How to Know It's Really Love

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.

Love Never Ends

This kind of loving relationship is described in the famous love chapter 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 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.

Honestly, Is It Really Love?

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.

How Do They Really Feel About You?

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.

Still searching for answers about love and your relationship?  Read, How to Find A Meaningful Relationship to explore ways to help our relationship.

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8 comments on “How to Know It's Really Love”

  1. What if we haven't been dating, yet we both identify with every single item on the love list? I love him, but he's away...for a while anyway. If he's aware of each of the listed, is he in denial if he says he doesn't love me "that way?" We've been best friends for 2 years, but it's more than that--we share a rare emotional intimacy reserved for partners and spouses...
    #confused #justwantwhatsbestforus

  2. I believe the problem is more then alcoholism, also illegal drug use with ex boy friend heroin addict as they look for that utopia feeling to escape reality. Upon her last so called fall July 15th, I can see from my pictures heavy scratch marks on her left cheek, nose, wrist and ankle hidden under heavy make up. Also, event happened in July who turns on the heat up to 87 degrees in the house recovering claiming they have not slept in 3 days?. The crash came , the chills, and the need for heat. At this time she has everyone sold on , "poor me, I fell" and her family buys it. When I offered to take her for help, a detox/ rehab location I was cussed out, thrown out and the answer was no. I had driven her to see her kids, age 12 and 15 and seen her children cry as they saw her drunk and knew she would not be allowed to stay at her ex husband" s home for a few days of bonding and also, their reliving memories of many past events of her alcoholism. It breaks my heart to have experienced these events , as I loved her so, very very much.... My question is: Why does a person continue to live like this, avoiding all responsibilities of parenting , going months not spending time with her children ages 12, and 15, who claims she cannot drive in their state ( 2 DWIs), yet spends money ( $200 to $400 a month) on vodka, but not spend that money on a bus ticket to spend time with her children ? Who misses family commitments, school events, etc., trips. She, I, her daughter, son, and son's friend trip to Norway cancelled due to her alcoholism, and who was actively engaged to someone she treated absolutely horrible, terrible in every way through her behavior and verbally, but who loved her and treated her like a queen. Does she not know her alcoholism is destroying/ has destroyed all family members around her and me who loved her ? And she runs to a heroin addict ex boyfriend and another ex boyfriend who is married and hits on her?

  3. I've been married 2 years. Got married young (I'm 22). My husband claims to be Christian but he just opened up to me today that if he sees skin he's looking at it. He used to have this problem but has pretended its better and has been lying to me. I have never felt worth anything and my biggest struggle has always been being with man who has those problems. I hate myself. And now I hate him. I not only want to end the marriage but I don't even want to exist anymore. I just want to die. The man I have given EVERYTHING to has betrayed me deeper than I ever thought he could and lied about it to boot. Men are scum.

  4. My ex did all of these things yet he still broke up with me and started dating a week after. I heard from his new girlfriend that he was saying mean things about my body. (She ended up breaking up with him because I told her how he was leading me on after our relationship when I didn't know he was with her.) I don't think he loved me but he would make this checklist!

  5. My fiance and i fight alot ....we live together . The apartment is in his name and when i dont do what he wants he takes my house keys and the car keys.. i sle on the couch now because he would kick me at night ..if i didnt have sex with him. He intimidates me and puts me down in public. IHe is verbely abusive too. We tryed couples counsoling ...he would blow up in the sessions ...its getting worse . He demands i tell him i love him all off the time ...and tje truth is i just dont think lovebshould hurt....i tryed to become more independent but he followes me everywere .... i

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