It’s particularly in February – right around Valentine’s Day – that people are reminded, once again, of the phrase “true love”. For many people, true love is something mentioned only in fairy tales or in the movies. They might convince themselves that believing in it will only set themselves up for painful disappointment when they can’t find their perfect partner. They think, “it’s too good to be true.” Reading a nice story is one thing, but trying to find love in real life is something entirely different.
When I was a young girl, I also used to believe in the notion of a ‘special someone’ – your one true love – that would sweep you off your feet and love you forever and ever. Disney movies were pretty good at making the “happily ever after” look amazing. But I always wondered, what happened after Snow White and her prince rode off into the sunset to their castle in the clouds? Were they always happy? How was their relationship after they had kids?! And what if they both just decided one day to move on?
The real definition of “true love” is something worth pondering and discussing because it definitely means different things for different people. For some, meeting your “true love” may be a placeholder for the ideal romantic partner towards whom you have strong feelings of affection and adoration. For others, your “true love” may simply mean someone who really cares about you through thick and thin, like a friend, a neighbor or a family member.
Alternatively, instead of viewing “true love” as a person that conveniently fulfills one’s wants and needs, I believe that true love should be defined as a selfless action that benefits and uplifts others. I feel that the idea of “true love” should not be limited and constrained to mean a fuzzy, warm but fleeting feeling you get from someone in a romantic relationship. I can’t help but feel that it is a disservice to us all that we might think in this way! What if real, “true love” was defined as an honest, genuine, selfless love that’s always seeking the good of all? What if we were to look at “true love” as a sacred action of serving and loving someone no matter what you might receive in return? In any relationship, whether it be with your spouse, children, or parents, true love can be what we do, when we push ourselves to be the best person we can be, in order to uplift, serve and love others. This is a love most often experienced in the family.
Of course, nothing lasting ever comes easily. Fast-forward 30 years and that young girl who loved those Disney movies today has a stellar husband and a handful of beautiful, funny, and strong-willed kids. From all the experiences in between that time, I can tell you: loving is hard work! Trying to love with “true” love is even harder because it forces you to see everything from a much larger perspective than your own. But it gives you even more motivation because it is out of a love that is constantly growing. I’ve found that the more you love, the more you are able to love.
It is truly amazing to see a shining example of someone living with the motivation to love others from the deepest part of his or her heart. Seeing that mother who stays up all night caring for her sick child; that father that works overtime to provide for his family; that oldest daughter that tries her best to be a good example, sacrificing for her siblings to help her parents; that grandfather that passes on wisdom and encourages his grandchildren in every opportunity to always do their best and be someone great for the world. Like a four-leaf clover, these moments may be few and far between, but they are so special and awe-inspiring to see.
So, do I still believe in “true love”? My answer is yes. But I realize now that, to me, “true love” means so much more than the words written in a fairy tale. My own definition has changed and morphed into something more grand and beautiful. Despite what some may think, true love is real and can exist in our world, but only if we know where to look and how to learn about it. True love is not just a person we find, but it is something you can give to all those around you. It is any selfless action rooted in something lasting and deep – and the most lasting and deepest source of love I can think of comes from God. With God as the first and real creator of “true love”, I know I can choose to live a life of ”happily ever after”.
My husband and I created a vlog about this topic of “true love,” and we share our story of how we met and how our love has grown. Hope you enjoy watching it!