Inter-personal ‘love’ is often confused with a temporary attraction, a need to feel wanted, lust, a relationship of convenience, ego booster, and so on.
The music group called the Flame sang, ‘For your precious love, I’ll give you the world on a silver cloud.’’ But they qualified that by the line, ‘But you know as well as I, that would be a lie.’’ What one interprets as ‘love’ can be misleading.
Shakespeare was more specific in his definition. He wrote: “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove, o no, It is an ever fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken.”
Love should be enduring and steadfast even in the most challenging of times. Qualities of true love should include respect, trust, affection, openness, and commitment. Love is questionable if these aspects are absent.
Love begins with the self. You cannot love somebody else if you don’t first love yourself. Loving yourself raises your self-esteem and confidence. If you love yourself, it will show in the way you groom, dress, talk, think, socialise and in the performance of your work. This positive energy in turn will attract others to you.
A further precursor to a relationship is transparency or openness. Everybody has some weakness. Love means revealing your weaknesses and working jointly towards resolving them.
Often people who fall in love do not reveal their short-comings lest they be rejected. These short-comings are then discovered later when commitment sets in. This late discovery can lead to the end of a long relationship or marriage.
Love is about sharing, giving and taking. It becomes one-sided when one partner just takes. This is regarded as being selfish and dependent. Similarly, just giving without receiving love creates an imbalance in the relationship. An imbalance can lead to a fall-out.
Psychologist, Robert Sternber said that love has three components: intimacy, commitment and passion. Intimacy is a form in which two people share confidences and personal details of their lives. This is shown in friendships and romantic love affairs. Commitment, on the other hand, is the expectation that the relationship is permanent.
The third form of love is sexual attraction and passion. Passionate love is shown in infatuation, as well as, romantic love.
Being in love is exciting, invigorating, and stimulating. It can only stay that way when both parties work at it and not let the flame die.