Many years ago, I met a woman whom I found very unpleasant.
So I decided to try out the "giving leads to love" theory. A few days later I offered to help her with a personal problem. This is why your parents (who've given you more than you'll ever know) undoubtedly love you more than you love them, and you, in turn, will love your own children more than they'll love you.
"Mom," she said hesitantly, "I really appreciate your feelings, but, in all honesty, how can you say you love someone you've never met?
At the end of the conversation, her mother said, "Darling, I want you to know we love you, and we love David." Susan was a bit dubious.
Jill Murray (author of writes that if someone mistreats you while professing to love you, remember: "Love is a behavior." A relationship thrives when partners are committed to behaving lovingly through continual, unconditional giving ― not only saying, "I love you," but showing it.
Reprinted with permission from "HEAD TO HEART" by Gila Manolson.
Updated to add: The use of the term ‘single mother’ is not exactly accurate. If you screw up and get pregnant, don’t screw up even more and bring an innocent child along with you! Divorced moms who escaped abusive marriages with drug/sex/gambling/whatever addicts should not get a free pass from you, either.
It allows you into another person's world and opens you up to perceiving his or her goodness.
At the same time, it means investing part of yourself in the other, enabling you to love this person as you love yourself.
The second is responsibility, responding to his or her expressed and unexpressed needs (particularly, in an adult relationship, emotional needs).