Say what you will about Taylor Swift, the girl can write a love song. On her 1989 album, one of the songs titled You Are in Love says,
“You understand now why they lost their minds and fought the wars / And why I’ve spent my whole life trying to put it into words.”
She’s right. When it comes to love, people lose their minds and even start wars over love (We’re looking at you, Helen of Troy).
The full meaning of love cannot be summed up in a blog post, but here are five of its top qualities.
It’s not love if you can’t talk to your partner. Open, honest, and frequent communication is a sign of a healthy and mature relationship.
Whether you need to communicate about household chores, boundaries with friends and family, the expectations of your relationship, what’s for dinner, or your sex life, you need to be able to talk.
It’s especially healthy to communicate positive thoughts and feelings.
Sometimes we think communication is only for something that is “wrong” or we need to resolve an argument, but positive reinforcement is also helpful for a relationship.
This can be as simple as going to the movies with your partner and taking the time to tell them that you are so happy to be there together.
Even if you both know that you enjoy going to the movies and spending time together, telling your partner that out loud will make the moment feel more special.
Love builds on thousands of small moments like that. Don’t be afraid to compliment your partner or tell them how happy you are.
It will strengthen the love you feel for each other.
If you or your partner struggle with this, start small. Give each other grace but be consistent about it.
It may feel awkward at first, but as you talk about small things, it will become easier to talk about more sensitive or serious subjects.
If your partner is unwilling to communicate with you or is uninterested in improving his or her communication skills, it could be a sign that something deeper needs to be resolved.
This could be a symptom of a mental health diagnosis like depression or narcissism.
It may also be a warning sign that the relationship needs work. Withholding communication is not a quality of love, nor is the unwillingness to improve it.
A key quality of love is the ability to serve one another. Small acts of service show your partner that you can put them first above your own needs.
You should take care of yourself and your needs, of course. No one needs a martyr. But don’t be selfish about it.
Make up a plate for your partner before yourself the next time you two make dinner. Ask them what they need help with. Be there for one another.
Service is a part of love because of the tender kindness it embodies.
Even something as simple as a love note slipped into your partner’s jacket pocket or wallet can be a sweet way to let them know that you’re mindful of them.
When it comes to service, it’s the thought or action that counts, not the grandiosity or glamor of it.
A crowning characteristic of love is loyalty to your partner. He or she should come before anyone else.
Take their side, give them the benefit of the doubt, and defend them when needed. Loyalty is especially important to show when your partner is not there to speak for him or herself.
Loyalty to your partner shows others that you are a united couple and that you are each other’s highest priority.
It’s something you can show to each other, but it deepens when you are presented with opportunities to demonstrate it.
A way that you can do this is to always be careful about the way you speak about your partner in front of friends and family.
Whether your partner is there or not, it is important to have their back.
Never do anything that will put your partner on the spot, embarrass them, or make them feel inferior.
Loyalty in love allows for other traits like trust to be a part of your relationship. If you can’t trust that your partner is loyal to you, what kind of love is that?
If you suspect that your partner is not being loyal to you, sexually or otherwise, do not betray their trust by spying on them or going through their phone.
Do not sink to their level. Bring them up to yours. Share your concerns or doubts and talk about them.
You may be completely misreading the situation, or your instincts may be right. Either way, believe them when they show you who they are.
This one should go without saying, but there is always an element of affection and romance in any loving, romantic relationship.
A relationship without any affection or passion is just a friendship. It may be a really great friendship, but no one wants to make out or sleep with their friends.
There are many different ways for couples to express their love and show affection. And, how you show your love (and receive it) may look different from your partner.
In fact, there’s a whole book written about the different love languages: acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, and physical touch.
If you or your partner struggle with showing affection, it may be helpful to talk about how you want to show or receive love from them.
Not everyone shows their love through words, so this will be a good way to understand more about their behavior and how they treat you.
The old adage that life is meant to be enjoyed, and not endured, rings true for relationships too!
If there’s anyone who you can laugh with, it should be the love of your life.
It doesn’t need to be a comedy show 24/7, but you should be able to let loose with one another. An element of playfulness in love keeps things alive and enjoyable.
Laughter instigates a chemical response in the body that helps you to relax because of the increase in blood flow and oxygenation.
Studies have shown it even helps with depression and pain tolerance.
If you and your partner are looking for more ways to laugh together, try new things together.
If you are both trying something new, it takes the pressure off and allows you to experience it together, even if you fail.
Try a new recipe, go to a pottery class, go roller or ice skating, play a new game, watch a funny movie, or find a comedian on YouTube you both like. Whatever it is, it’s good to laugh!