I still remember the moment I laid eyes on him. He was sitting 8 rows in front of me. His strong arms, wavy brown hair, and tall physique caught my attention immediately.
I didn’t know who he was or where he came from, but my stomach was churning with butterflies.
He was good looking, tall, and attending the same Christian conference I was attending. He had to be a great Christian guy (right??)!
We finally met the during the last night of the conference, right after the closing ceremonies. My heart almost leaped out of my chest when I found how close we lived to one another, and how many mutual friends we shared.
I left that conference with my head in the clouds and overwhelmed with excitement.
I was head over heels in love with this Zack Clark guy.
Or so I thought.
Looking back now, I can see a little more clearly. I wasn’t falling in love with Zack at that moment. In fact, I wasn’t even close to true love (1 Cor. 13).
We live in a culture that has totally blurred the line between true love and infatuation. The more I’ve studied what each word means, the more I’ve come to realize that I didn’t actually fall in love with my husband that day.
I fell head over heels into infatuation for him.
Butterflies, heart pounding, instant feelings of excitement, head in the clouds, can’t stop thinking about him, filling my diary with “wedding dreams,” and developing a huge crush…those were all signs of infatuation.
Those instant feelings of “true love” were all actually signs of infatuation.
Here’s the dictionary definition for the word infatuation:
“An intense but short-lived passion or admiration for someone or something.”
Have you ever had a crush?
Maybe multiple crushes? Well…those fireworks you felt were probably a result of you being infatuated with that person. It wasn’t love at first sight. It was infatuation at first sight.
True love and infatuation are VERY different, and unless we understand their differences, we will experience a lot of heartbreak and confusion.
For starters, infatuation is built on strong, passionate and compelling feelings for the other person. These feelings can last for many months or just a few short days. We can “fall” in and out of infatuation at the drop of a hat.
We may feel passionately “in love” with someone one day, and then totally disinterested in them the next.
That is how infatuation works. It’s built primarily on strong feelings and emotions.
Here’s some of the dangers of confusing infatuation with true love. We’ll think we’re “in love” with someone when we’re not. We’ll think our “love” for someone is dying when the sparks dissipate. We’ll struggle to stay committed during the hard times because we won’t “feel” connected anymore.
True love on the other hand is entirely different.
True love is built on actions, choices and time. It’s a decision, not a strong feeling.
Regardless of what Hollywood says, you can’t “fall in love” with someone instantaneously. According to God’s definition of true love (1 Cor. 13), it’s something that has to be intentionally given and it proves itself over time.
True love takes time to reveal whether the love is genuine or not. True, Biblical, love will display patience, kindness, trust, long-suffering, it will bear all things, hope all things, believe all things, it isn’t boastful, isn’t proud, etc. (1 Cor. 13).
We can’t unwillingly “fall” into something like true love because true love is a choice, not a feeling.
On the flip side, we can’t “fall” out of love either. Married couples who say, “we just fell out of love…” are viewing love as something that just “happens” to people (hint: think of cupid). You can’t fall out of love…you choose to stop loving.
And that’s the same reason I didn’t fall in love with Zack.
I fell into infatuation and stayed there for many months. It wasn’t until we really got know each other (several years later) that I began to develop a heart of true love (as defined by God) for him.
And now, after 4 years of marriage, I am deeply in love with Zack.
It’s not just a feeling, but something we both intentionally work at cultivating in our marriage. We are determined to love one another until “death do us part,” and we know it will take hard work and a daily choice to love.
Here’s my advice for you:
The next time you find yourself swooning over a guy, ask yourself this question: Are my feelings toward this guy a result of infatuation or are they a result of Biblical love? If the answer is “infatuation,” choose to be intentional about keeping your heart and emotions in check.
Next, I HIGHLY recommend learning more about true love (as defined by God) and how to have a godly romance. To do that, check out these other Girl Defined posts:
In closing, my encouragement to you is this: don’t allow infatuation to get the best of you. Don’t allow your infatuation with a guy to be the driving force for your feelings. Don’t confuse infatuation with true, Biblical love. Love is a choice, an action and the intentional pursuit of serving others. That is what will sustain a relationship long-term – not infatuation.
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
- Do you remember a time in your own life when you were infatuated with a guy, but thought you were “in love?” What happened?
- What dangers do you see in allowing infatuation to be the driving force behind a relationship?
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