, peace, and so forth. These values anchor the relationship, solidly to a firm foundation.
And finally, your lover will accept you for who you are as an individual. He accepts the entire package. That means he accepts you with all your bumps and bruises, talents, goals, fears, courage and idiosyncrasies. He both accepts and appreciates your uniqueness. And you accept him likewise. It’s a mutual interchange.
“When you love somebody, you got to love everything about them. You can’t just love the white part of the bread. You gotta love the crust, the crumbs, the tiny crumbs at the bottom of the toaster. That’s what the real mother***** is.” Chris Rock
Did you get the point that while two people are separate individuals with their own uniqueness, when they enter into a relationship/marriage, they no longer function as two—they function as One. They are no longer two in the sense of each doing their own thing contrary to the purpose of the team. You are now One in purpose for the family. You two are now One family sharing life as two best friends who each have value to contribute to this union as One. (keep reading).
“…and they will become one flesh…” The book of Genesis
Well here you go ladies, definition of love in a nutshell.
Chemistry+Passion+Spirituality+Seeing+Team = True Love
Oh, wait, here’s another definition:
“Loving does not mean merging, surrendering, and uniting with another person; it is rather a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world in himself for the sake of another person.” Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters To A Young Poet
Ummmh. What do we have here? An opposing opinion to the One Team approach outlined above. Question is—which path is correct? In a relationship/marriage are you One team together or not?
This is what is wrong with relationships today. Each wants to do his/her own thing and stay separate yet act as united. Exactly how does that work?
And what does “to become something in himself, to become world, to become world in himself for the sake of another person.” What in the hell does that even mean? Confusion. This is what happens when people listen to this garbled double talk and go out on their own defining true love in those terms.
It completely destroys their relationships which predictably falls into chaos. Divorce. Separations. Heartache. Do yourself a favor, if you don’t want to be One with your partner—don’t marry him. Stay single.
Let’s get back to talking about passion and sex.
You have a problem with that? Didn’t think so.
We’re talking sex within the context of true love; not casual sex. Many think great sex is a function of technique and frequency, not so. The truth is that great sex is a function of connection. Remember, we’ve talked about that special connection—connection first with yourself and then with your partner.
In other words, the special bond two people have created within their committed love allows them to meet each other sexually in a way that will feel fulfilling for both. Sex becomes their expression of love to each other.
Here’s a reality check: Great sex isn’t only about having orgasms! You can feel deeply connected to your partner sexually even if neither of you climax every time you make love. We live in such a goal-oriented culture that we think that great orgasm equals great sex, but the reality is that an orgasm comprises the last 20 seconds of love making. What’s happening the rest of the time?
Lovers who have connected as soulmates feel free to open their heart fully to the touch, smell, feel of their partners in ways that propel their intimacy to its highest level. They feel safe, warm, secure. There is no hidden agenda; no points to score, no reasons to hold back. They explore and discover the best of each other in seas of ever expanding emotions that only the two of you can share together. This is what it means to make love.
On the other hand, for those who think sex itself is the Ace of Diamonds. Notice the following scenario:
You’re two people in love who can’t get enough of each other. When you’re together sparks fly and chemistry explodes between you for the entire world to see. It’s a ‘high’ all couples in love should experience.
But here’s the point: Chemistry and Substance must work hand in hand. Let me explain.
Expecting to sustain intense, heightened passion between two people in everyday life together is UNREALISTIC. Passion can’t be sustained to that degree throughout an entire relationship. To think otherwise lands you in fantasy land.
Somewhere along the line passion settles at which time you determine whether enough substance has surfaced to take the relationship to the next level.
The next level moves couples to dig in and really get to know each other – deep down inside in multiple areas of life on an array of different subjects. Probing for compatibility, assessing how to handle differences, managing disagreements, etc. This requires effort and a LOT of HARD WORK!
So much effort is required that if relationship chemistry isn’t there, the couple won’t have the interest, vigor, or desire to work hard enough to cultivate their feelings into deep, stable love where the roots intertwine, firmly established. Secure. Safe. Solid.
Chemistry’s two-fold role then is to introduce this man to this woman to see if anything ‘clicks’ between them, and then the initial excitement coupled with substance moves the relationship progressively along into intimacy and marriage. That’s how chemistry is supposed to work, but notice what happens when you put all your eggs in …
The ‘sexual Passion Basket’. . . .
Here’s a guy who feels sexual passion is everything. He swears he’s in love, but when the passion slows down, he panics. The “rush” is gone. “Oops she must not be the right girl for me,” he reasons. He has no clue that chemistry alone does not define love. He doesn’t understand the passion/substance equation. Therefore he panics and bails leaving the girl devastated. Then he’s off looking for the next passion “high”.
When these ‘dump’ situations happen most often the couple has run ahead and placed sexual passion out of sequence in the dating transition process. Well before any substance surfaces. Well before value is established. Well before any mention of commitment. Then when it ends up in breakups, heartache, bewilderment, anger, and sadness, they’re confused.
On another front, following are some red flags to watch out for EVEN if chemistry is present.
There’s the man who (no matter what) is deathly afraid of commitment leading to marriage. He doesn’t want to assume the responsibilities inherent in true love and he also runs away.
Sadly, some men don’t even know how to move love to the next level. They’ve never learned the art of small talk and don’t want to or are unwilling to probe deeper into the persona of this woman to really get to know her.
Finally, there is the charmer who is smooth talking and cunning who knows how to get what he wants and all that he wants until he is completely satisfied. We call him the 90-day man. He’ll love you BIG time and USE YOU UP before moving on.
There’s a crucial segment about the 90-Day man in the How-to-Date-to-Marry Workbook that shows how to protect yourself from this kind of dump entitled “How to Safeguard Your Heart.” It discusses how to effectively shield yourself from the backlash of uncommitted sexual passion because you can make passion/chemistry work for you — or against you. It’s all in knowing how.
During initial passion, even if it doesn’t work out and may be painful, the good side is that you realize that this particular man does not have a realistic view love and commitment, so when he runs away, you win because you didn’t marry him. What kind of life would it be with a guy who doesn’t get it!
From the woman’s perspective after initial passion dies down you may look at this guy and say, “No way.” You decide that the early passion has run its course revealing little substance and decide to move on.
Bottom line is that, in this dating to find love, you want a man who is ready for commitment. That’s why you want to proceed slowly with passion to carefully assess the inner man before giving your all. You want to be able to stand back and in a realistic way see each other as potential lifetime partners. (There are six crucial steps to discovering who the inner man is.) Educate yourself.
If the potential for lifetime love is there, you can begin to focus on many other facets of life: learning how you feel, think, act, react, about a multitude of topics and subjects. If the love is real, together with passion, you have something to work through these issues with. And the two of you can, with maturity and reasoning ability watch your love and relationship chemistry grow into a smooth and easy thing as it mellows and blossoms into lifetime love.
Finally, we’ve saved the best for last!
Why Agape Love is Key to Relationship Happiness
Agape’ love is the glue that holds relationships/marriages together. It is guided by principles of what is right and in the best interest of the other. It is a code of conduct that governs the way we deal with our wife or husband. It is love that has an unselfish devotion and sincere concern for the lasting welfare of the marriage along with an active expression of this concern.
Practicing unselfish love enables couples to cultivate intense love for each other. It is principles by which we deliberately live. We make up our minds to seek the best for him or her so when emotional feelings come and go, this love remains because it is a mental decision.
What makes Agape love powerful is that it is the glue that holds marriages together in the ‘bad’ times and there will be bad times. There is NO perfect marriage. Problems will arise. Agape’ love, however, is what enables couples to continue putting up with each other and forgiving one another freely if either has cause for complaint against the other. Agape love is the love that never fails because it continues to look out for the interest of the other.
A great benefit is that practicing Agape love can stave off many problems at the outset. But when they do arise this principled love will help heal wounds, cover over faults, and forgive in a large way to keep the marriage vital and intact.
When a husband practices Agape love he provides direction for his family – emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually. He continues to honor his wife in a loving way even when facing marital challenges by exercising patience, kindness, understanding and tenderness.
Wives also provide financially and emotionally for the family and in addition, she’s the engine that supports the family arrangement showing appreciation and respect for her husband as the two works together as one.
This arrangement works because it is based on the established ‘Order’ in the universe. This ‘Order’ combined with adhering to “role specifics” as dictated by human nature is outlined in Part III of “How-to-Date-to Marry” under Marital Harmonics and explains how relationships work best.
Suffice it to say that working within the parameters already set in motion for human relationships will lead to healthy, happy marriages and families.
Practicing Agape love, however, can be quite a challenge in today’s world because it revolves around unselfish love and “role specifics” that some may find archaic if they are not familiar with its meaning, value and application in everyday life and loving.
When first introduced to Agape Love principles, some seethe and rage against it. But after seeing the positive results in action, they acquiesce to give it a try rather than risk losing their partner. In doing so they find the key to the meaning of love in happy marriage.
True love is based on chemistry, passion and the special connection, based on profound friendship, of being able to see your partner. To see and understand them deep down inside in a reciprocal relationship.
As couples progress through the dating process, first their verbal intimacy grows, following by physical intimacy when it has reached the level of commitment.
Sex in marriage is the crown jewel of love. This deep connection sacred to each other is made strong and secure by practicing agape’ love—the love that seeks what is in the best interest of the other.
You bet! Because …
True Love is the greatest gift of all.
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