What is true Love?

What is True love?

 

What is True Love?

What is true love and how can I know it is?  This is the question of questions.  We need to be able to distinguish real love from the false loves that may resemble it.  Finding true love is the only way to happily-ever-after!

What is true love NOT?

Understanding what love is not may actually help us to understand what it is.  Some people mistakenly believe that love is a feeling.  Growing up, I was under the impression that the more I felt inside for a girl, the more it must be love.  I believed that the more butterflies and sweaty palms I had; the more day-dreamed about her incessantly; the more my heart just exploded with beautiful feelings that I couldn’t explain, the more it was true love.  Thankfully, I grew out of this the mindset that these mere feelings were actual love.  I realized  that as beautiful as they were, they were only the first stages of love.  If true love were a flight of stairs, strong feelings would be the first step (not the last, as some mistakenly believe).

While feeling “in love” is wonderful, true love itself is not a feeling, and it is impossible to tell how much we love someone by the emotions we feel for them.  For example:

-  I know a girl who fell head over heals for a bad guy who used her and abused her.  She stayed in the relationship too long because of how strongly she was attracted to him.  She convinced herself it was love, but in this case, true love and her feelings were opposites.

-  Another girl created her entire world around her boyfriend convinced they were going to get married.  She found out later he had been cheating on her.  Love based on a lie is not love.

-   A teenage boy felt incredibly strong attraction for his girlfriend.  Though  he knew something was very wrong, he ignored it and wouldn’t break it off because it felt so good.  He later found out that she was using him to make her ex-boyfriend jealous.

Each of these people mistakenly thought their relationship was based on love because of how they felt.  True Love is based on so much more.  It needs to be based off truth and reality, and on how a person treats us and on the reality of who that person is, not who we wish they were.  Many people don’t understand love being more than emotions, which is why they “fall out of love.”  Falling out of love is a classic example of someone who doesn’t know that love is not about feelings, for when feelings go away, so does the relationship.

The truth is that in marriage, after the initial honeymoon phase, emotionally charged feelings will come and go.  They don’t last forever in marriage, then what?  Perhaps this is one reason why the divorce rate is so high and cheating/adultery have become more common… because it’s all about me and how I feel at the time.  Feelings and emotions can’t be the primary thing dictating our relationships. Feelings must be subject to our reason, to what we know is right, and to doing good for the other person.

Love makes us better, freer, happier, more trusting, more ourselves, and more confident.  False love is full of pain, let-downs, fighting, dissatisfaction, and makes us lose ourselves.

Love can’t be based solely, or even mostly, on feelings because they are unstable and constantly changing: based on surrounding circumstances, the seasons, the time of the month, our moods, feeling under the weather, etc.  Feelings come and go away.  But love always stays constant.  Love that “goes away” was never love to begin with.

What is True Love?What is True Love?

Love is choosing to do what is good for another person even when it’s a sacrifice and even after feelings have gone away!

Imagine a husband at the end of his work project.  His boss is making him stay late.  After 12 grueling hours, he drives home with a pounding headache hardly able to stand.  His pregnant sick wife desperately needs something from the store and can’t get it herself.  While this is the last thing in the world the husband may feel like doing, he kisses his wife and goes.  That’s love. Love is doing what’s good for the beloved despite how we feel.

There is no abuse, lying, cheating, manipulation, mind games, or anything like this found in love.  Also, love is the opposite of lust and the opposite of selfishness. Love can’t wait to give, to make the other happy and to do good for them. Lust can’t wait to get and to make oneself happy.  True love cares for the other person’s mind, heart, emotions and their soul.  It is kind, patient, and respectful, always putting the needs of the other before our own.  Of course, love is reciprocal and this goes both ways.

What is love?  I once had a very handsome and well-built friend who all the ladies found attractive.  This friend would often kiss and make out with girls for fun because it felt good.  All the while, he had a huge crush on this one brunette, the only girl he couldn’t get.  The more he got to know her, the more he fell head-over-heals for her and her sweet personality and caring heart.  This friend told me that if he ever had the opportunity to date her, he would not sleep with her or do anything raunchy because he would never “want anything bad to happen to her.  He would treat her like a princess.

That is more the language of love!  Unfortunately, he didn’t care about the other women that he used in the same way, but this girl changed his heart and he was able to outside of himself to think about her good.  That is necessary for love.  The more responsibility we feel for someone’s heart and soul, the more true love there is!

Would like to hear your thoughts and comments…

For more on this topic: Check out the “Stages of Love,” and the 10 “Dating and Relationship Tips.”

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About Bryan Mercier

Bryan Mercier is a thirty-eight year old speaker and retreat leader. He has spoken to adults and teens for the last fifteen years on a wide variety of topics; ranging from catechetics and faith formation, to morality, spirituality, and apologetics. He has spoken at youth and adult retreats, workshops, seminars, Catholic schools, parish missions, local, regional and national conferences. He has spoken in front of crowds ranging from thirty to three-thousand and has been aired on both TV and radio in different states. Bryan also runs the R.O.C.K. (Revival Of Catholic Kids) Ministry Team that puts on all-day retreats for teens. He is going for his Masters in theology and working on writing numerous books and tracts.
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