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- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

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What is "True Love?"

A reader's question: I would like to know more about true love...

Ah, "true love"

First, let's talk about different kinds of "love"

1) There is the kind of "love" that matches the phrase "love at first sight." I think the word "lust" is much more apt for this emotion, but...

2) There is conditional love: I will "love" you as long as you do what I want, e.g. take out the trash, have sex with me, cook and clean house, have a well-paying job, be home for dinner every night...

3) There is unconditional love: This is an emotion that does not require any reciprocity. When Christians talk about "Jesus' love," this is the kind of love they refer to.

In a marriage, or long-term intimate relationship, all three of the above are present, to some degree, and are intermixed is ways that cannot always be distinguished.

So what is "true love" in an intimate relationship? For me, true love is a long-lasting relationship with lots of #3, some #1, and as little #2 as possible.

No partner in a love relationship...
should feel that he has to give up
an essential part of himself to make it viable.
- May Sarton

True love is a process of co-creation
in which neither feels ownership or superiority.
Jealousy is a highly destructive force
for love and relationships.

True love is never a selfish emotion.
If you want something from someone -
especially if that something is sex -
what you are feeling is not true love.
True love is about wanting happiness for the person you love -
and not about seeking happiness for yourself.
Fortunately, in most cases our own loving presence
is the greatest gift we can give to a person we love.
Nonetheless, the litmus test of love is knowing
we would choose never to see that person again
if we believed that distance would bring them greater happiness.

Great relationships begin with two people who are each
self confident and who come to each other with the openness
to see and accept the other as a unique and wonderful person.
If there is true love and an alignment of fundamental values,
choose to join your life with your new partner
and vow never to criticize their nature -
the essence that makes them uniquely themselves.

May the world be kind to you, and may your own thoughts be gentle upon yourself.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie