How do you know it’s love?
In this day and time, people oftentimes consider themselves lucky if they can find someone to date them, regardless of whether the relationship is a good fit for them. This ideology can be destructive, because it will keep us feeling stuck in relationships that drain us and make us develop negative outlooks toward the concept of love.
This practice is even more detrimental to Christians, for an unfit relationship can cause us to be led astray from our faith in God, and therefore destroy every other aspect of our lives in it’s wake.
So, how can we as Christians determine if the person we’re in a God-approved relationship? Well, we compare their actions to what the Bible says about love.
What is Love?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.-1 Corinthians 13:4-8
These verses are often read aloud at weddings, and are featured in romantic films such as one of my personal favorites, A Walk to Remember; however, many people love to recite those words, reveling in the fact that it’s a cute love quote rather than taking the words to heart as God intended. Today, we’re going to review how love is defined in these verses, and determine how to spot a relationship that fails to align with these guidelines.
Love Is Patient, Love is Kind
Truly loving someone requires constant patience and kindness. Sure, your significant other may test you sometimes with being late, saying something out of the way, or doing something you disagree with. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, if you truly love this person, you will wait for them, even if you don’t feel like it. You will be understanding when they mess up. And, you will do these things with a good attitude.
Now, let’s consider this from your significant other’s actions. Does he/she exhibit patience and understanding with you when you fall short of what they expect, or do they approach you with hostile words?
- Quickly growing angry when they have to wait on you
- Constantly making rude remarks
Love Does Not Envy, Love Does Not Boast, Love Is Not Proud
Truly loving someone also requires that we won’t be jealous over other relationships our significant other has or has had in the past.
For example, if your significant other likes to spend time with their friends, you should allow them to enjoy that freedom without complaining that their friends are intervening with your time together.
True love also does not boast, and is not proud. Boasting/exhibiting a proud nature in a relationship comes in the form of being too busy bragging about your own accomplishments than magnifying the accomplishments and strengths of your significant other.
Going back to your significant other, let’s consider their actions. Is he/she envious of your relationships with others, even non-romantic ones? Does he/she spend a lot of time bragging on themselves, while only pointing out your flaws?
- They constantly exhibit jealousy over your friends/family/exes
- They forbid you to interact with certain others
- They place themselves on a pedestal
- They constantly blame others and never accept their own mistakes
Love Does Not Dishonor Others, It Is Not Self-Seeking
When you love someone, you will make a choice to not dishonor them. Dishonoring your significant other can come in the form of calling them derogatory names and talking about their flaws with others
YES, this includes posting bad things about your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend on Facebook.
Love is also not self-seeking, meaning you’re not just dating or marrying this person for personal gain. For example, someone may chose to marry someone for money. We call those gold-diggers.
Does your significant other often say things that are aimed to lower your self-esteem, or make you look like a criminal? Do they always seem to focus on a certain aspect about you that may have the potential to boost their standing?
- They call you a skank (or worse versions of this word), stupid, ugly, etc.
- They question your trustworthiness constantly, though you haven’t done anything for them not to trust you
- They constantly take advantage of your kindness
Love Is Not Easily Angered, It Keeps No Records of Wrongs
Along with utilizing the virtue of patience, true love requires us to not become easily angered with our significant other. Loving someone with understanding and kindness does not go hand in hand with constantly being angry with them.
Love keeps no records of past wrongdoings. Maybe your significant other has fallen into sin before you met, maybe they have wronged you during your relationship. However, if you truly love this person, you will be willing to love them as Jesus does… forgive and forget.
Does your significant other seem to be angry at you over every little thing? Do they keep a list of things you have done wrong, and pull them out to belittle you?
- They pick meaningless fights
- They hold grudges
- They expect you to forget all the mistakes they’ve made but keep a list of yours
Love Does Not Delight In Evil, But Rejoices With The Truth
I’m going to be completely honest here: a guaranteed red-flag in a Christian relationship is that the relationship is falling into sinful actions rather than actions that honor God.
In addition, if you find yourself seeking the knowledge/approval of your significant other over God’s, you are not honoring God.
True love for Christians involves encouraging one another to actively pursue a relationship with God, to live according to the standards He has set out for us, and for us to love as He has instructed us.
Does your significant other lead you to sin? Do they encourage your relationship with God, or distract you from Him?
- Constantly overstepping physical boundaries after you have asked them to stop
- You have stopped going/missed a lot of church since you started dating
- You feel further away from God after spending time with them
Love Always Protects, Always Trusts, Always Hopes, Always Perseveres
Truly loving someone implies you will always be willing to protect them from harm. This means that you will stand behind them when the world seems like it’s turning against them, that you will pray for God to help ward off the temptations or struggle in their life.
Loving someone means you will always be willing to trust their words and actions.
Lastly, loving someone involves maintaining hope and persevering in the relationship. If you go into the relationship thinking that you won’t be with this person long, then you won’t; it’s just that simple. Most importantly, when you’re facing a tough situation, you’ll be willing to fight to the end with this person if you love them.
Does your significant other pray for you, in times of need or on a regular basis? Do they trust you, and can you trust them? Do they see themselves with you in the long-term?
- They don’t pray for you
- They act distant when you need to talk to them about your problems
- They act like they don’t trust you
- They always snoop through your phone/social media profiles
- You’re stepping on eggshells wondering when it will end
LOVE NEVER FAILS
The last portion of the verse is the most significant attribute of love in my opinion: it NEVER fails.
A lot of people say they still love their ex boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife… but if what you two had together was really LOVE, it wouldn’t have failed.
The person God intends for you to love in a romantic relationship will stick with you through everything, and won’t opt to end the relationship under any circumstance. They will be willing to be patient, persevere, and continually exhibit faith that God will see the two of you through your trials and tribulations.
The good news? With God on your side, you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Do you and your significant other fight a lot? Is your relationship constantly on-again, off-again?
- There are constant arguments in your relationship
- There are unsettled arguments/grudges
- You feel trapped in this relationship
- You’ve broken up and gotten back together many times
- You often question if this person is worthy of spending forever with
If you were able to relate to a majority of the warning signs listed above, you may want to reflect on your current relationship. Are you and/or your significant other exhibiting these virtues that make up love?
If you are not, or if they are not, that does not necessarily mean that you should break up. If your relationship isn’t living up to love’s standards, yet you have feelings for this person, read these verses together for what they are. Attempt to resolve your relationship by living by these standards and making God your center focus.
If one of you has a hard time adapting, then by all means, end it. Being able to say you have a boyfriend/girlfriend isn’t worth feeling unloved, especially if it’s leading you away from God.
Talk to Me, Arrowheads!
What did you think of today’s post? Would you like to see more Christianity based dating posts, and tips on how to write these kind of relationships in fiction? Let me know down below!
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.
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