When I was growing up I heard a lot about this concept of “True Love.” It was everywhere, in movies, in books, practically smothering me with it’s syrupy goodness. As near as I could tell, True Love was a perfect idealized love that existed in and of itself, a thing wholly perfect, without beginning and without end.
But about two and a half years ago, I got married to the woman of my dreams. Before I met my wife I never believed in the idea of “the one.” I just thought people looked around until they found the best possible match for them and settled for that. I never in a million years would have believed that fate or destiny played a role in any of it.
But all that changed when I met my wife. She was…perfect. Well, maybe not perfect exactly, but perfect for me. We could sit and talk for hours on end and feel like only a few minutes had passed. I knew I had found my soul mate. So I asked her to marry me.
And now after two wonderful years of being married to my soul mate I’m here to tell you that I’ve yet to spot that mythical beast named True Love. But that’s okay, because I’ve found something better. Something real. Something I like to call Real Love. And this is what it looks like.
Real Love is hard work. In a way, it’s like tending a garden: it’s something that must constantly be nurtured day in and day out, and it isn’t always fun. You have to water it and feed it and weed it out on a daily basis. It’s not a glamorous job, but the fruits are always worth the work.
Real love is boring. You know that fireworks romance stuff you see in the movies? Yeah, turns out you can’t believe everything you see in the movies. Who knew? Real love, if it is going to last, has to become a routine. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be moments of fire and passion, but on the whole it’s about staying consistent every day, no matter what happens.
Real love is not about feelings. Because, let me tell you something, if you are in a relationship for the long term there will come times when you won’t have that warm and bubbly feeling in your heart. But real love keeps going even when it doesn’t feel like it. Emotions are flexible, they change like the wind. Real love is stronger than that. Real love is a decision.
Real love is every day. Ever heard of Happily Ever After? Well guess what, turns out that’s fiction too. There’s no magical sunset you can ride off into where all your troubles will be over. You have to keep going, keep working, keep doing everything you can to shore up your love against all the storms that will come and try to tear it apart. Real Love it never done till you’re dead.
Real love is forgiving. Because, let’s face it, there are going to be some fights. And that’s okay to a point. People disagree. It’s one of the things we do best. And sometimes people screw up. I’ve given my wife plenty of legitimate reasons to be angry with me over the years. The key isn’t in never having a fight. The key to real love is being able to work out your differences and imperfections.
Real love takes sacrifice. It might seem like a nice idea to have a love that magically springs up from the depths of the heart and is ever impacted the realities of life. But the truth is that kind of love, if it existed, wouldn’t be worth anything. Because it wouldn’t cost anything. And real love always costs something.
So yeah, maybe Real Love isn’t the wonderful and perfect ideal maybe you’ve been told about all your life, but that’s okay. Because Real Love is…real. For all of it’s flaws and imperfections it means something. And for what it’s worth, I wouldn’t give it up for all the True Love in the world.