Western culture socializes us from a very young age to internalize our ideals about love. Love could be understood as a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. The magnificent narrative of love is often reinforced by pop culture and mass media. The pursuit of love in connection to relationships is often an ongoing and relentless in Western Culture, and how we personally choose to define love may differ depending on how we have been socialized to understand, relate to and accept it.
How does love manifest?
Since love is at the center of our relationships it’s important to consider how it actually manifests itself. Without the presence of love, two people could not commit to one another as they undoubtedly wouldn’t find it meaningful. There would be no catalyst for commitment. At the core of our connection with our current and potential mates, love is an important ingredient in solidifying the connection. Furthermore, love is often the motivation for growth within our relationships.
Since our ideals about love are influenced by many conflicting social factors, often times this may lead to people creating unrealistic expectations about the course of their relationships based off these conflicting messages. These unrealistic expectations often get in the way of our ability to create relationships that are grounded in a consistent message.
A commonly held assumption as a result is that love is all you need to build a healthy relationship.
In order to withstand the pressures and complexities that often occur within all relationships, love must be more than something we simply feel and say. Resilient relationships demand a balance of both actions and emotions in order to blossom.
I know this may sound nonsensical, however love is actually an action verb. Simply put, there are often consistent actions which ought to be inextricably connected with professing one’s love to another. It is important to recognize that love is merely a slice of the complex tapestry that we endearingly refer to as a healthy relationship. As we step back to observe our ideal relationship we realize that the creation of this tapestry is often rooted in our collective values. Our common values often include:
For our marriages to thrive we must be willing to commit to investing the time required to nurture the relationship. Love is an action verb which inspires and impacts the trajectory of our relationships. Take a moment to ask yourself: Is love an action verb in my current relationship? How has love manifested in both my words and actions? What is one thing I can do differently, beginning today, to live in the actuality of love?