Six Tests of Love
“DON’T GET IT TWISTED, LOVE IS A BEAUTIFUL THING”
Each of these tests is designed to help you discern and distinguish between love and infatuation. After you read each statement, apply it to your present relationship, or to your expectations of what a love relationship should include.
1. The Test of Time
Love benefits and grows through time; infatuation ebbs and diminishes with time. Infatuation may come suddenly. We find ourselves thinking, “Boom! I’m in love.” That’s actually infatuation.
We probably ought to make an effort to avoid speaking about “falling in love.” We can fall into infatuation, we can fall into lust, but we most truthfully grow into love. Love develops out of relationship and caring and core personal character traits, not our instant impression or perception of another person.
2. The Test of Knowledge
Love grows out of an appraisal of all the known characteristics of the other person. Infatuation may grow out of an acquaintance with only one of these characteristics known about the other person. Something about the way that person looks or the way he or she functions in a certain role may give you a very distorted idea of their full character. You may not even know the other person. Infatuation lives in a make-believe world where the object of our affection is perfect, flawless, and completely devoted to us. Love wants to study the other person’s needs, desires, dreams, and hopes because it wants to do everything to make them a reality. Love is interested, not in what it can get, but in what it can give.
3. The Test of Focus
Genuine love is other-person centered. Infatuation is self-centered. You know what infatuated people are all caught up with?
Themselves. In your most important relationships, to what degree is your attention focused on what you are receiving from them and to what degree is your attention focused on meeting the others’ needs? Do you think about how you’re going to look and feel in the relationship, or about what you can do to make that person look and feel great?
4. The Test of Singularity
Genuine love is focused on only one person. An infatuated individual may be “in love” with two or more persons simultaneously. The life cycle of infatuation is nine to eighteen months. Then all
those breathless and wonderful feelings leave, and you’re stuck with another person with the same kinds of needs that you have. How did you grade yourself on the test of singularity? In what ways have you realized that it’s much easier to work on problems in an existing relationship where singularity and faithfulness are maintained than to create a whole new set of problems with another person?
Genuine love requires and fosters a sense of security and feelings of trust. An infatuated individual seems to have a blind sense of security, based upon wishful thinking rather than careful consideration; infatuation is blind to problems. Or he or she may have a sense of insecurity that is sometimes expressed as jealousy. Security grows and flows out of deep awareness of the other person’s character, values, and track record. You know who he or she really is. And when you know who they really are, you trust them. You are not jealous because you know their heart is yours. Jealousy is often a sign of a lack of trust, and a lack of trust is a sign of infatuation in real life.
6. The Test of Work
An individual in love works for the other person, for his or her mutual benefit. By contrast, an infatuated person loses his or her ambition, appetite, and interests in everyday affairs. A woman in
love may study to make her husband proud. A man in love may have his ambitions spurred on by planning and saving for the future together. Partners in genuine love may daydream about the potential of their relationship, but their daydreams are reasonably attained. People in infatuation only think of their own misery.