I remember the time I had fallen for my first love. She was beautiful. Everything she did was beautiful. There wasn’t a woman in the entire world as beautiful as her! She was spiritual. She was smart. She was good at cooking. SHE WAS GOOD AT COOKING! INCREDIBLE!
Oh, and I practically didn’t know her.
Does all that sound stupid? That’s because it was. That’s because I was in love. If you’ve ever been in love, you know how wonderful it feels. The person you’re in love with seems beautiful and perfect in every way. Just the thought of him or her brings pleasure.
The problem is that the euphoria of being in love isn’t what a lifelong relationship should be built on. I’m not saying being in love is bad. God made the experience of being in love for good reasons. But being in love isn’t everything in a relationship. That’s why you need to remember these three things whenever you may find yourself in love.
#1 – Enjoy The Experience…CAREFULLY
In the paragraphs that follow, I’m going to give you some honest warnings about being in love. However, I don’t want you to read these warnings and think that it’s wrong to enjoy being in love or that you have to suppress the feelings of being in love. Even the Bible acknowledges the experience of being in love. In the Song of Solomon, the character of the Beloved says, “I am sick with love.” (Song of Solomon 2:5b) The expression seems to describe the experience we describe as being in love.
Being in love isn’t inherently wrong or sinful. However, we need to act according to wisdom when we’re in love, since the experience is so powerful that it can incline us to make wrong choices. So it’s okay to enjoy the pleasurable feelings that come with being in love, but it’s critical to do so carefully, requiring our feelings to yield to godly wisdom.
Gary Thomas wisely says,
“as Christians, though the initial onslaught of feelings is involuntary, what we do with those feelings, how we control our thoughts, and the level of our obsessiveness is our responsibility. We may not be able to choose the initial onslaught, but we can choose how we manage it.” (The Sacred Search, 31)
We don’t choose our feelings, but we choose how we act in the midst of them. It’s okay to enjoy being in love when you do so in a healthy way. But that means keeping in mind that you need to manage being in love with care rather than letting the experience of being in love manage you.
#2 – The Feeling Will Diminish Eventually
Being in love doesn’t last forever. The feelings of being in love act as a relational glue that’s meant to cause two people to stop paying attention to their individual lives and start paying attention to each other. But it’s not a glue that lasts for a lifetime. Gary Thomas again explains,
“The way God made our brains, infatuation resembles an hourglass. The moment you become smitten by someone – the second you find yourself deeply ‘in love’ – is the moment that hourglass gets turned over. There is enough sand in that hourglass, on average, to last you about twelve to eighteen months.” (The Sacred Search, 29)
After the initial euphoria of being in love fades, couples remain bonded to each other by a more stable companionship and camaraderie that was begun during the period of being in love. In Finding The Love Of Your Life, Dr. Neil Warren describes this as “companionate love.” The transition to companionate love is necessary because the high energy cost of being in love makes being in love for a lifetime impractical.
The point you should remember is that, even under the best of circumstances, the euphoria of being in love doesn’t last forever. Eventually the feelings will diminish. That’s okay. If your relationship has what it takes to continue for a lifetime, you and your significant other will want to be together even without the constant, fiery passions of being in love. The important thing to do is see if your relationship has what it takes to last once the fires of passion cool.
#3 – Being In Love Makes You Stupid
You should also know that being in love makes you stupid. That’s kind of the point, since being in love is intended to motivate you to forget about your individual pursuits long enough to pursue another person. It takes a certain stupidity to make such a change.
However, sometimes we fall in love with someone who actually isn’t a good choice in a lifelong partner. Even if we fall in love, we still need to look deeper than the passionate emotions to see if we’re a good match with our significant other. The challenge is that the flood of emotions by nature isn’t rational. Thus, we might have to fight against the flood in order to make wise decisions.
This might mean intentionally waiting longer to marry in order for time to put the relationship to the test. A lifetime commitment that may seem perfect in the midst of being in love can show itself to be foolish a few months later once the feelings subside. Give yourself the needed time to make a wise decision.
It might also mean listening to the other people in your life who love you. Our family, friends, and clergy often have the rational insight we lack when we’re in the throes of being in love. How often have you heard stories of people who were in love ignore warnings about the relationship from family and friends? Those stories often end with the warnings being proved right once the feelings of being in love subside. So if trusted loved ones warn you that you’re making foolish choices, listen to them, even if what they say may seem absurd while you’re in love.
Remember that you don’t think with a level head while you’re in love. Give yourself whatever time and space you need to step back from the emotion and restore perspective. Don’t discard convictions you once held as non-negotiable just because the feelings of being in love have entered your perspective.
What about you? What have you experienced when you were in love? How have you kept from making poor choices while in love? Please share your thoughts and stories in the comments below!
A version of this post originally appeared on Justin’s blog, That Crazy Christian Romance, on September 23, 2017. Used by permission.
Justin Megna is the creator of That Crazy Christian Romance, a blog dedicated to sharing biblical wisdom for romance with Christian young people. He completed a BA in Pastoral Ministry at University of Valley Forge.
Get Justin’s free Christian Love Life Essentials Checklist by clicking here.