What is real love like? When you ponder this question what comes to mind? A scene from a romantic movie? A wedding? A scene from your life? Do you still believe in real love?
Real love stands the test of time. It’s when two people accept one another warts and all and commit to a life together. They weather the storms and enjoy the tranquility of the good times.
In order for real love to flourish, both people have to be brave enough to be themselves. So ultimately, real love is when two people share all of who they are with each other and continue to evolve and grow together rather than apart.
Here’s what real love is like when two people are actually honest about everything:
You Know What Makes Each Other Feel Loved
When you don’t feel well do you like to be left alone? Or do you want to be pampered and taken care of? Most people treat their partner the way they want to be treated, instead of finding out what their partner needs from them. You may even find yourself arguing with your partner about what he/she really needs from you.
Be honest about what you need and ask for it. Be willing to give your partner what he/she wants and needs. As long as your needs aren’t in conflict with each other, you can make each other feel loved and cared for.
If your needs are in conflict, work together to create a win-win so that both of you get what you want. This may take a little more effort and creativity, and it is most definitely worth it. Constantly compromising with each other is the death of passion, so you want to limit meeting in the mediocre middle.
Maybe you like to receive gifts, but he expresses his love through physical touch. Or maybe she wants to hear how much you love her, but it’s much easier for you to fix things around the house to show your love.
Know what makes you feel loved and ask for it from your partner. Also, be curious about how your partner feels loved and be generous in giving what he/she really needs.
What is real love like when you’re honest about your wants and needs? You both get to feel loved and share that love with each other.
You Learn How To Take Responsibility For What Is Yours
One of the most important tools for a healthy relationship is understanding the responsibility equation: “When someone has a problem with you, it is their problem. When you have a problem with someone now it is your problem.”
Are you taking responsibility for your partner’s mood or behavior? Do you blame others when you make a mistake or don’t behave well?
In order to be honest in your relationship, you must first be honest with yourself. Know your triggers, wounds, and become aware of your strategies for giving and receiving love. All the sages say, “Know thyself.” This is poignantly true when it comes to creating real love.
Creating healthy boundaries means that you do not take responsibility for what does not belong to you. Your partner’s moods and actions are not your own – never treat them as such. By keeping a healthy boundary you can have space for your relationship to thrive.
What is real love like when you’re honest about your feelings and strategies? You learn to take responsibility for your own behavior and create a healthy boundary with your partner that fosters respect.
You Discover How To Create Connection, Even During Conflict
Why are people so drawn to creating intimate relationships? Because connection is a basic human need and you feel most connected in a healthy relationship. You want another person to get you and understand you. Most of all you want to belong and know that your partner has your back.
You create connection through authenticity. Being authentic means you are sharing your experience: your emotions, thoughts, ideas, and even your fears.
Allowing yourself to be fully seen requires some courage and most of all some practice. Particularly when there is a conflict ensuing.
Many conflicts happen when one or both of you are not being authentic. The good news is that conflict shows up to bring the two of you closer together. By sharing your inner world and being honest and authentic about what is going on with you, you create an invitation for your partner to share his/her own truth.
Connection doesn’t require that the two of you agree. It does require that you are authentic and that you allow yourself to see your partner’s point of view.
What is real love like when you are authentic even in an argument? You get to create an even deeper connection between the two of you.
You Feel Compassion For Each Other
Judgment is the biggest block to sharing love with another. When you are judging your partner’s thoughts, feelings, or actions you are creating a wall between the two of you.
The only way to release judgment is to discover compassion for your partner’s behavior. Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have. If you or your partner is not feeling very resourceful then you will not have the best strategies.
Give yourself and your partner some grace. Life can be difficult at times and during these challenges you may not always make the best choices. Have compassion for your own bad strategies and work to develop better ones over time.
Just remember that change takes effort over time, and don’t expect perfection right away. Effort counts for both you and your partner.
What is real love like when you are compassionate with each other? You extend grace to you and your partner so you don’t build up resentment.
You Clean Up Your Messes As You Go
Avoiding conflict will never deepen the connection between you and your partner. Conflicts and disagreements show up in every relationship. Part of being human is to accept that you will sometimes be triggered. Learn to be okay with your humanness.
Problems that are avoided become bigger issues over time. The little annoyances become bigger frustrations that can erupt into even bigger conflicts. Don’t be like a volcano and spew lava all over the place when you can’t contain the pressure any longer.
Release the pressure by speaking your truth. When there is something between the two of you clean it up in the moment. Say what you need to say and then let it go.
What is real love like when you are honest about the little things? You move quickly through disagreements and spend more time feeling valued.
You Discover Your Shared Dreams, Values, And Goals
It isn’t common interests that create a lasting bond. Love doesn’t last because of chemistry and attraction. Love lasts because the two of you are on the same page. You want the same things from life. You may have different strategies for getting there, but you know the two of you are rowing the boat in the same direction.
Having shared dreams, values, and goals is the glue that makes love last through trying times. You won’t discover shared values by just having conversations about what is important to each of you. You discover your partner’s values over time by seeing how he/she spends their resources.
Be open and honest with yourself and your partner in why you spend time on certain activities. You’ll discover whether or not the two of you really are on the same page.
What is real love like when you’re honest about what you value? You know you’ll have what it takes to make your love last.
You Have A Commitment To Healing And Growing Old Together
A healthy relationship grows stronger with age. Couples who grow apart do so because they don’t give attention to the relationship.
When you are honest about everything you have an opportunity to heal many of your wounds together. Through this healing process, you’ll grow closer, your love will grow deeper, and you’ll create the fuel to make your love last.
You are not responsible for your partner’s healing nor is your partner responsible for yours. However, you can create an environment where you learn to love and accept each other exactly as you are, not expecting or needing each other to change. This kind of acceptance is one of the most healing experiences you will ever have.
What is real love like when you give attention to each other and the relationship? Your love ages like a fine wine and stands the test of time.
When the two of you are honest about everything you create an environment of openness and trust that enriches your life and your relationship. Avoid the trap of growing apart or evolving in different directions by sharing your truth and by being curious about your partner. Your reward will be a deep lasting love that will grow even better over time.
Are you stuck in a power struggle with your partner? Struggling to get your needs met? Join us in our private Facebook group, Common Sense About Love. In this group, we host special events where you’ll receive exclusive access to us and a supportive community, all devoted to the idea of creating lasting love.
Orna and Matthew Walters are TV’s favorite dating and relationship experts. They uncover subconscious blocks to love so that you can select an ideal partner to share your life with. Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.