Summary: Second in a series of "Heart-to-Heart Talks on Relationships," this one about love
A Heart Like Abigail
You weren’t expecting it.
You never saw it coming.
You were minding your own business when it happened.
You were standing in front of your locker at school, just talking with your friends, when all of a sudden the door opened and --WHAM!-- through the door walked your dream come true,
a combination of all the posters hanging on your bedroom walls,
the embodiment of all your fantasies,
the fulfillment of all your hopes,
and you knew,
like you never knew anything before,
that you were in love,
that here was the person you would marry,
that you had just met. . . .your destiny!
That’s how it’s supposed to happen, right?
That’s what love looks like, right?
That’s how people fall in love, right?
Well, not all the time. In fact, almost never.
Maybe it would be nice if that were the way it happened. I mean, everyone wants to love and be loved. And at this point in your lives, there may be nothing as powerful as that desire. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Without it, life would be, at best, incomplete--at worst, desperate. The yearning to give and receive love throbs in the heart of everyone, male and female alike.
That’s the way God designed us.
He placed the need for relationship inside each of us, and I believe He purposely made this yearning for love between a young woman and a young man so compelling . . . . But we must be careful, too, because a time when you are beginning to assert your independence from Mom and Dad and discover your own abilities and your own interests can be a dangerous time to begin exploring such a volatile type of relationship as the one that exists between a man and a woman who are in love.
People try in many different ways to discover true love,
a love that is strong and deep,
a love that lasts for all time.
Yet the pursuit of love has caused more
heartache and pain,
more brokenness and bitterness, than all the diseases and all the wars of history.
A lot of people struggle mightily to understand
what love is
and how they can find it.
Many are willing to give almost anything in order to experience love, particularly from someone of the opposite sex. To many teens, love does make the world go ‘round. Yet many--far too many--set themselves up for heartache, disappointment, and tragic miscalculations and mistakes because they lack a clear understanding of what love is--and what it isn’t.
Most of us don’t really know what love is; we confuse real love with other experiences and emotions. Consequently, we have no basis on which to evaluate the relationships we pursue and the decisions we make in search of real love. What we need--and what we most want to hear-- is a realistic and Biblical understanding of true love. So let me suggest to you first what love isn’t, and then I’ll try to show you what love is.
I What Love Isn’t
A. Real love isn’t the same as lust.
Rock singer Jon Bon Jovi made an insightful observation when he said, “[Today’s] songs are about lust, not love.” Lust and love are often confused in our minds, in our music, in our movies, in our magazines--in our whole culture, in fact. But love is much different from lust. Love gives; lust takes.
Love values; lust uses.
Love endures; lust subsides.
B. Real love isn’t the same as romance.
Some couples experience emotional fireworks when they kiss. Some guys can speak words that make a girl feel so good inside. Some girls can make a guy feel taller and stronger than anyone else, just by looking into his eyes. Candlelight dinners, mood music, slow dances, and starry skies can make a moment special. Romance can be wonderful, but it’s not love. Romance is a feeling; real love is much more.
C. Real love isn’t the same as infatuation.
Infatuation is a fascination with--an intense interest in--someone of the opposite sex. It can leave a young man or woman feeling breathless, lightheaded, starry-eyed, and addle-brained! Author Joyce Hugget describes infatuation as:
. . . .usually thoroughly ‘me-centered’ rather than ‘other centered.’ You fall for someone, you beguile yourself into believing yourself deeply in love with this person round whom your dreams revolve, you believe yourself ready to renounce your absorption with self for the sake of the well-being of this other person. Then, one morning, you wake up to discover that the euphoria has evaporated in the night. What is more, you find yourself held captive by identical feelings for another person.
When people talk about “falling in love,” or about “love at first sight,” they are usually talking about infatuation. Infatuation can be an overwhelming feeling; but it is not real love.