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Are You Really in Love?

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Pete leans closer to Reneé. In a husky voice, he suggestively whispers in her ear. “I know we’ve only just met. But I love you wildly and I’ll do anything for you.” Embracing, they exchange a passionate kiss.

Thus music begins. The focus blurs. The scene ends. A commercial interrupts our train of thought. So concludes another episode from a popular soap opera—often referred to as “love in the afternoon.”

But is that really all that love is? Touching? Kissing? Embracing” Is love merely romantic words, passionate feelings, and a charged atmosphere? Can we really know when we’re in love?

Yes, we can! Exerting a little effort and answering some pointed questions will reveal if what we’re experiencing is really love.

Of course, whether you’re in love or not is ultimately your own personal decision. Ask yourself the following questions. Think through the answers. Then decide.

  1. Knowledge: How long have you known each other? Is it long enough to really get to know the other person? Do you know him or her enough to reasonably decide if you’re in love? How long you’ve known a person and how well you’ve come to know the person in that time are important in determining real love.

  2. Respect: Are you more concerned for the other person’s wellbeing than you are for your own? Does the relationship motivate you to be better person? Does it deepen your sense of self-worth and enhance your self-image? Or does your relationship only make it easy for you to demand that everything be just the way you want it? A relationship based on love will make a lasting contribution to you and to your beloved as total persons. Anything less is unfair to both parties.

  3. Self-control: Can you spend quality and quantity time together without focusing only on physical involvement? It’s easy to confuse physical stimulation and excitement with love. So this is an important test. Love is willing to wait for the proper time and context for its physical expression. If the relationship is based on physical involvement alone, and nothing else, you can be sure that it’s not love.

  4. Responsibility: Do you take responsibility for your actions? If everything is demanded now—time, attention, sex, passions—excluding all other considerations, that’s not love. It’s selfishness. Love delays immediate gratification for the future and lasting good.

  5. Principles: Are you approaching the relationship on a firm foundation of solid principles? Love, above all, is understanding of, and sensitivity to, such practical considerations as religion, age, similar backgrounds, and other basic principles. Love is reasonable.

All relationships are imperfect, and all relationships grow. However, if you answer No to these basic questions, either you’re not in love, or you’re not ready to make such a serious claim. On the other hand, if you can answer Yes to these questions, consider yourself on safe ground when you claim love as the bass of your relationship.

To be successful at love, always remain sensitive to these five points. And for a matchless explanation of what love is and acts like, get a Bible and read about it in 1 Corinthians 13.

For a deeper investigation of the topic of love, read “Secrets to a Growing Relationship,” a vital part of the Winning Series of Friendship tracts.

Copyright © 1996, Published for NAD Church Ministries Department

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