When you’re single you find yourself looking at your peers ensconced in romantic relations and you try to decipher the secret to good, true love. You know, love that’s fruitful, growth-precipitating, kind and able to foster the spread of kindness beyond the couple in question.

Often, sadly, I find my answer in opposition to what I see my peers doing in their relationships. There are rare and wonderful exceptions, of course.

As a single person, I also read a lot about different ways of defining or creating good love. You can do this when what you study sits on the horizon, yet to be reached, created, invented. What do you think of this approach below from poet and feminist Adrienne Rich?

“An honorable human relationship … in which two people have the right to use the word ‘love’ is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other.”

I like this: Refining the truths they can tell each other…

This is what true relating is about, I find. Or, perhaps, I hope it is.

Refining is always work. The most refined music, literature and art has always taken commitment and work. We stand back and admire such refinement when we see or hear it because we respect the process that the creator has put into it. It’s rich and true because of what went into creating it.

I do the same with love. I admire fully those who refine their truths openly, vulnerably and honestly with their partner. These people are often aware that their partner holds a mirror up to them. They don’t punish their partner for this, despite the delicate, violent, terrifying reflection that they’re presented with. They honour that person all the more for being brave enough to hold the mirror in the first place.

Other favourite definitions or observations about love? Here’s a few of mine here and here and here and here.

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