Monday, May 11, 2015



Love is the greatest gift God ever gave man. It is one of life’s greatest highlights. It is hard to define what a true love exactly means. Love is best considered as devotion and action, not an emotion.  True devotion will always lead to action—true love. So it is not merely a feeling, it’s a commitment. It is a deep commitment for the betterment of the other person. It is a vow to unconditionally accept and cherish this person, even when the conditions change, even when one feels like leaving.

True love can be found in all truly loving. It, in part, is a feeling. But the feeling is not always true love.  True love is not the same as infatuation. Infatuation has been defined as “being completely carried away by affections,” or “the emotional impulse of love untested by time or circumstance.” When the feeling part of love is so strong that it blinds us to reality, it is infatuation. Such love based on feelings alone will never endure the bad times, sickness, or if things got worse. (Lenz, n, d).

Many have fallen in love and many have fallen out of love to find true love. It is possible to experience all the emotions and affections in a relationship, and not be real or true love. True love is not blind. If it does not pass, it will not last (ibid).

One of the true love poems discussed in this paper is Richard Carter’s True Love poem. The paper attempts to capture and describes the characteristics of true love as illustrated in the poem:

Love is a Rose,
It is often said,
With a sweet smelling scent
And a heart that beats bright red.
It is also said,
Love is a Rose
Which can greet you with scorn:
If you hold it too tightly,
You'll get pricked by a thorn.
But I say,
True Love is like the Rose
You cast upon the sea
Bobbing this way and that
Wild and free.
If this True Love
Is meant to be yours,
It will float back to you
As you stand upon the shore.

~~Richard Carter~~
Richard Carter’s Concepts of True Love

This section reveals what Richard Carter suggests regarding true love. In Carter’s view, true love: (1) brings about joy and happiness, (2) may cause pain, (3) provides freedom, (4) recognizing the presence of the other, and (5) requires a lifelong commitment.

Bringing about joy and happiness

Carter implicitly stated that true love is one of the greatest joys in one’s life. If there is no joy in love, it is not true love It can be inferred from a sweet smelling scent and a heart that beats bright red (line #3 and #4). In this sense, joyful and memorable moments left by the passing of true love. It also implies the desire to make someone happy, to bring joy to a beloved person; it is the ability to bring joy and happiness to the person one loves. If one is suffering all the time, if one cries all the time, and if one makes the person he or she loves cry, this is not really love (Nhât Hành, 1997).
Causing pain

By saying “Which can greet you with scorn, If you hold it too tightly, You'll get pricked by a thorn”, Carter implies that true love can quite painful. This is in accordance with what Smith (2014) has suggested:

Love, marriage, and family will be the most painful things you’ll ever experience. Not because they’re bad things, but because to love at all means to open yourselves up to vulnerability and pain. And to love someone completely—as you do in marriage—is to put your whole heart on the line… True love asks us to do hard things, almost impossible things.

However, if we choose forgiveness over bitterness, that pain can heal instead of hurt. Instead of a pain that divides, it can be a pain that binds. Instead of a pain that breaks us down, it can be a pain that builds us up.

Providing freedom

In Carter’s view, true love also provides equanimity or freedom. In true love, one attains freedom. When one loves, he or she brings freedom to the person loved. Carter said in his poem: You cast upon the sea, Bobbing this way and that
Wild and free
.  In true love, one must love in such a way that the person he or she loves feels free, not only outside but also inside (ibid).

Recognizing the presence of the other

To be in true love, Carter suggests that one should be there for the person he or she should love through his words As you stand upon the shore (line #17). This is relevant with what Nhât Hành (1997) once suggested:

To be there is the first step, and recognizing the presence of the other is the second step. To love is to recognize; to be loved is to be recognized by the other. If you love someone and you continue to ignore his or her presence, this is not true love.
(Nhât Hành, 1997, p. 13)

Requiring a long-life commitment

According to Carter, true love needs a lifelong commitment as stated in it will float back to you as you stand upon the shore (line # 16 and #17).  In true love, one requires a commitment to a lifelong. The mutual commitment creates a moral bond—a set of rights and obligations to each other. The commitment to be faithful to one’s spouse—for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, until death parts them (Lee, 2014).

To sum up, true love makes one feel attraction. It creates intimacy, closeness and connectedness. Having true love, one confronts his or   her greatest challenges, identify his or  her biggest fears, and ultimately emerge a stronger person than he or she’s ever been (Lopez, 2014).

Lee, P. (2014). Marriage Redefinition and a Lifelong Commitment.

Lopez, J. (2014). True Love. Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Nhât Hành, T. (1997). True love: a practice for awakening the heart. Boston & London: Shambala.

Smith, S. A. (2014).  True Love Should Be Painful.

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