Jennifer Lopez on What She'd Like to Teach Her Kids About Love: 'I Believe Love Rules All'

The Marry Me star opens up to PEOPLE about the lessons she's teaching her children, 13-year-old twins Emme and Max, about love

While Jennifer Lopez knows she has a lot more to teach her 13-year-old twins, Max and Emme, about life and love, she hopes they've already gleaned some key lessons along the way.

"I'm always trying to let them know how much I love them and that loving yourself is so important," the Marry Me star tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story.

"Little key things like your thoughts create your life so to think positive, that all their feelings are okay and that people should always treat you well, and you're not a victim to anybody. ...Things you want them to know so they can be in good, healthy relationships with their friends, and then when they finally fall in love with somebody."

Lopez, 52, who rekindled her romance last year with Ben Affleck, 49, after 18 years apart, also stresses the importance of having self-love and inner peace before venturing into a relationship. "I want [the kids] to know where I got to very recently: If you're good on your own, you really can have a beautiful relationship," she says. "But until then, you're probably going to struggle through it and try to find it."

Through struggle can come great life lessons, she says, with love as the ultimate through-line. "I honestly believe love rules all [and] love always conquers everything — relationships, kids, work, work relationships," she says. "It's all about how loving, open and accepting you can be. Not having an ego about things and just embracing all the good, always looking at the positive. When you're in a good, healthy relationship, everybody benefits from that. Everybody."

Which is not to say it's always smooth sailing when you're raising a house of teenagers. "Everybody is growing up, they're not babies anymore, so you can't just take them on your lap and tell them it's going to be okay," she says. "They're venturing out, they're being their own people and it's us just trying to keep up."

And Lopez wouldn't change a thing. "That's the journey of it [and] another path you have to go own," she says. "It's a joy for me."

For the full, exclusive interview with Jennifer Lopez — and more extraordinary love stories — pick up a copy of PEOPLE's new Love Issue, on newsstands Friday.

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