Are you in a relationship with someone you feel you love, but are unsure whether or not he or she loves you? There is no more basic question than that. Most everyone, at one time or another, experiences this emotional, yet important, question. Part of our problem is we are not really sure what love is.
Many of same ways you show a person you love them are the very actions or attitudes to look for to see if they love you.
True, romantic love is more than just a gooey, warm feeling. It's a choice to be committed to another person—to live your life together with, or walking alongside of, that other person, for better or for worse. Once you make the decision to love someone, you find many different ways of expressing that commitment, or that love. In fact, many of same ways you show that person you love them are the very actions or attitudes to look for to see if they love you. I can’t always tell you if you are in love, but I can tell you if you are in a loving relationship.
That kind of loving relationship is described in the famous “love” chapter in the Bible (I Corinthians 13): "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. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends."
If you don't know whether or not you and your bf/gf are in a loving relationship, you probably aren’t.
So many students I talk with think they are so in love with someone and yet they have no idea whether or not they are being loved in return. Honestly, if you don't know whether or not you and your bf/gf are in a loving relationship, you probably aren’t.
This is the situation Leah finds herself: "I have a boyfriend and I love him, but I'm not sure if he loves me, too. He always ignores me or I feel so left out. He used to tell me he loved me and he missed me a lot, but he never does anymore. I really don't want to leave him because I still love him. We've been going out for four months now, today is our anniversary, and he forgot about it. But I still love him, because I know he has problems in his life."
If you are in a committed relationship with someone you should know how they feel about you and they should know how you feel about them.
Even if we are certain the other person knows exactly how we feel about them, it is always important for your bf/gf to hear or see that love demonstrated. A loving relationship that is maturing will work hard to communicate that love. Put another way, if you are in a committed relationship with someone you should know how they feel about you and they should know how you feel about them.
It can be difficult to put words on the feelings you have for someone you love. Still, there are many things your bf/gf might be doing that are telling you way more than words could ever express.
Maddie wishes her boyfriend would show his love for her in more consistent ways:"I have a boyfriend but sometimes when I hang with my friend Nick and some of my other guy friends I feel like they like me more than my bf. I know my bf loves me and he shows it when he's with me, but when he's not with me or he's with his friends, he just acts different to me. He won't even hold my hand or anything. It's like he's shy around his friends and I don’t want him to be. I just feel he could he show me he loves me a little more and I really wish he would. He doesn't even say I love you... is that bad?" The problem with Maddie is that her boyfriend is telling her that he doesn't really love her. He loves what his friends think about him, more than what she thinks or feels.
If You Love Someone You:
- Spend more focused time with them than your other friends.
- Are anxious to be with them. You are happy when you are around your bf/gf.
- Make them feel special by the things you say and do.
- Respect them. Not only when you're alone, but with others.
- Are patient with them, even when they make mistakes or don't know what they are trying to say.
- Speak well of them to other people.
- Protect them.
- Communicate with them frequently. You tell them what's going on in your life and what you are feeling.
- Listen to them, looking them in the eyes while they are talking to you.
- Are sensitive to their feelings and needs. You put them before yourself.
- Trust them.
- Show respect for their parents and their other friends.
- Are willing to make sacrifices for them.
- Tell them you love them.
If you feel you are the one holding the relationship together, and have told your significant other how you feel about them, and have yet to see any signs of love from them, you might have to decide whether this person is capable of showing any kind of love.
Love comes first from God, because God is love. God is the one who will give us the strength to show love to others.
It takes a tremendous amount of work to continue having a loving relationship. But it’s worth it. There is nothing more powerful and beautiful than real love. Love comes first from God, because God is love. God is the one who will give us the strength to show love to others.
Next week: We’re going to talk about forgiveness. I really want to hear what forgiveness means to you and how you have forgiven someone who has hurt you or how someone has forgiven you.