Is It Really Love?
Have you been dating someone for a while? Are you starting to wonder if he or she might be the one? Are you thinking that maybe you are ready to really commit to this person? Are you wondering if the feelings are mutual? Are you questioning if what you are feeling is real love?
Or for that matter, what is real love?
Sometimes it is easier to describe something with actions than with a definition. So if you are wondering if you are in a REAL mutually loving relationship, here are some things that you will naturally want to do for your boyfriend or girlfriend and that they will want to do for you:
- Spend more focused time with each other than your other friends.
- Are excited to be with each other and are happy when you are together.
- Make each other feel special by the things you say and do.
- Respect each other. Not only when you’re alone, but also when you are around other people.
- Are patient with each other, even when one of you makes a mistake.
- Speak well of each other to other people.
- Protect each other.
- Communicate with each other frequently. Talk about what’s going on in your life and what you are feeling.
- Listen to each other, looking in each other’s eyes while they are talking to you.
- Are sensitive to each other’s feelings and needs.
- Put each other before yourself.
- Trust each other.
- Show respect for each other’s parents and other friends.
- Are willing to make sacrifices for each other.
- Tell each other you love them.
This kind of loving relationship is described in the famous lovechapter in the Bible…“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.” (I Corinthians 13)
When you read that verse or look at the list above, do those things describe your relationship? If so, then you may be ready to really commit to another person – to live your life together and walk alongside of them for better or for worse. To really love someone is deciding to put another person before yourself. True, romantic love is so much more than just a gooey, warm feeling. Those feelings of infatuation won’t always be there, but a commitment to another person will.
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So many students I talk with think they are deeply 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 if you are in a loving relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend, then you probably aren’t. I actually believe that many people know, deep down, that they are not in a loving relationship, but they are resigned to being treated in a less than loving way just to keep the relationship going.
This is the situation Leah finds herself in:
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.-Leah
Many of the same ways you show your boyfriend or girlfriend that you love them are the very actions or attitudes to look for to see if they love you back. 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 or if they really love you.
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 for 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.
Even if we are certain the other person knows exactly how we feel about them, it is always important for your boyfriend or girlfriend to hear or see your 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 takes a tremendous amount of work to continue having a loving relationship. But it’s worth it. And it is the type of relationship God created you to have. So please don’t settle for less.
There is nothing more powerful and beautiful than true 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.