Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Difference between Love and Infatuation - Cindy Wright

What is the difference between love and infatuation?

“Real love involves commitment to the other person… infatuation doesn’t.

“Real love is more about how I can show I care for the other person… infatuation is more about how the other person makes ME feel.

“Real love is based on really knowing the other person… infatuation focuses on the physical qualities and impressions about the other person.

“Real love lasts through disagreements and trials… disagreements and trials often “bursts the bubble” of infatuation.

“Real love stands the test of time… infatuation doesn’t last.”

“A great Biblical tool to help determine love from infatuation is found in 1 Corinthians 13. In this chapter, Paul writes about the characteristics of real love. I suggest that you take a look!” (Jim Burns from article, What is the Difference Between Love and Infatuation)

It’s difficult, when you believe you’re in love to think that it could be anything but true love. The feelings are so strong, so compelling. You want, you desire, you believe that what you are experiencing is authentic.

But does it line up biblically with the definition God gives to love?

“We’re told in the Bible (1 Corinthians 13:4-5), ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.‘ But infatuation is impatient, gets angered easier because it’s more about ME and how you make ME feel than how I can make YOU feel.

“Infatuation is in a hurry and ‘won’t pass the test of time’ where love views time as ‘its greatest friend,’ after all, what’s the hurry? Those that love aren’t planning on leaving. Time is something that can be savored and enjoyed by those who are in love.

“Infatuation ‘is purely an emotion, thus is subject to change and wavering’ where love is ‘an emotional need AND an act of the will.’ That’s what you understand better as you read what God tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.”

When it comes to love —true love:

“I ask you: Are you willing to turn over to God even the deepest longings and desires of your heart? Can you trust Him with your dreams and future? Are you willing to pass up something that appears good and even desirable for that which is BEST?

“If your answer is yes, then you, my friend, will never reap the sorrow and regret that awaits those who head down the paths of this world. Your fulfillment, and mine, will be unmatched with anything that frivolous dating relationships can offer, if we will but cling to the Savior and rest —truly rest —in Him.” (Kristy Smith from internet article, “Emotions and the Christian Young Lady”)

“How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of those who take refuge in you.” -Psalm 31:19

So, when it comes to TRUE Love compared to Infatuation and how it looks in practical ways for those who are Christians, here are a few to consider:

True Love: Has a priority to maintain a close walk with God and desires to please the Lord above pleasing a guy.
Infatuation: Thinks more about pleasing self and a guy than about pleasing God.

True Love: Desires to please her parents and seeks their approval in a relationship with a guy (whether your parents are Christians or not).
Infatuation: Desires to please a guy no matter what her parents think.

True Love: Desires the approval of godly friends and spiritual authorities (Pastor, youth leader, Sunday School teacher) in her friendship with a guy.
Infatuation: Develops a friendship with a guy no matter what others think and does not seek the approval of godly friends or spiritual leaders.

True Love: Is more attracted to a guy’s godly character than to his looks or popularity, and dresses to bring out her own godly character and keep from sinning.
Infatuation: Is attracted to the attention a guy gives and to his good looks and popularity, rather than looking for godly character. The guy is more concerned about your shape and bodily features, ad you tend to want to dress for his attention.

True Love: Desires to wait for any touching from a guy until the wedding day. Seeks to get to know her special guy as a person.
Infatuation: Desires to be touched by a guy without taking time to really get to know him first. Is not willing to wait for marriage for a physical relationship with a guy.

True Love: Willing to wait for God’s timing for marriage.
Infatuation: Wants to be married NOW.

True Love: Unselfish —thinks more about how to help others and gives oneself for others.
Infatuation: Selfish —thinks only about “myself and I” and what I can get out of this relationship.

True Love: Encourages one another in the Lord, reads God’s Word privately and together, memorizes Scripture together, and attends church faithfully. Desires to grow in the Lord and serve the Lord.
Infatuation: Not too concerned about reading God’s Word privately or together, memorizing Scripture, or faithfully going to church. Is more concerned of being with a guy and thinking about him than desiring to grow in the Lord and serve the Lord.

True Love: Works out disagreements with God’s help.
Infatuation: Quarrels often and makes up to each other mainly for the hugs and kisses.

True Love: Wants to obey regulations set down by parents or guardians, so are only together when and where the parents or guardians approve.
Infatuation: Pushes regulations set by parents or guardians such as when to be home, where to go, and not to be alone. Desires to do her own thing. Plans ways in which they can be together or talk or pass notes when parents do not approve or know.

True Love: Does not seek a friendship with anyone who has glaring faults.
Infatuation: Overlooks faults because, “He loves me and that is all that matters.”

• True Love: Love grows, and all growth takes time.
• Infatuation: Romantic infatuation may arise suddenly and without warning.

• True Love: Love knows the other person more thoroughly and accepts both the positive and negative characteristics.
Infatuation: Romantic infatuation may arise from am acquaintance with only one, or the best, a few characteristics of the other person.

• True Love: Love is other-centered and sacrifices to meet the needs of others.
• Infatuation: Romantic infatuation is self-centered and looks at the other as a means to an end.

• True Love: A person in love centers his attentions in one person only.
• Infatuation: An infatuated person may be “in love” with two or more persons simultaneously.

• True Love: A person in love feels a true identification with the other.
• Infatuation: An infatuated person tends to think of the other person as strangely separate from himself despite their strong emotional unity.

• True Love: A person in love tends to have a true sense of security in his relationship based on a growing range of trust and affection and mutual concerns.
• Infatuation: An infatuated person tends to have a false sense of security about his love affair, which is based on wishful thinking, or sometimes upon a compulsive need for reassurance.

• True Love: When in love this idealization is not so grandiose and it is checked against reality continually, and without fear or self-deception.
• Infatuation: An individual who is infatuated sustains a mental picture of the object of his attention.

• True Love: In love physical attraction plays a relatively less important role in the total relationship.
• Infatuation: In infatuation physical attraction plays a more relatively more important role in the total relationship of the two persons.

“If only one word could be said about how to recognize true love as opposed to romantic infatuation, it would have to be the common-sense word: ‘WAIT!’ Time clarifies most of life’s issues, and certainly the important issues can afford the test of time.” (Quoted from “Design for Christian Marriage” by Dwight Hervey Small) 

After reading to the differences between love and infatuation, are you getting the feeling that infatuation is something bad? I hope not. Because it isn’t. It can be fun and lets face it, love has to start somewhere. You don’t go from nothing to love immediately.

“Infatuation is a beginning. The pleasurable feelings it creates are the Creator’s way to stimulate a man and woman to grow interested in one another, which can then lead them to marry, procreate and build secure and happy families. At this early stage couples make their relationship a priority; later they learn to accept differences and show each other appreciation” (Jen Aust, from article “What is True Love“).

The problem comes when we mix love up with its beginning stage: inflation. Too many couples are so attracted to each other that they make quick permanent plans to marry before they put the time and work and commitment into making sure they can keep the promises they make with one another.

Slow down. Do your “home work” in getting to know each other through the various seasons of the year and the many situations you can “learn through” to best know if your infatuation has grown to a mature love for each other. Make sure that both of you are as committed unselfishly to each other and to God and to resolving conflicts in godly, healthy ways. Don’t allow your feelings to blind you in such a way that you enter into marriage when you shouldn’t.

If you want to learn how to love:

“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that” (Ephesians 5:1-2 The Message).

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