It’s a beautiful evening and you’re sitting in a rocking chair enjoying a sunset with the one you love most. You have a few wrinkles and gray hairs, but you feel more beautiful and alive than ever. The person holding your hand is one of the reasons for that (as is the amazing sex you two had this morning). Did I mention you’re turning 70 today?
This is what the future looks like if you’ve found (and worked hard to become) the one. Their happiness is your happiness. Their smile is your smile. And your greatest pleasure comes from giving freely to them. Everything you give each other is received as a gift, and the two of you have grown younger with age. Love is the difference.
Here are 5 signs you’ve found (or are ready to find) the love of your life:
1. You haven’t been looking.
Love is the greatest gift of all, and it is shared freely and without expectation. True love is found not when it is sought, but when it is shared without reservation or expectation.
Are you frustrated with looking? Try falling in love with the gifts you share with the world, and expect nothing in return. That is the path to finding serendipitous and unconditional love with your soul mate. Have faith.
2. You haven’t stopped being curious.
We’re born to play. Couples who play together stay together. It’s how we learn. It’s how we test boundaries, and make sense of a mysterious world. Exploring together is how we stay bonded to those we love for life. “Play is the highest form of research.”
Since we all have an infinite amount of goodness inside, the love of your life will have a lifelong fascination with researching you over and over again. And since play is the highest form of research … You’ll be giggling till the day you die—IF you’ve found the one.
3. You’ve found your purpose.
Each one of us is endowed with special talents we’re meant to use in service of the world. When we make the most of our talents, we are on the way to discovering and living our purposes.
If you’re living a version of your life that doesn’t feel honest to your deepest needs and desires, you’ll feel hollow, fraudulent, empty. Life lived that way is deeply dissatisfying and unsustainable. Until you’re making the most of your talents, you’ll have a tendency to seek fulfillment in other people.
4. Your relationship is characterized by profound subtlety.
Love that lasts a lifetime is a slow burn, not an explosion and a fizzle. You may find true love with a person you’ve known for years. It sometimes takes that long for you to become aware of the subtle genius of your relationship.
Your true love will be instrumental in so many imperceptible spiritual shifts that one single moment could never “prove” it. There’s no such thing as love at first sight. All the little things combine to create an utterly unique masterpiece.
5. You don’t have to settle for anything.
This doesn’t mean you won’t ever be annoyed by your partner’s little idiosyncrasies. But those things are what help us develop patience and acceptance. When it comes to the big things, like values and lifestyle choices, the two of you will be aligned.
If you value life, then your true love will, too. If you need to be respected and cherished, then your partner won’t degrade you with their thoughts and habits. If you believe that God is the source of your meaning and happiness, they will too.
Modern romance, with all its conditions and confusion, has given us relationship vertigo. But if you trace the simple (and, yes, challenging) steps of unconditional love, you will find it.