As we celebrate the month of love, we are all inundated with grandiose imagery, and dramatic and romantic story lines. But, simplified: true love is a decision to act in a way that honors both yourself and your loved one. Much of what comprises true love is not always seen in the movies, or in the romance novels. It’s often made up of of some of the most overlooked characteristics that really matter in everyday life.
It’s why I want to offer several expressions of what love truly is – to highlight what I view as the some of the most important aspects of love. You may already be familiar with many of these, but, they are all fundamental to understanding and manifesting the true meaning of love. Here are 6 everyday, (sometimes) overlooked expressions of love…
1. Selflessness (or, Sacrifice)
When you truly love someone, they come first. Their needs outweigh your needs. Their desires outweigh your desires. Thinking of yourself less equates to loving your mate more. Selflessness may look like a husband who is willing to work to put his wife through college, or vice versa. Or, it may be a mother doing without so her child can have the basic necessities. Sacrifice is the willingness to take less, in order for others to have more.
When we think of love, we often think of it romantically, but it’s more than that. Random acts of kindness are actually expressions of love (whether they come with romantic intentions or not). When we are kind, we show love to others. It not only builds them up, but it builds you up as well.
In most facets of life, we often try to master particular skills. And the way we master them is by practicing consistency. A golfer loves a great and consistent swing. A powerful, persuasive speaker desires a consistent cadence and style. If a man treats the lady in his life well, she expects the behavior to remain consistent and he should work to follow through on that treatment over and over. If you are mastering this expression of love, you will receive what I talk about next in return…
Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned. But I say, Heaven hath no blessing like a woman fulfilled. Reciprocity and consistency go hand in hand in relationships. That said, it’s amazing what a person will do for you if you consistently show kindness, sacrifice and selflessness. The beautiful thing about reciprocity is that it’s an endless cycle that encourages deeper love, intimacy, trust, and respect. Reciprocity helps to form unbreakable bonds.
Something great happens when we make the conscious decision to serve another person. Service could be as simple as going downstairs to get your mate a drink, helping with the kids, or providing a way for someone to have transportation when they have no other means. Serving others should come from a place of desire to make a difference or to see the one you love happy – not from a place of obligation or as a means to an end.
I want to follow the example Christ set for us as our Comforter. The truth is, everyday will not be a good day. Some days will be dark and dreary. This is when it becomes important to comfort the people we love and care about. However, comfort doesn’t always have to come when something dramatic takes place. It could be as simple as listening to your significant other’s day at work, or offering to be a sounding board for a hard decision a good friend may have to make. The great thing about being a comforter is that you don’t have to have all the answers needed to “fix” a problem. It could simply mean being present and showing you care.
As we end our month-long celebration of love, I encourage you to think about the ways you can identify and show love everyday. The grand gestures are great, but what sustains strong, healthy relationships (whether romantic, platonic, or familial) are the everyday, sometimes overlooked characteristics mentioned above.
Which of these 6 expressions of love do you appreciate most? Let’s talk about it!
This post was written by Jay Hurt. Jay is a Relationship Coach, columnist and author of the book, The 9 Tenets of a Successful Relationship, for Singles. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and his website.