With the advent of summer wedding season, a young man’s thoughts turn to love. After all, his roommates are getting married. His best friend is getting married. Maybe he should do the same or at least be thinking about it. The second question which comes to mind (the first being, “do you have someone in mind to marry?”) is, “how do you know if you’re in love with this person?” Here are seven clear, biblical signs that indicate you are truly in love with this person.
- Attraction. There is an attraction to this person. You find this person attractive, yes, even beautiful. This may sound like a given, but it isn’t. Many aren’t attracted to the person rather they are attracted to the power, fame, or money of the person. A biblical example of attraction is the love story of Jacob and Rachel. Jacob loved Rachel but not her sister Leah. Why? Jacob was first attracted to Rachel’s appearance before he knew her (Genesis 29:17-20). Are you physically attracted to him or her?
- Commonalities. You have much in common: spiritual values, moral values, interests, goals, hobbies, sense of humor. For example, you both agree on where to live, how many children to have, and how finances will be handled. The most significant of those commonalities is spiritual values. If you don’t hold those in common, it is a deal breaker. The Bible puts a premium on marrying only those who are born again or “in the Lord.” Consider 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” Are you both born again?
- Sacrificial. True love sacrifices for the other person. It willingly pays the price no matter how steep the cost. This is the essential meaning of the primary Greek word for love, agape. Agape is sacrificial love and describes the love God has for us and which we are to have for one another. Here’s how the apostle Paul describes it, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 4:25). Will you sacrifice anything for him or her?
- Loyal. If you love someone you will be loyal and faithful to that person. You must forsake all others and become a “one woman” man or a “one man” woman. You cannot claim to love someone while you continue to romance others. Jesus put it this way, “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh . . . Consequently they are no longer two but one flesh” (Matthew 19:5, 6a). The Hebrew word for love, hesed, means a loyal love, the kind of love which Ruth pledged to Naomi in Ruth 1:16, 17. Have you ended all other romantic relationships so you can wholeheartedly love only this man or this woman?
- Free. True love is free to marry another; free from all bondages including bondage to: alcohol, narcotics, sexual addictions, overworking, debt, criminal activity, a previous marriage. Concerning the last, if you’re still married legally or emotionally to another, you aren’t free to truly love someone else. “People are slaves to whatever has mastered them” (2 Peter 2:19). Are you truly free to wholeheartedly love someone?
- Attachment. When absent from the other there is a longing, a missing them, a healthy emotional attachment. Love bonds the two to become one such that when one hurts the other hurts. When one succeeds, the other succeeds and both rejoice. It is an interdependent attachment that permits each to function independently of the other but the preference is to be together. In the context of the church, Paul says, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26). True of the church; true for lovers. Are you emotionally attached to him or her without being emotionally needy?
- Trust. Love trusts the other person, trusts their actions and words. Trust, however, must be earned through consistent, faithful words and deeds. You say you love this person but do you trust him or her? If you cannot trust him do you really love him? The Bible warns us, “. . . Even with the woman who lies in your embrace guard the words of your lips” (Micah 7:5). Can you implicitly trust him or her?
Perhaps you are only thinking of love as a feeling but true love is much more than a feeling which roller coasters its way through our emotions. True love touches both our head AND our heart. Our culture calls us to go with what our hearts tell us. That’s a mistake! The Bible warns against trusting your heart.
when it says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Feelings are good but use your head!
True love never fails,