We live in a culture obsessed with romance. Sweet stories of sensual passion, quick commitments and affectionate promises surround us this time of year. And yet, even while we seem to worship love, its crumbling runs rampant as divorce rates skyrocket. The truth is that what we often see portrayed as true love in love movies and other media is actually just the heat of infatuation.
Psychological studies have concluded that the intense rush of excited happiness that is infatuation is only sustainable for about 18 months. After this period, the dopamine high that gives you a feeling of blissful happiness wears off. What's left will determine the success or failure of the relationship. Dr. Susan Heitler wrote in Psychology Today, "It's easy to confuse loving the feeling of infatuation with the totally separate issue of how loving you are likely to feel toward that person after the infatuation has worn off."
As Christians, this should come as no surprise, as the Bible makes clear the ongoing struggle between the heart's desires and what is wise. Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is more deceitful than all things and desperately wicked; who can understand it?"
So how can you tell the difference between love and infatuation? Thankfully, you don't have to be fooled by your brain chemistry. There are some helpful things to keep in mind at the beginning of any whirlwind romance, before you take the plunge into marriage. Here are some important questions to ask yourself:
Are Feelings the Entire Relationship?
Would you have been friends with this person even if romantic feelings never developed? Do you have shared values and goals? Looking beyond feelings is a tough exercise, but extraordinarily necessary in this and all areas of life. Be honest with yourself and evaluate what's left if romance flickers.
This article continues at [Charisma News] 5 Crucial Questions Every Christian Should Ask Before Saying 'I Do'