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Last week I talked about the importance of being the right person first in order to find true love. This week I want to talk about how true love is not really found as much as made. So much energy, time and thought space is given to finding true love. We would be better off exerting that same energy, time and thought in creating true love instead.
There is a big difference between infatuation and true love. Too many marriages begin and end too quickly because of infatuation. What is the difference? Infatuation is defined as “an intense but short-lived passion or admiration for someone or something.” Another definition is “when people think they are in love but it is just a deep lust or like for another person.” Feelings of infatuation can quickly escalate and cause people to think they are deeply in love when, in reality, they are just physically or emotionally enmeshed.
True love, on the other hand, is created over time. I don’t believe in love at first sight. I think we get it confused with lust or attraction at first sight. Lust (infatuation) is usually short-lived. True love comes along more slowly. As a couple spends time together getting to know each other and experiencing life’s up and downs, true love begins to grow.
On my wedding day, I didn’t think I could possibly love my husband, Darrell, any more than I did that day. Boy, was I wrong! As we have experienced joys and victories as well as heartache and challenges, our love has grown over time. As we have chosen the right path of staying together through thick and thin (I’m thick, he’s thin ;-), our love has developed and deepened into what I would call true love.
According to the dictionary, “true love is a strong and lasting affection between spouses or lovers who are in a happy, passionate and fulfilling relationship.” Let’s take a closer look at true love.
7 characteristics of TRUE LOVE
1. True Love is Deep
True love looks beyond the surface, both physically and emotionally. Since true love takes time to develop, there are changes that take place over time. We may not weigh the same and we might have wrinkles or gray hair. True love sees past those “imperfections” and even appreciates them. True love is not satisfied with shallow, small talk. True love is curious and wants to know everything about you. Not just surface talk but deep down where the true feelings live.
2. True Love is Committed
Think back to your wedding vows when you made a commitment to love, honor, & cherish till death, in sickness, and in health, for richer and for poorer. If you are like me, you didn’t really understand the gravity of those words when spoken on your wedding day. I felt like I was committed but you don’t really know how committed you are until it is tested. True love experiences challenges but chooses commitment. It’s in it for the long haul. True love passes the test of time.
3. True Love is Accepting
Beyond appearances lies the real person. True love is accepting, even of those things that may irritate or annoy. There is no such thing as a perfect husband or perfect wife but as we accept one another we can create perfect moments together. When I feel accepted for who I am, I am freer to be me and to live more fully into that feeling. When I know that my spouse accepts my personality even though it is the opposite of his, I can relax and enjoy being different. We can accept one another’s flaws, knowing we each have them too. As we accept one another we can sit back and watch each other flourish in that acceptance.
4. True Love is Trustworthy
True love is honest and truthful. It’s not sneaky or deceptive. When you have true love you know you can trust your partner. You can trust them with your thoughts and feelings so you are able to share deeply with them, knowing they are a safe place and they will protect you. True love is dependable and reliable so you don’t have to worry about where they are or how they are spending their time when you are apart. With true love, there is a genuine trust between you that deepens your bond and carries you through.
5. True Love is Forgiving
As I mentioned earlier, there are no perfect people so forgiveness is an important part of true love. True love understands human flaws and frailties and is willing to forgive when necessary. Disappointment and misunderstandings are a normal part of life. Without forgiveness, bitterness can take root and if allowed to develop over time, can destroy a relationship. True love keeps short accounts and is always willing to forgive. I Corinthians 13:5b says, “…love keeps no record of wrongs.” That is a tall order but forgiveness makes this possible.
6. True Love is Encouraging
We can all appreciate being encouraged. Of the Five Love Languages, words of affirmation is my husband’s primary love language. As I encourage him, he is better able to face whatever situation he may find himself in. Being encouraging is not difficult but it does take a little time and thought. Find creative ways to encourage one another and you will discover new life in your relationship. A form of encouragement is always wanting what’s best for your spouse and encouraging them to go for it. Knowing you have their back will give them the courage to strive for greatness
7. True Love is Enduring
True love is not weak or flaky. It is strong and durable. It is not easily swayed by circumstances but stands up to challenges. Infatuation is short-lived. It may burn hot for a time, but true love stands the test of time. True love is long lasting and faithful.
There are many other characteristics of true love as it is a very complex concept. However, it is not merely a concept. It is a reality and it can be your reality as you intentionally work to become the best you possible and give yourself fully to your partner. True love wins every time!!