Romantic love is not the same thing as true love: it can be, but not automatically. Many times romantic love is selfish.
At least at the beginning, someone is focusing on you, they’re giving you undivided attention, plenty ‘o affirmation and care, gifts, quality time, loving words of affirmation, physical touch…it’s got all the goods. It a Festival of Getting Your Needs Met.
It’s not hard to have strong emotions for someone in a relationship like this…I think it’d actually be MORE DIFFICULT to NOT have feelings for someone investing like this.
Which is why I’m a pretty strong proponent for getting a really good reading of who this person is in lots of different circumstances before you open the tap to the romance juice. Getting to know someone non-romantically helps protect our judgement that seems to fly out the window once the physical fireworks start. Before you start the romance is also a good time to get the perspective of people who know you well and love you. We’ve all seen how candlelight and cleavage can erase in a moment the best that Reason has to offer.
While some people focus on protecting their dating relationship from physical intimacy, many don’t understand the ramifications of emotional intimacy. Young adults who wouldn’t dream of undressing on the first date, get naked emotionally as soon as possible. That vulnerability creates a bond, often prematurely. Weak girls can live for years off this stuff. It’s like emotional life support for the emotionally bedridden. Nice Guys have no idea the damage they’re doing.
I’ve known people wise beyond their years take it slow at the first sign of sparks with the opposite sex. One crazy brilliant girl realized about a month in that a guy she liked was acting too young for her. They never acted on their feelings for one another, other than spend time getting to know one another. She realized that they easily could have been one month into a Relationship, and the excitement of the new relationship would have clouded her perspective, and they could have spent months together before she saw him clearly and both ended up more hurt & misunderstood than necessary. It doesn’t happen very often because only bright & confident girls can pull that off.
I’m not saying taking your time getting to know someone will prevent break-ups. But they definitely can help us avoid relationships that are not going to go well.
I used to work on a conservative christian campus. Time and time again young girls would share about their “first dates” and the three-hour long soul-baring marathons. I was never impressed. What’s impressive about talking for hours with someone who finds you attractive that you hardly know? Anyone can do that.
Can he hold your hand all night in the hospital when you can’t stand up? Can he hold your sick baby all night and still go to work the next morning? Will he kiss your mouth when you smell badly and lost your hope and your smile and don’t think you can go on?
Impress the ones you love with the real stuff.
(authentic love is patient, kind, not jealous, doesn’t boast, not proud or rude or selfish or easily angers, keeps no record of wrong, doesn’t delight in evil, rejoices in the truth, always protects, trusts, hopes perseveres. authentic love never fails. that’s powerful stuff.)
If you Cannot Wait To Get Married – you probably should explore the likelihood that you have placed marriage on an altar in your heart. Keep your palms up and tell god how much you love him, trust him, and how desperately you do NOT want anything in your life (even the things you greatly desire) to happen one moment outside of his timing. Keep releasing your desires to him. Allow him to provide everything you need. Allow him to prepare you.
A marriage idol is pretty common among young christians. You can always repent, which is basically a shift in how you think. Don’t allow a desire to turn into a demand. You can also pray with a friend and allow god to till up those old seeds and plant seeds that bring life. Be transformed by his perspective. He is NOT holding out on you. Though he seems disinterested and slow as the South, wait for Him.
Talk with someone older who married a jewel. Chances are they have a story about The One who ended up Not Being The One and how THRILLED they are.