The Nature of Love

The Experience of Love

Every person experiences love in a unique way. Some gestures of love will more powerfully communicate love to you than others. For example, some people feel close and connected when they can physically touch the other person. Others demonstrate love through words of affirmation or affection, acts of service or thoughtfulness, or by spending time in intimate conversation. Still others feel deeply loved and connected through eye contact or other body language.

Love – a choice, a gift of self

In our culture, ‘love’ is generally seen to be a ‘feeling’. We fall into love and we fall out of it. Love is something that just happens to us; we can’t help falling in and out of love. In fact, ‘love’ is a choice. True love is a conscious, deliberate choice to make a gift of yourself to your spouse.

This ‘gift of self’ is made through the body. We are embodied souls, so our ‘gift of self’ will be expressed and lived out through bodily acts. This may take the form of a generous act of service, the patient listening to another, or even the total ‘gift of self’ enacted in sexual intercourse.

This ‘gift of self’ may be unilateral or mutual. A parent-child relationship is most often a one-sided ‘gift of self’. It is a benevolent love in which the parent has no expectation of having his or her personal needs met. In a mutual ‘gift of self’, the love is reciprocated. This is the ideal of the husband and wife relationship, where both make a sincere ‘gift of self’ to each other.

But what does this ‘gift of self’ look like? It has several important characteristics: it is freely given; it is total and complete, holding nothing back; it is faithful; and it is fruitful.


Posts in this Series

Nature of Love: here – this post

Gender Differences: here

Loving Smart: here

SmartLoving Keys: here

Discover Your Unique Love Profile: here

Have you got a Smart Relationship: here


About the Author:

Francine & Byron Pirola
Francine & Byron Pirola are the founders and principal authors of the SmartLoving series. They are passionate about living Catholic marriage to the full and helping couples reach their marital potential. They have been married since 1988 and have five children. Their articles may be reproduced for non commercial purposes with appropriate acknowledgement and back links.

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