You are walking around a corner with an armful of groceries. You bump into someone, groceries topple to the floor, and, as eyes meet across a puddle of spilled milk, BOOM…
Butterflies take off in your stomach.
You talk for the next fifteen minutes, and when you finally leave, you have a strange, thrilling sensation in your stomach.
We all know those tingly, happy feelings that come when you enter the infatuation stage of a relationship. You can’t stop thinking about that person and the potential of being in a relationship with them.
But how do you know if it’s really love?
Our emotions often start as a small thought—an idea that we tolerate, nurture, and slowly accept as a part of us. We cultivate those thoughts until we feel a certain way or desire a specific thing. That’s why it can be hard to determine what’s in our heads versus what’s in our hearts!
Infatuation is a fickle emotion; it loves the way people make you feel instead of loving the person. It imitates love without the foundation for it.
There are lots of things that can cause sparks to fly between two people meeting. If they make eye contact for a second too long, or if one of them receives a charming smile from the other, it can trick their brains into thinking they’re in love.
**That’s when the mind decides to put in its two cents about the meeting. **
Entertaining a small thought, like, “I might like this person,” the mind begins to meditate on only the good qualities that it knows about this person, which at this point are very little. The mind quickly overlooks any negative traits, being so focused on all the benefits of marriage itself.
These positive marriage thoughts begin to speak on behalf of this person, “I think I love this person. Maybe I should marry this person.”
And now, when a conversation is finally sparked, the brain goes into overtime. At this point, the girl’s perspective of her suitor is blinded by her own desire of marriage and to be loved. Her mind will do everything it can to ignore any facts that threaten her idea of their happiness.
You’ve heard the saying, “Love is blind,” right? Well, it’s true!
Now that we know our minds can take what little we know about a person and fill in the gray areas, creating cases for or against them based on what we want to see, how can we test our feelings? How do we know if He’s really the one?
First of all, don’t panic! When it’s right, you’ll know it, and you won’t have to worry about it. The issue is sometimes it can be hard to admit to ourselves when it’s wrong.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Don’t rush. The longer we know and observe someone, the more clearly we see him or her. Bad first impressions can be rectified, and good first impressions can be confirmed or refuted. Love gets less blind over time! Test your thoughts before you act on them! The Bible tells us to “take every thought captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Recognize that your thoughts can be greatly influenced by your emotions, and if you don’t guard your heart and your mind, you may be in for an emotional roller coaster.
- That age-old advice, “You’ll just know,” is true! I used to get annoyed when I was single and people told me I would magically “know” I had met the love of my life. It seemed like a cop-out answer, not to mention it wasn’t very helpful. That’s because I hadn’t met Gary yet…. When I met Gary, suddenly, that cliche advice seemed incredibly profound! In case you’re wondering what “just knowing” feels like, it feels like PEACE. It feels right, natural, unforced, even second nature. Right off the bat with Gary, there was a tangible peace that I had never experienced in any other relationship, almost like the Holy Spirit was prodding us forward. If you’re spending a great deal of time anxious over if he’s the one or you’re making a mistake, this can be an indicator that you don’t have peace about the relationship and should take a step back, pray, and get a fresh perspective.
- Ask the Holy Spirit! The best news is that you have a helper, counselor, and friend in the Holy Spirit! I can’t say it enough: follow peace. Rely on His leading versus your emotions as you pray about a new relationship.
When you start dating, it’s normal to have lots of questions about the other person, and it’s hard to know which ones are the most important. Here is a list of questions that helped me know the one I liked was “the one” God intended for me to marry.
1. WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVATION?
One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves when entering a relationship is, “What is the purpose behind the relationship?” Are we entering a relationship to fulfill something in ourselves? To find our identity? If so, God is the only one who can satisfy that desire in us!
In the early years of my marriage, I was insecure about so many things:
Was I worthy of love?
Was Gary really different from the men that had hurt me?
Would he leave me when things got tough?
Because I was scared, I constantly tried to get Gary to fulfill my identity. I tested his love for me many times in the early days of our marriage, insecurely pushing him away to see if he would fight for me. I projected the hurts I had experienced from other men onto him.
**Once I started going to God’s Word and learning the truth about who I was, everything changed. **
Trust me, getting your validation from anything other than God leaves you empty!
I spent a lot of time in prayer when I was developing a teaching that mentors women on how to be whole in Christ, and make the choices that are truly aligned with God’s will. Click HERE to receive the “Guide to Surviving Your Twenties” teaching.
2. DOES HE BRING YOU CLOSER TO GOD?
My husband, Gary, and I met at Oral Roberts University, so I I knew he was a man of faith. In fact, it was when I took him to my church back home that God really spoke into my heart and told me he was the man I was supposed to marry.
Our faith foundation has carried us through the tough times. Yes, even pastors have tough times in their marriages! Over the years, Gary’s faith has built me up time after time, and I do the same for him.
Asking yourself if your partner has a solid faith foundation is one of the most important questions there is!
When my children started the courtship process, I always told them to pray constantly, wait for God’s direction, and align themselves with God’s will.
**The culture upholds “whirlwind” romances, but finding REAL love takes time! **
An incredible mentor, Kenneth Copeland, offers insights and Bible verses on this very topic. Click HERE to access these verses. Speak them, print them out, and place them somewhere you will see them every day.
3. DOES HE BUILD YOU UP?
The man God intended for you to marry doesn’t spend time picking out your flaws and throwing them in your face. A godly man celebrates your strengths and helps to bring out the best in you!
First Thessalonians 5:11 tells us, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.”
A good way to know whether someone is worth your time is to notice whether or not he or she builds you up. I see so many people spend their time with people who are critical, verbally abusive, or use their weaknesses to manipulate or belittle.
We are all imperfect but restored to being sons and daughter by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Be with someone who accepts you as you are and who speaks hope and praise into your life! That’s what God wants for you!
I highly recommend involving both your family and your special someone’s family in the course of a new relationship. Meeting someone’s parents is an eye-opening experience in the process of getting to know someone! How does he interact with his parents? How do his parents interact with each other? What is the environment and tone of the house?
Spending time with his family is a great opportunity to learn about how he sees the world, how he treats people he is familiar with, potential habits, and what he expects from a relationship.
With every one of our children, dating was a family thing. It’s our job as parents to make sure that we are protecting our children. That’s why we made sure we were an active part of the process. This was also helpful because our older children modeled this process to our younger children as well.
Don’t let the culture tell you how “dating” is supposed to look. Instead, reject anything that doesn’t look like what God says in His Word.
I know it’s not the cool thing to do in the culture, but involving your family as early as possible in the dating process will pay off! Trust me! Your family knows you, loves you, and wants only the best for you.
If the man or woman you want to date is not okay with being introduced to your family early, that’s a red flag!
God loves you and wants the best for you. He has good plans for your life, and when you take the time to listen for His leading and His timing, you can move forward in perfect peace!
I hope this has spoken into your heart today and left you feeling encouraged! For an additional teaching on finding and cultivating a love that lasts, click HERE.