What love is (and isn’t)

What love is (and isn’t)

What is love? “It’s one of those things you ask a hundred people, you’ll get 100 definitions,” says Arielle Ford, a celebrated love and relationship expert and author of The Love Thief

For most people, though, they think of love as the state of being in love. Arielle has a unique perception of it.

Arielle Ford’s mission is simple yet profound: to help people find love, sustain it, and transform their lives through it. As a leading personality in personal growth and contemporary spirituality, her approach combines the spiritual with the practical, making her advice accessible and relatable. Her literary contributions are also noteworthy, with 11 non-fiction books to her name. These works go into the intricacies of love and relationships, offering guidance and insights to readers worldwide. Her latest book, The Love Thief, marks her foray into fiction, portraying a compelling tale of love, betrayal, and transformation — all inspired by real events.

In an episode of Honest Conversations, she sits down with Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani to not only demystify love but also lay down the foundational elements necessary for nurturing lasting relationships.

What Love Is (and Isn’t), According to Arielle Ford

Arielle offers a fresh perspective on understanding love, essentially reimagining love in a way that’s easy to grasp but profound. The “love” definition, according to her, is a behavior. It’s about:

  • A choice: You choose to love someone. It’s a decision you make.
  • An action: Love is expressed through your actions.
  • A way of being: Love becomes a part of who you are, shaping your identity.

This view aligns with fascinating scientific insights. For instance, love stirs up a mix of hormones and neurotransmitters. Research shows that love increases cortisol, a stress hormone, and dopamine, which stimulates pleasure in our brains. 

Initially, love can be intense and obsessive, thanks to these surges. However, as love matures, serotonin levels stabilize and oxytocin levels increase. The latter hormone strengthens bonds and brings numerous health benefits, as seen in long-term married couples who often enjoy longer lives and better health.

However, Arielle also clarifies what love is not:

  • Not constant euphoria: Love doesn’t mean you’re always on a high.
  • Not an escape: It’s not about avoiding loneliness.
  • Not just romantic: Love extends beyond a romantic partner.

She challenges the narrow view that love is only about romantic relationships. Her definition of a soulmate includes family, friends, and even pets.

The complexity of love is mirrored in the scientific world, where it’s acknowledged that love shifts from passionate to companionate over time. Successful relationships often balance these two aspects, rekindling passion and nurturing companionship through the years.

What Does It Take to Find and Keep Love? Arielle Ford Shares 5 Must-Have Components of a Lasting Relationship

To find and sustain love, Arielle highlights five key components. Understanding these will help you have realistic expectations for your current relationships as well as new ones.

1. Connection

Connection refers to the emotional bond you feel with someone. It’s the sense of ease and comfort you experience when you’re with someone, where conversations flow naturally and you’re often feeling worthy, understood, and valued. 

“We could have a connection,” says Arielle to Kristina as an example. “I could really admire and appreciate you but be opposed to your views on certain things.”

This connection can be instantaneous and is typically based on feelings and emotions. And it’s often the spark that ignites a relationship.

2. Compatibility

Often confused with connection, compatibility is more about how well two people’s lifestyles, values, goals, and interests align. Arielle gives examples of how, if you both love traveling, planning trips becomes a shared joy, not a source of stress.

It involves agreeing on major life decisions, having similar or complementary personalities, and sharing core beliefs and values. While a connection might draw people together, compatibility is what tends to sustain a relationship over the long term. It’s about how well you work together as a team, manage conflicts, and support each other’s individual goals and growth.

3. Communication

This component is always one of the more popular relationship hacks—and with good reason. It’s key to resolving conflicts and understanding each other’s needs.

Unfortunately, in this day and age of technology, more young people are better at texting than communicating. In fact, one survey found that 75% of millennials would rather lose the ability to talk than text.

Communication isn’t just about talking; it’s also about listening and empathizing. And, according to Arielle, these are things that can be learned.

4. Chemistry

Chemistry is the natural, magnetic attraction you feel towards someone. Men oftentimes feel this more than women.

“Men sometimes do have love at first sight,” explains Arielle. “They can see somebody and go, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to marry her.’ That rarely happens and comes true for women.”

She goes on to explain that while chemistry is important, it shouldn’t be the sole basis of your relationship. For example, a spark at first sight is exciting, but shared beliefs and mutual respect make for a lasting relationship.

So instead of waiting for the fireworks, look beyond the initial attraction to find someone who aligns with your deeper values and life goals.

5. Shared Vision for the Future

​​Creating a shared vision for the future is key to a strong relationship, as Arielle suggests. This involves intentioning and aligning your dreams and goals with your partner, encompassing big life decisions like where to settle, whether to have kids, or what career paths to follow.

It’s all about having mutual objectives and plans, like buying a house in the countryside. Such shared aspirations not only bring you closer but also ensure that your individual and collective hopes work in harmony.

This alignment in vision is what strengthens the bond between partners as they work together towards a common future, enriching their connection.

Step Into Love

Remember, understanding what love truly is can change the way you see your relationships.

If you want to explore more about it, check out Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani’s Honest Conversations. You’ll find more insights and wisdom to attract that incredible “behavior” (as Arielle calls it) into your life.

Episode resources:

• Arielle Ford | ⁠Instagram⁠

• Arielle Ford | ⁠Facebook⁠

• Arielle Ford | ⁠Twitter

• Arielle Ford | ⁠Website

Watch the full episode:

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is a content writer for Mindvalley and a Certified Life Coach. With a background in spa and wellness as well as being a cancer survivor, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.

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