One of my favorite movies from the 1950s starred Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly "High Society." In one scene, they were lounging on a sailboat and Bing sings a song to Grace. The song was "True Love," and it has been one of my favorites since I first heard it.

In the film, Grace plays a rich, spoiled society woman who is about to be married for the second time. Her first husband, Bing Crosby, still loves her. Actually, she still loves him, too, but fights her feelings. At the risk of spoiling the movie for you, I can tell you that they manage to settle their differences and live happily ever after.

Fairy tales sometimes end with the words "And, they lived happily ever after." That's how you know it's a fairy tale. Real life isn't usually like that.

In fairy tales, princes kill dragons, swim moats, defeat wizards, and generally behave like superheroes to save the princess. Isn't that true love? Not in my house.

In my house, my true love mows the lawn, washes the car, cleans the bathrooms, rubs my tired feet, and takes out the garbage. That's not quite as romantic as slaying dragons, right? Wrong! Each of those actions shows true love.

Isn't true love what all parents have for their children? No. Some parents abuse and ignore their children. Isn't true love what all married spouses have for each other? No. Some spouses ridicule or cheat on each other. That isn't true love.

I'm going way out on a limb here to try and define "true love."

First, true love requires sacrifice. If someone is willing to do something for another person even if he's not crazy about doing it, then it's true love. Whenever we put another person ahead of ourselves, we show great affection for them.

Another ingredient of true love is respect. No one can love someone else if rude, crude, and discourteous remarks are made often. Calling your wife a "fat cow" while drinking with your friends, berating your husband in front of your children or family, making fun of your spouse's grammar or clothing none of that can be true love.

In addition to sacrifice and respect, a loving relationship requires the ability to forgive and to also say "I'm sorry." No one is perfect. Give each other a break. People who expect flawless behavior from their loved ones had better be prepared for disappointment.

Some people go merrily through life expecting perfection in a mate. They are searching for a Prince Charming or a beautiful princess. I have a feeling that their search will be in vain.

There are other important ingredients in true love, however, these three: sacrifice, respect, and the willingness to forgive form the basis for love to flourish. Without them, the princess might as well marry the dragon.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIUL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.