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
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
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?
we can! Exerting a little effort and answering some pointed
questions will reveal if what we’re experiencing is really love.
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.
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.
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.
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
Do you take responsibility for your actions? If everything is
attention, sex, passions—excluding all other considerations,
that’s not love. It’s selfishness. Love delays immediate
gratification for the future and lasting good.
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
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
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.
a deeper investigation of the topic of love, read “Secrets
to a Growing Relationship,” a vital part of the Winning
Series of Friendship tracts.
© 1996, Published for NAD Church Ministries Department