Love is not all rainbows and butterflies, although it can start that way. It’s not blind, nor does it always succeed because otherwise, broken hearts won’t even exist. But love is much more complicated than what you might have been led to believe by hopeless romantic stories, and it takes a lot of work to achieve.
Most couples begin their relationship in a constant need to be around each other like they can’t get enough. It can be fun and carefree, with the couple living in their own little world. This stage in the relationship is called the honeymoon phase, and it lasts for an average of six months to two years.
But the real work in a relationship only takes place after the honeymoon phase. The end of this period can be the beginning of misunderstandings and conflicts; it signals the relationship’s make or break stage. Here is how you can make your relationship work and what truly loving someone means:
True love is consciously deciding to stay in the relationship
Being in a relationship is a conscious decision, not only because you shouldn’t be coerced into it by your partner, but also because you have every right to leave if you are unhappy. You choose to be in a relationship with someone because you love them and because they make you happy.
Couples in long-term relationships often speak about how the initial sparks fade, which can refer to the honeymoon phase that ends after a while. This is when the fireworks inside you die down, and then you are left with a choice to keep staying in a relationship or leave it altogether.
You can still love a person even if you aren’t together, which is why being in a relationship is a choice. Your romantic relationship is not a business partnership that you get money out of, but rather an intimate friendship based on emotional support and unconditional love.
True love is choosing to resolve your conflicts
A relationship where the person flees at the first sign of conflict is not built on true love. This is because a couple who is really in love will choose to resolve their misunderstandings instead of putting up communication barriers resulting in a breakup.
When things get hard, that is when your love gets tested. But because staying in a relationship is a choice, the option to leave and never look back is always present. If you feel like you can no longer get anything out of your relationship, then leaving might be your best option.
However, if you are determined to work on your relationship and resolve your conflicts, then your love can prevail. Sorting through misunderstandings can be difficult without a mediator, in which case you might succeed better if you engage in couples counseling to work through your conflicts.
True love is opening yourself to the uncertainties
If there is one thing that is certain in love, it’s that nothing is certain. Your partner can be delighted one minute and asking for space the next or vice versa. This is because humans are fickle beings who follow their hearts over their brains, and hearts aren’t really decisive organs.
That is why to love another person with your whole heart will require opening yourself up to the possibility of getting hurt. Love is a boundless depth of uncertainties that you are allowing yourself to fall into, and in that uncertainty, you can find happiness, sadness, and emptiness.
So if you’re going to love, then love hard because not giving your all can leave you with regrets in the future. You can’t enter a relationship and hope to stay there if your heart is armed like a fortress; always ready to fight against anyone threatening to break down your walls.
Getting your heart broken might be scary, but never loving another person with your whole heart is more frightening. It makes you an empty shell of a human being who is incapable of showing vulnerability and weakness, which are both essential aspects of being in love.
You are capable of loving another person and maintaining a relationship; you might just not have met the person you are willing to give your all to yet, and that’s okay. But when you do find the person who can make your heart beat a little faster and make you want to stay, choose to work through your conflicts and find more reasons to stay than to leave.