12 Tests Of Love and Infatuation

Aug
2011
21

posted by on Relationship Encouragement

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We humans love to be in love. It’s magical. Something special fills the air when a couple is in love. You might meet at a Starbucks or at a church group, your eyes meet, then your eyes meet again. He or she might give a little smirk and you might smile back. If you’re lucky and you don’t mince your words, you might be able to exchange a casual greeting. On your way home you might say to yourself – “I think I’m in love!” Those are thrilling moments, but are those feelings really love? How do you know if those feelings are the beginning of a long-term relationship or just an episode of short-term infatuation?  To understand the difference, I believe there are twelve tests that will help you differentiate between love and infatuation.
Before we go any further, there are a few caveats which are important to mention. I believe men and women “fall” in love in different ways. A man doesn’t usually “lose himself” in love. For a man to lose his identity in a love relationship is often a sign of “neediness” within that man. While it’s normal for a woman to lose her identity in love, the thought of losing control of her heart is often frightening to a woman considering remarriage. Each of these gender-based dynamics can make finding genuine love more complicated in situations where there has been a failed marriage or two.

While this test is aimed at single adults, we know that every person must know the difference between love and infatuation, because unreasonable expectations will often rob a couple of a warm and deep relationship. If you are unclear about the difference between love and infatuation, you may find yourself connecting with a member of the opposite sex who is simply not for you, naively concluding that you’ve found your “true love and soulmate.”

So, here’s the test. Read each test and make a mental note, using “L” for Love and “I” for Infatuation as you apply your answers to a current or past relationship experience.

1. The Test of Time
– Love benefits and grows through time. Infatuation ebbs and diminishes with time…
2. The Test of Knowledge – Love grows out of an appraisal of all the known characteristics of the other person. Infatuation may grow out of an acquaintance with only one or two key characteristics really being known about the other person…
3. The Test of Focus – Genuine love is other-person centered. Infatuation is self-centered.
4. The Test of Singularity – Genuine love is focused on only one person. An infatuated individual may be “in love” with two or more persons simultaneously…
5. The Test of Security and Responsibility – Genuine love requires and fosters a sense of security and trust in the individuals involved. A person in love takes genuine responsibility for the other person… An infatuated individual seems to have a blind sense of trust and security and he or she tends to ignore the irresponsible behavior of the other person…
6. The Test of Work – An individual who is in a relationship of true love, works in the real world for the other person, and for his or her mutual benefit. An infatuated person usually loses his or her earthly ambitions, appetites, and interests in day-to-day affairs in the enamored state of his or her infatuation…
7. The Test of Problem Solving – A couple in a relationship of real love will face problems frankly and honestly, and they will genuinely try to solve them. Infatuated people will tend to disregard or try to ignore the problems of life…
8. The Test of Distance – Love knows the importance of distance, and of intermittent seasons of personal space. Infatuation imagines love to be intense closeness, 24/7, all the time…
9. The Test of Physical Attraction – Physical attraction is a relatively small part of love, but it is a central focus of infatuation…
When we say that physical attraction is a “small part” of love, we don’t mean to say it is “no part at all”. If you don’t feel a genuine attraction for the person you plan to marry, we’d call that a real problem. When couples who are in genuine love have any physical contact at all, i.e. kissing, touching, etc, it tends to have special meaning beyond the pleasure of the moment. Infatuated couples tend to be more selfish, and their relationships usually become sexual before marriage. Infatuated couples often follow their desires for personal satisfaction over their mutually shared commitment toward a lengthy season of bonding and personal purity).
10. The Test of Affection
– In real and genuine love, affection is expressed later in the relationship. And it involves the external expression of the physical attraction we just described. In infatuation, affection is expressed much earlier in the relationship, sometimes at the very beginning of the romance…
11. The Test of Stability – Love tends to endure. Infatuation may change suddenly and unpredictably…
12. The Test of Delayed Gratification – A couple in genuine love is not indifferent towards the timing of his and her wedding, but they do not feel an unstoppable drive toward the wedding event. An infatuated couple tends to feel an unhealthy urge to “seal the deal” and get married almost instantly. For the infatuated couple, any amount of nuptial postponement is intolerable.

We know God has wired you for intimacy – God has built you to love and be loved in a relationship that lasts forever, but as we have all experienced, that kind of relationship is hard to find in this culture. So we want to help you understand the common problems that plague today’s courtships and marriages, and we want to give you practical solutions for making your relationships the exception to the sad, but general rule of disappointment and failure.

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    • Ilse Davila

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