You may feel like you’re in love. But is it the real thing? Only you can tell. Read these ideas from others who have been in love —and some who have been fooled — and see how your feelings compare.
What Love Is
Supportive. Does your boyfriend or girlfriend encourage you? Do they attend your ball game, even though aren’t much interested in sports? Do they show up for the play you’re in, even though have only a small part? A love relationship means supporting your partner’s interests — even when they don’t coincide with your own. It also means supporting your decision to save sex for marriage.
Unconditional. Nobody likes being criticized. But when it’s your partner doing the dissing, it’s much more hurtful. A boyfriend or girlfriend who spends more time belittling you than building you up, or pressuring you to have sex, is not worth your love.
Generous. When you’re half of a couple, suddenly the emphasis is more on “us” than on “me.” That’s not to say your feelings aren’t important. Instead, part of being in a healthy relationship is balancing what you need with what someone else needs. Sometimes it’s tough to do, but real love involves giving generously of your time.
What Love Is Not
Controlling. This kind of love doesn’t let you be you. Instead, your partner calls the shots and tells you what to do, when, and for how long. Instead of an equal footing, your partner dominates the relationship and always decides what is “best for us.”
Conditional. This kind of love is based on a standard of performance; you have to do something or be something to earn it. So don’t dare gain a few pounds, make friends with anyone who doesn’t meet your partner’s approval, or suddenly stop doing well in your sport.
Based on Lust. This kind of love is based on excitement. Instead of understanding your partner from the inside out and caring for them based on who they are, this kind of love sees only the physical aspects of a relationship.
Think About It.
Healthy relationships require an emotional investment from both people. Falling in love for the wrong reasons can leave you unfulfilled and unhappy. Of course, figuring out whether you’re feeling true love is easier said than done. But only you can answer that question. Consider it carefully and be honest with yourself. And always ask if a relationship is in line with God’s plan for your life.