So Valentine’s day is fast approaching and even though I am a firm believer that you cannot celebrate love in a day, many people do use this day to celebrate the loved ones in their life. Now today I’ll focus more on romantic love as opposed to the undying love we have for our pets or parents. And more specifically, on how do you know when the love is real? Is there a tell? Is there a standard? Is there a universal measure to which all love can be ranked on? Or if we are a diverse people then shouldn’t love be different and thus have different ways of measuring if it’s real?
I’ll start by saying that I do believe there is a universal measure for love, even if the love can morph and change into different forms to accommodate the different people involved. The bible tells us that God is love, not God knows love or measures love but that He IS love. So therefore God is the standard to which we measure our love, romantic or otherwise. I mean He died for you just so you could have the option of choosing him forever.
With all of this in mind, I’ll give you the most basic list of how to know the love is real, the simplest signs that are vital to having that life-long love:
Are they in a relationship with God?
Are they active Christians? Do they show fruits of the spirit? Are they actually showing the love of God? As I mentioned above, God is love therefore if someone does not know God then they do not know love. That is why the command we have to is to love God then love our neighbours as we love ourselves because you cannot love without knowing who love is. So no one can claim real love if they have not first and foremost loved God, who gives so much love that it makes them love themselves and that love, then overflows to others around them. REAL love comes from God. Humans can only love so much so if you’re thinking of marrying this person, they have to have the love of God in them. Otherwise you’ll be stuck in a breakup/divorce where the reason is “We just don’t love each other anymore” or “The love ran its course and ended” because that is possible when it comes to human love. It does end, it does have limits and it does stop. We are human, we can only take so much and give so much, we are limited and therefore to have a lifetime of love for someone else is impossible in our own strength. I mean, we struggle to love ourselves every day, now imagine having to love someone else who is as imperfect, as flawed and as annoying if not more?
Are you genuine friends?
A relationship has to be built on the foundation of the love of God and floors of friendship. Are you friends? Loving someone as a friend first is a great way to gage if your love can last. This person should be your total best friend. You should be able to talk to them about anything, laugh, cry and be real. Too many times we start relationships with people we just met and however much that is great and new and exciting, we forget to fast and foremost build a friendship. Build something real which means no lies. Don’t act different, don’t involve a false persona and make sure they aren’t either and that way when you fall in love with them, then you love the real them.
Is it selfless?
Does this person put your needs above theirs? Do you put their needs above yours? Yes they can be a Christian but the most obvious way of knowing if someone really loves you is how they treat you. Do they unconditionally love you even when you are difficult? Do they go out of their way to make you comfortable? Do they do things just because they matter to you? Do they listen attentively? Basically, do they fulfil 2 Corinthians 4:1-13? Patient, kind, long-suffering, keep no record of wrongs, do not boast, are not jealous, always hope, always trust and never fail? These questions should also be used to reflect on yourself too and your love for this person. Do you genuinely wish them the best and all the happiness even if it isn’t with you? Are you fine with taking things at their pace?
Do they make time for you?
Now so many people are in relationships with people who cannot seem to make time for you. They always have school, work, business, volunteer duties etc. They have time to shop or play games but can never seem to connect with you unless you both happen to be in the same place a the same time or you guilt them into seeing you or they’re bored but they claim to love you. Real love compliments real life. It makes you want to create time to nurture it in the midst of your busy and crazy schedule. It flourishes in the mundane everyday things like chores, school, colds and the like. Life doesn’t not stop for love and therefore if the person cannot make time for you now, they definitely won’t later. We only get busier as we grow older so the excuse of i’m just in a busy season cannot work. Let them go and work on themselves until they are ready to sacrifice. We always make time for what matters to us and therefore if they have not made time for you, take it as the sign that it is that you do not matter to them. That love is not real.
Do you talk of the future?
Our generation is notorious for ‘living in the moment’ and ‘loving the now’ and however much God calls us to not worry about tomorrow, we are also supposed to sow our seeds and water the ground to prepare for a harvest. Now I already said it can’t be real if it can’t survive the real world so are you planning for the real world? Are you sowing your seed? Are you building for a future or are you just hanging out at the construction site? Do you talk about where you are going? Do they want to build with you? Or are you so stuck on living in the moment and enjoying life that you forget to protect your heart? Do you want to end up in a 7 year relationship that is going nowhere but you end up staying because it’s fun in the moment? Don’t overanalyse but most definitely do not ignore the topic and the sooner it’s opened, the less hurt you’ll be.
Are you moving in the same direction?
Spiritually, physically and lifewise. You need to know from the get go because if this person is not moving in the same direction you are then you are going to end up split in two. Do you the similar visions on the important things like faith, marriage, family and career? Do they value the same things you value? And I’m not talking about the same football team or same food but actual life like political views and matters on current social issues? If not then you’ll have a lot of fights, you’ll end up with your heart broken and you’ll most definitely compromise your core beliefs and thus lose yourself.
Has it been confirmed by God?
Now all these things are great and fine, spectacular even but if God is not in it then what? Confirmation from God is key…vital. You’ve heard people saying “When you know, you know” and that’s just it. If you don’t know then God hasn’t confirmed. But God always makes sure he confirms his word. He does it in a way that you know. Everyone is different and God’s word will connect with you, especially on a topic that is so volatile and so important. He doesn’t want you to make a mistake on something as big as marriage. So wait, chill. In fact I would advise that you stay friends until you hear that confirmation, you sense it, you feel it because trust me you will know. There is no harm in waiting; you’ll gain more rather than rushing into something and then ending up with so much heartache. You don’t need to have a first love, great love, worst love etc. Your testimony can be that you loved only one person and you married them and have grown with them. All these series are fun and all but trust me, you do not want to have had as many relationships as these characters do, it tears you up and it really takes long for you to heal.
I hope this list helps check some things for you in your relationship or gives you a standard to set while you’re single. So as you prepare to celebrate the universal day of love, ensure that this love is real and true according to God’s standards and not those of a romantic sitcom. If it does help, please like and share. Is there any other way you tell whether or not the love is real? Comment it below. And if you haven’t already, please subscribe.