A relationship is composed of many things: friendship, sexual attraction, intellectual compatibility, and, of course, love. Love is the glue that keeps a relationship strong and solid. But how do you know if you are truly in love? Here are some signs that the emotion you are feeling is healthy, life-enhancing love.
1. Love is not lust
Despite the phrase “it was love at first sight”, love is not something we feel right away. That strong feeling of attraction, like a magnet pulling you towards that person you’ve just met? That’s infatuation and sexual chemistry. Mother nature gives us a big dose of infatuation in order to get us together initially. Love does include sexual chemistry but it differs because it is an emotion that takes time to build. Lust can appear in an instant; love evolves over a period of time as you get to know the other person inside and out.
2. A relationship without love is not really a fully-faceted relationship
You may be immensely sexually-attracted to your partner but that does not mean you love your partner. If you haven’t developed a base of loving feelings with your partner, once the sexual spark dies down, you will become bored.
3. Love, like fine wine, takes time to bloom
A loving relationship is not built in a day. The threads of love take time to weave together to form a strong bond. It is only as you and your partner share your thoughts, fears, dreams and hopes that love takes root. So trust the process and don’t rush love. It has its own timetable that needs to be respected and not hurried.
4. Is there only one true love?
We talk about “soul mates” but humans are built with the capacity to love over and over again. Thankfully so, or we would never recover from our high school crush, or losing a partner to divorce or death.
5. Love is generous
In a truly loving relationship, we give to the other without an expectation of return. We don’t keep an account of who did what for the other. Giving pleasure to our partner gives us pleasure, too.
6. We feel what our partner feels
When we see our partner happy, we feel a sense of joy as well. When we see that they are sad or depressed, we feel their blue mood, too. With love comes empathy for the other person’s emotional state.
7. Love means compromise
When we love someone, we are willing to compromise in order to accommodate their needs or desires. But we don’t sacrifice our own self in doing this, nor should the other person require us to sacrifice our own self for their personal gain. That’s not love; that’s control and abuse.
8. Respect and kindness
When we love, we act respectfully and kindly towards each other. We do not intentionally hurt or denigrate our partner. When we talk about them in their absence, it is with such warmth that the listeners can hear the love in our words. We do not criticize our partner behind their backs.
9. We act with ethics and morals
Our love for the other person enables us to act morally and ethically, both with them and in our community. Their presence in our life makes us want to be a better person so that they will continue to admire us.
10. We are guardians of each other’s solitude
With love, we never feel lonely, even when alone. The very thought of the other person makes us feel as if we have a guardian angel with us at all times.
11. Their wins are sources of happiness for us, not jealousy
When our partner succeeds at something after a long effort, we beam with joy as if we were the winner, too. There is no feeling of jealousy or competition, just pure pleasure at seeing our beloved’s success.
12. They are always on our mind
Even when separated for work, travel, or other commitments, our thoughts drift towards them and what they might be doing “right now.”
13. Sexual intimacy deepens
With love, sex becomes sacred. Different from the early days, our lovemaking now is deep and holy, a true joining of bodies and minds.
14. We feel safe
The presence of love in the relationship allows us to feel protected and safe as if the other person is a safe harbor for us to come home to. With them, we feel a sense of security and stability.
15. We feel seen and heard
Our partner sees us for who we are and still loves us. We can show all our sides, positive and negative, and receive their love unconditionally. They know who we are at our core. Love allows us to bare our souls and feel grace in return.
16. Love allows us to fight without fear
Secure in our love relationship, we know we can argue and that it will not break us apart. We agree to disagree and we don’t hold grudges for too long because we don’t like to hold bad feelings towards our partner.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.