In "True Love", Viorst skillfully gives examples of a comical and realistic view of love. The poem is aptly named true love because love does not simply imply feelings of passion, but of fondness, friendship, affection and devotion. The wife puts on make-up and watches football games just to please her husband out of love. The husband is willing to wear clothes that are unironed and listen to his wife's opinions, even if he disagrees with her, because he loves her. When he works late, the wife would rather imagine him dead than the alternative of him being unfaithful to her. They do not show resentment or hatred towards each other because they are in love.
The poem shows that a marriage can be uncertain and amusing. Viorst portrays the wife in a comical sense, being philosophically opposed to ironing and football. The wife questions her husband's loyalty to her by asking him which he would save, her or his mother, if they were both drowning.
Although he tells her he would save her, she is not sure he is telling the truth. The wife also is unsure of his commitment to the marriage by imagining his lateness may be due to an affair. In the end, she knows he loves her but she still has doubts about her husband's loyalty.
The setting of the poem is one of a typical family home. The couple deals with painters, exterminators and the usual financial concerns of a middle class family. The wife would not allow her husband to play the stock market with their money because she felt it was irresponsible. They live together with all of the normal trials of a marriage and dealing with the daily worries. Most couples go through tough times and struggle, yet,