Love makes the world go round but if it isn't love, it can make the world go wrong!
As parents of a combined total of 19 children (varying in age from 9 to 47) — and even more grandchildren, we, the co-directors of Dasi–Ziyad Family Institute are bound to get questions of all kinds from our children. The older ones and the younger ones approach us for wise answers to curious, sad or challenging questions.
Then there are the hundreds of clients and workshop participants who query us (Since we are Certified Family Life Educators (CFLEs) and Certified Better Together Instructors) about their relationships, their families and even their innermost desires, hopes and dreams. Here are some of them:
Do you think I will love this child as much as I do my first one?
Is it all right to want time for myself?
Why should I forgive him when he betrayed my trust?
She wants to be more than friends, am I really ready for this?
What’s the difference between marriage and cohabitation?
Because of one such question that we were asked for the umpteenth time: How do I know it’s love?, In this article, we’ll talk about looking at your relationship to know if it’s love. Or not.
Here are some general truths about love: When it’s love we feel better about ourselves; we feel lovable and capable, validated and worthwhile. When we are loved, we feel safe. In a relationship therefore, if we are feeling unsafe, it is probably not true love.
And because love — especially in a marriage or premarital relationship, should be reciprocal—each person in a relationship should feel loved and worthwhile. If it’s not reciprocal or mutually beneficial, then it’s like the old song says: “I found love on a two way street—but lost it on a lonely highway.”
Take the mini test below if you are in a relationship—either married or premarital: Answer each question with a yes or no.
- Do you feel that you can trust or depend on your spouse/mate?
- Do you feel that your spouse can trust or depend on you?
- Are you good friends?
- Do you feel you would die without your spouse/mate?
- Is your spouse/mate the only person who can make you happy?
- Are most of the problems in your relationship due to the unreasonableness or lack of understanding of your spouse?
- Are you honest with your spouse?
- Is your spouse honest with you?
- Do you talk openly and honestly about your feelings and your concerns?
- Do you forgive mistakes?
- Does your spouse forgive mistakes?
- Are you afraid of your spouse?
- Is your spouse afraid of you?
- Has your spouse ever abandoned you in an unsafe place or situation?
- Have you ever abandoned your spouse in an unsafe place or situation?
- Do you ever humiliate your spouse/mate?
- Does your spouse ever humiliate you?
- Do you express anger in healthy ways?
- Do you feel that you have to constantly prove your love?
- Does either of you touch each other in ways that are uncomfortable?
We could add a very important question to this list which has so much to do with creating and maintaining a lasting, healthy relationship:
Is there a spiritual or principle-based foundation that you both agree on?
No matter who or where you are, genuine loving relationships are characterized by healthy communication, honesty, respect, friendship, trust, forgiveness, appreciation and compassion. So asking the right questions can make a big difference when you are endeavoring to understand your own relationship.