Am I in Love? How to know when you love someone

Love does not fail. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

What you need to know:

  • We mistake feelings in the early stages of a relationship with strong love.
  • What we call love in the early stages of a relationship is a fleeting emotion.

Happy Valentine’s Day my dear reader. Today I will delve deeper into this thing called love.

We mistake feelings in the early stages of a relationship with strong love. Love takes time to develop roots, grow and be firm. What we call love in the early stages of a relationship is a fleeting emotion.

This is what Nat Cole meant when he sang, ‘In a restless world like this, love is ended before it's begun…and too many moonlight kisses seem to cool in the warmth of the sun.’

Love is grown. It is what happens after 10, or 15-plus years of building happy memories, bonding, remaining faithful, being protective, affirming, and admiring your partner no matter what life throws at you.

The Bible teaches us the deeper definition of love. In 1 Corinthians: 13 , we learn powerful lessons about love.

Love is patient

This is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without getting annoyed or anxious. If there is one virtue needed in relationships to thrive, it is patience. We need it as parents, spouses, siblings, bosses, employees, citizens, teachers, pastors, farmers, and so on.

Love is kind

Marriages break down because of cruelty, which is the opposite of kindness. Kind people would not betray their spouses by engaging in inconsiderate acts such as committing adultery. Kind people consider their actions and impact on others because they have empathy, a powerful emotional intelligence skill.

Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

Envy has been described as one of the most destructive human emotions. It is often mistaken for jealousy, yet they are different.

Envy is a resentful longing and desire to possess the things, or qualities that another person has. Envy breeds such vices as belittling and harmful behaviour towards the other person. Love is gracious and is delighted in other’s good fortunes.

Love does not dishonour others

Honour is about ethics, morals, holding others in high esteem, recognising their worth and affirming them. Honour begets honour.

When I think of honour I am reminded of an elderly couple that I once met as they celebrated 30 years of friendship and love. The couple had built a successful enterprise they started with little savings and loads of hope and appreciation.

During the ceremony the man kept repeating: “While this organisation is named after me, my wife is the true founder.”

He continued, “She came up with the idea, pitched it to me, I was sceptical, but I listened to her and here we are today.”

Love is not self-seeking, easily angered and it keeps no record of wrongs.

It comes from a genuine place and is given without expecting anything in return. Be wary of people who declare love even before they know your surname. They are thinking only of themselves.

Love and short tempers do not blend well. You cannot lash out at your spouse, children, or other loved ones and claim to love them too. Love is a skill to be learned, therefore, if you lose your temper go back and learn how to love.

Ladies, we cannot speak of love and still hold grudges. Please, do not confuse this to mean that one should tolerate ill-treatment or abuse. That has no space in a loving relationship.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.

“You will know who calls the shots in this house,” a husband told his shocked wife as she broke down after discovering his underhand deals.

What satisfaction does someone derive in the pain of another, especially someone they vowed to love, honour, and protect? That is not love.

Love always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres.

Love is a delightful thing; it is full of goodwill for self and others and does not give up.

Love never fails

If there is love, all else will give way. The Bible exposition concludes with these powerful assertions. “And now these three remain faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Love starts with the small steps — the romance, affirmations, flowers, hand holding, talking, sharing, seeking to know about the other person and asking deep open-ended questions.

More importantly, self-love, not selfish love is what helps us to know and get comfortable loving another person. Happy Valentine’s day once again!