We often use the word ‘love’ to describe our feelings for people in our family: parents, children, siblings. We also talk about the romantic feeling of ‘falling in love’ with someone who is not in our family.
But how can we know that this romantic love is true, and that it is not just a feeling of infatuation or lust? And if he or she says “I love you”, how can we know it is sincere?
It is easy to confuse romantic love with the feeling of being attracted to someone, with having sexual desires for someone and sometimes not even being able to get that person out of our mind.
Love involves wanting what is best for the other person…
Love may be difficult to define, but it is definitely much more than a feeling; it can be seen by the behaviour it produces. Love involves wanting what is best for the other person rather than getting what I want. Love involves being around in the difficult times, and not disappearing when it gets tough. Love involves keeping your word even when it is difficult or other options open up. Love involves being patient.
The guy or girl who says “if you love me give me what I want” is not speaking the language of true love. Sexual intimacy before marriage excused “because I am so much in love with you, I cannot wait”, probably means that I am more concerned about what I want than about how you feel.
The Bible records Paul’s letter to Christians in Corinth where he describes the characteristics of true love as patient, kind, not jealous, proud or rude. It is not irritable or resentful, but is selfless and happy about the truth . John also wrote that we should “not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
So, if you are not sure whether he or she really loves you, see if their actions speak as loudly as their words.
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.”