Sometimes when we think about what love really is, we only think about the romantic gestures we read of in romance novels.
To a lot of us, that is what love is all about.
It is not surprising that the meaning of love has been taken over by elegant dinners at expensive restaurants or by picture-perfect moments with your lover. We seem to care more about what people think about our relationships than the state of the relationship itself.
The best relationships are therefore judged by how many expensive gifts are exchanged, and not by the mutual respect partners have for each other.
We tend to think the couples with numerous vacation pictures on the islands are the happiest, or the only ones truly in love. And if our partners are not as affectionate as the other couples are, it becomes a problem.
We don’t even care whether the affection has to be exaggerated or done out of pretense; we just want to do what the other couples are doing.
But there are other important ways of expressing our love to our lovers, which we don’t take note of so often.
True love doesn’t have to be dinner dates and rose petals, true love might be as subtle as an admiring stare or shown through respect, support, and care. They may not be as exciting, but they are equally as important as romance in any relationship, and for the relationship to work, they have to be present.
So, what does it mean to love someone?
What Love Really Means
1. Love is about being selfless
Acts of selflessness may show the kind of person you are, they might also be indicative of the great love that you have for someone.
Putting your desires aside, so that you can have a healthy relationship with your partner is also a way to express your love.
In a relationship where there is love, the relationship becomes the priority. You no longer do things because you want to do them; you do them because they would benefit the relationship and because you love your partner.
Sometimes you do thing things just to make them feel good, even without expecting them to reciprocate.
In relationships where there is no love, partners find themselves in a tug of war so often; each person is only interested in what benefits them that it ruins the relationship.
Even in our relationships, at times we find out that we get so selfish. Our primary focus is often on what we can get from our partners or how they can make us feel. We don’t care about our partner’s feelings, or we forget to ask them how their day went.
Although we might be doing this unknowingly, it could affect the relationship negatively.
2. Love is patience
At certain points in relationships, there are just some things that require patience.
Sometimes we fall in love with someone who just wants to take things slow, or a partner who had been hurt in a previous relationship and may be quite reluctant or extra cautious.
They might not be ready to say “I love you” yet, move into the same apartment as you, or they might not be ready to get married yet.
As long as they have a good reason and we can trust them, sometimes we try to be supportive and wait for them just because we love them.
3. It means understanding them
We should always try to be understanding.
Love could be expressed through trying to be more understanding of how someone feels, why they feel a particular way or act the way they do.
Instead of coming to hasty conclusions, we could always try to explore our partner’s behavior from a different perspective, or we could give them a chance to explain themselves.
Someone who has been hurt in a previous relationship might find it hard to open up emotionally in a new relationship. If we are quick to react, we only escalate the situation.
When we fail to understand them, we might accuse them of not loving us enough or even cheating on us.
A deeper knowledge of what seems to be the problem could help us avoid arguments and save relationships. Sometimes what they need is your sympathy, and not your anger.
4. Love is being committed to someone
When you’re in a committed relationship, you have to do more to make someone happy, either by satisfying their emotional and personal needs, giving your time and energy to ensure that they are happy, or maybe including them in your plan.
You try to be there for them when they need you and reassure them of the love you have for them.
You no longer do some things for your selfish gain if it’s going to affect the person you love in a bad way.
5. It is about making an effort
Love and relationships aren’t always as easy as we think it is.
There are certain difficulties people go through to make a relationship work, compromises that they have to make, or things they have to give up for a healthy relationship with their partners.
Then there could also be lots and lots of arguments in a relationship too.
Love is about continuous effort.
A lot of Hard work and dedication have to be put into a relationship to make it work.
6. Love is to forgive
Even in a relationship, no one’s perfect and it takes true love to understand that.
We each have our different character flaws, and we make mistakes often.
Sometimes we get upset and start a quarrel with our partners, or we ignore them because of the way we feel.
All these may seem childish, and could cause the relationship to end.
It takes a loving partner to look beyond our flaws, wrongdoings and forgive us. At least with the expectation that we wouldn’t make the same mistake again and as long as it’s not detrimental to them.
If you’re in love, then you should as much as you fight and argue, forgive each other and reconcile.
Rather than building resentment or even trying to revenge, you have to learn to put your grudges aside and forgive.
7. Love means being kind to them
True love is being mindful of the feelings of others.
Love is not mean, love does not criticize, and love does not say hurtful things or do things to hurt another
It is normal to feel angry at times, especially when your partner does something wrong. You may feel like lashing out at them, or even saying something that could hurt their feelings during an argument. But if you truly love someone, then you should care about their feelings.
You don’t have to tell them harsh words or give criticisms to make them feel awful.
If there’s a need to call their attention to something they did wrong, then you should communicate it to them in a way that shows you want to help.
8. Love means being respectful
If you truly love your partner, then you should treat them with respect
This involves avoiding things that could be in any way would seem disrespectful to them, avoid doing things that could embarrass them or make them feel hurt.
Even when their opinions are different from yours, you don’t have to dismiss them rudely but share your point of view reasonably.
9. It means being generous
Love is about sharing, and sharing is caring. In a relationship, as the relationship progresses, you begin to see the both of yourselves as one and you become a team.
You realize that the more you love someone, you become invested in them. You become more generous towards them, and you do a lot of things for them because you love them.
You also share your affection with them, you give them your attention, and you are willing to make compromises for them out of love.
When they are going through difficulties, you are eager to help out in anyway that you can.
10. Love is affection
We can’t deny the importance of constant affection in a relationship; Love can be made known by being affectionate.
As a couple, you should attempt to find out what works for the both of you; a love language, something to serve as a constant reminder of what you feel for each other
Affection is how we can convince them to be confident of the love we have for them.
Through actions, words of affection, or surprises, we continuously reassure our partners of our love for them and make them feel secure loving us.
11. Love is accepting someone despite their flaws
You don’t fall in love with someone because they are perfect, but fall in love with them despite their flaws.
Love allows us to see beyond the flaws of our partners. We accept them for who they are despite their shortcomings.
We often talk about finding the perfect one to be in a relationship with, but rarely do we find anyone who fits our description of being perfect.
It’s not like we settle either. It’s just that sometimes, we realize that their flaws are not such a huge turn-off like we used to think they are and that they’d be able to change if we give them a chance.
Sometimes, we begin to realize that we all have our flaws, and our love for them teaches us to be kinder to ourselves despite our flaws.
12. Love is about building trust
For any relationship to work, and for true love to exists in a relationship, both partners have to trust each other.
It is hard to remain truly in love with someone once that trust is broken, or even to love again. It’s also difficult to build that trust once it’s been broken.
In love, because we realize how much our partners trust in us is important. We are constantly trying to build and maintain the trust our partners have for us.
To ensure that they trust us and make them feel secure, we have to convince them by not just our words but by our actions that we deserve their love.
We have to be honest with them and try hard not to disappoint them. We are consistent, respect our commitments and keep our promises.
We should always be careful not to do anything that would betray the trust our partner’s have in us.
13. Love is showing appreciation
Our lovers also put a lot of effort into the relationship to make it work; it may be acts of kindness or even routine chores that we’ve become so used to. Even though our lovers do these things without asking for any form of reward, they still would love to be appreciated.
Our love for our partners can also be demonstrated by appreciating their efforts, when we make them feel valued they feel loved.
We show that we appreciate by saying ‘thank you’ or by doing something thoughtful for them. It might not seem like much, but it has so much value to your partner
Most importantly, showing appreciation would prevent us from looking ungrateful.
14. Giving them attention
We give our partners our undivided attention to show that we love them.
Love thrives on the appropriate amount of attention. As long as we are not overdoing it, attention in a relationship is good.
By being attentive, we not only show that we care, but we also make them feel loved and special.
When we remember something that they had mentioned earlier, it could make them happy, it often surprises that we were paying attention and it makes them feel valued.
Sometimes it’s about paying attention to their non-verbal cues, to figure out what they want but are not saying.
15. Making compromises for them
Even in relationships, there are some things we don’t agree on with our partners. We may want something different from what our lovers want, it might be as simple as the TV show we want to watch, or where we would like to eat.
Sometimes, especially in relationships, compromises are made out of love because we want our partners to be happy
When we want something and our partners want an entirely different thing, we try as much as we can to reach a middle ground with them so that they can be happy.
When we make compromises for someone we love because we have their happiness in mind.
However, we must be careful while we make compromises and ensure that we don’t give up our values or do something that we might regret.
16. It is connecting emotionally to someone
You form an emotional bond with someone when you love them, That emotional connection brings you together and you could build a good relationship with them on that foundation of your emotional connection.
You get the feeling where you just know that they are there for you and you are there for them, that secure feeling makes you comfortable with them and draws you closer.
That emotional connection allows you to be sensitive to their feelings, It always you to be genuinely interested in them, you can understand what they are feeling and connect with them, and you are also able to express yourself emotionally.
17. It is sincerity
We have to emphasize the importance of communication in a relationship because without it the relationship might fall apart.
If you want to build a loving relationship between your partner and you, then there should be no lies, you should always communicate, talk about your feelings, talk about the way they made you feel.
When you keep things away from them, they may get upset when they find out. If you are manipulative, then you may lose their trust.
You don’t have to pretend that you are something that you’re not when you truly love someone; you have to let them know the true you.
You have to be honest, share your feelings and communicate with your partner, avoid making promises that you can’t keep, or using flattery to get something from them.
18. Love is caring
If you truly loved someone, then you care about them.
You can’t just ignore that feeling that you’re genuinely concerned about them. Even when you have disagreements or argue with each other, you still care about each other.
To show someone you care is something you do out of love, you have to be concerned about their well-being and you try to do things to make them as comfortable and as happy as possible. You try to meet their needs as much as you can.
19. Love means emotionally validating their feelings
Sometimes your partner just wants to feel heard.
You should be able to empathize with someone because you love them.
They may share their thoughts and feelings with you, and all they need is for you to listen to what they might be going through at that moment.
You should always take their feelings seriously and try to understand what they might be feeling.
Make them feel heard and be there for them when they need someone to hold on to.
Try to see things from their point of view rather than to criticize or dismiss what they are feeling.
Ask about how their day went, make them know that they are no alone, and assure them that they have your support.
20. It means being supportive
We can express our love by showing support to our partner whenever the need arises.
It is very important for them and relives some of the stress they have to go through, that is what love is about, and it makes them happy
We should count our partner’s wins as not only theirs but ours, and we should handle their difficulties as a team
We should be eager to give them the support that they need, it could be in their careers and another possible way we can. It could be by checking up on them regularly and asking them for more ways we could help.
We can also support them by encouraging and motivating them, and also telling them that they are awesome or comforting them when they need it, when they are going through something rough we stand by them and help them as much as we can.
21. Love also means doing things together.
Couples in love do things together, and once we are in love with someone we want to set goals, we want to build, create achieve things with them, we want to spend time together more, simply because we are in love and we would like to be around our partners more often
We should learn from them, make decisions with them, handle tasks together or do chores together.
As you begin to see you and your partner as a team, you begin to have a common relationship goal, as well as adjust your personal goals to include them.
22. It is admiration
I always pay attention to the way people talk about that partners and that often gives me an idea of how much they love their partners.
When couples talk about how incredible their partners are, or how they are happy to be with them, or say what they like about them, it’s obvious that they are in love with that person.
And when people talk badly about their partners, or in a resentful, then they no longer seem to be impressed about what they used to find attractive in their partners.
When we fall in love with someone, it’s because of something we admire about them, sometimes we can’t say exactly why, but there’s always a reason why we fall in love with them in the first place. Their attitude, how they behave, how they talk to us.
In a relationship, you have to find out what you admire about your partner and constantly tell them what you love dearly about them.
You could tell them that they make you a better person, motivate you, as well as tell them how much you are happy to be with them. This could make them feel loved.