Thich Nhat Hanh, a world renowned Buddhist monk who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, describes true love as having four elements
Lovingkindness, compassion, joy and freedom.
When you truly love someone you embrace them for who they are this very minute. You do not have fantasies about what you believe they could evolve into. You accept their shortcomings and foibles and sometimes love them all the more because of it. You have the desire to create happiness for them and through your actions are able to bring about lasting joy in their lives.
This requires a deep level of understanding with regards to your mates wishes. Many people have done things with the intent to build a better life for their partners only to find out that their actions caused more pain and suffering to occur. The resultant argument usually starts with the sentence "You just don't understand" or "You never listen." True love always listens!
This doesn't mean you will never have an argument. How boring would life be if we all agreed on everything. But there is a distinct difference between a disagreement which eventually brings two people closer together and a situation where one or both people feel alienated and deeply hurt.
When your love is pure your primary intention is to remove the pain and suffering that has plagued your partner throughout their lives. We all come into relationships with baggage, past failures and disappointments, that can overwhelm the present if we let it.
Being able to help heal the old wounds of your beloved is what compassion is all about. If you truly love someone you cannot stand to see them suffer. Helping them to overcome their hurt and fear in a compassionate way establishes trust. One of the foundations of a strong and long lasting relationship.
Every day you should feel absolute joy when you wake up next to your beloved. Obviously there will be times when difficulties arise. The universe throws curve balls at us all the time that we have to find a way to deal with. But even through those dark times you should feel grateful that your partner is by your side. They should be able to make you laugh when all you want to do is cry. They should be able to hold you even when they have made you mad. There should be laughter and light not tears and darkness. You should never feel alone and unhappy within your relationship.
Freedom is an essential element for love. You have to have the freedom to be yourself and express your true desires. You have to be able to confidently give your partner all the space and freedom they need to live a fulfilling life. If you become angry or upset because your mate wants to spend time alone or with friends, or if you become jealous over the passion they have for their work or hobby then this is called selfish love.
You are more concerned with your own desires than allowing them the freedom to truly shine within themselves. We all need things outside of a relationship to make us complete human beings. If we do not have access to those things we begin to wither inside. When you have truly found 'The One' you will feel a sense of freedom that has previously been missing in past relationships... ..
What True Love Isn't
True love is never associated with violence, deception, abuse (emotional, physical or verbal), constant sacrifice for the good of only one person, jealousy, fear or mistrust.