How will you know when you truly love someone or not? How can you avoid committing to the wrong person? And what signs will be present from the Lord when he is truly telling you that it’s “true love”?
When I use the phrase “true love” in this article, I’m not referring to the true love that God calls all Christians to have for all people. I’m referring to those godly relationship desires someone needs to have before they decide to get serious with someone and work towards marriage if that is God’s will for them.
So when you are in a relationship with someone and you actually do love this person, God will often confirm this to you in these 4 ways.
1. If You Know You Are Ready to Commit the Rest of Your Life to This One Person, This Is a Sign You Truly Love Him or Her
The romantic relationship that is truly pleasing to the Lord between a man and woman is always founded on commitment. It’s good to have a desire for someone, to like them, to want to be near them, to be physically attracted, and to be in agreement with them on important issues. But if there is no commitment, this relationship is not the type of romantic relationship God had in mind when he made the special bond between a man and woman in marriage.
It’s certainly okay to not know if you want to commit to this one person you are dating for the rest of your life, but if you are unsure about this still it is not true love yet. True love and loyalty can never be separated. True love will always reflect God’s love, because God is the pinnacle of what true love is. As Hebrews 13:5 states of God, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
2. If You Are Willing to Hurt This Person When You Know It Will Help This Person, This Is a Sign You Truly Love Him or Her
When we think of loving someone, we often believe this would mean that we would never hurt them. But making sure someone is always happy and is never challenged in anyway is not the highest form of love. The reason God allows us to experience pain sometimes is because he knows it is often the best thing for us. For example, when we are treating him in a dishonoring way, God will allow this sin to cause us pain so we will come to our senses. For example, in Hosea 6:1-3 it states:
Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord . . . .”
While only God can accomplish this type of harming to create healing, in our relationships with those we love, sometimes we have to say or do hard things to truly help this person we love. It’s not loving to let someone speak harshly to us. It’s not loving to let someone harm themselves repeatedly with addictive behavior. For as Proverbs 27:6 teaches us, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”
If you are unwilling to cause hurt or disappointment in someone when you know it is what they need, this is a sign you don’t yet fully love them. When it’s true love, you will say and do whatever is the most loving thing for this person regardless of the personal sacrifice it will cost you.
3. If You Are Willing to Sacrifice Some of Your Desires for Their Desires, This Is a Sign You Truly Love This Person
It’s okay to not want to compromise on the dreams you have in life so that someone else can accomplish their dreams in life. It’s okay if you feel your career is more important than a certain relationship opportunity you have. It’s okay if you see too many disagreements down the line with someone and decide this relationship is just not right for you.
But when it’s true love you will be willing to make these types of sacrifices. I don’t believe it would be wise to throw away all the goals and dreams you have just so you can be with someone else. Usually when God leads you to the person he wants you to marry there will be some symmetry in your life projections. But no two people will always see eye-to-eye on every big decision in life.
So when it’s true love, you will be willing to comprise on big choices like when to get married, when to have kids, where to live, what career choices you make, and how much time you spend at home verses doing things on your own. As Philippians 2:4 states, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
4. Your Fear of Opening Your Heart to This Person Will Not Outweigh Your Choice to Still Do It Anyways When You Truly Love Him or Her
You don’t have to be without fear to truly love someone. You must not wait until you have no worries left before you choose to love someone because then you will never actually do it. Love is present when you decide this person is worth the risk of facing your fears of opening your heart to someone.
In the Bible there is no verse commanding us to trust other people. We are commanded to trust God, but we are not explicitly told to trust people. So does this mean God does not want us to trust people? No, but it does mean we are not called to trust everyone and we should be wise in who we decide to trust.
We must also, however, be accepting that at some point this person will not deserve our trust anymore. A harsh word, a lie, or some other sin will sever the deservedness of this person. But when you truly love this person, you will forgive them and you will choose to trust them again not because they deserve it but as a gift of your love.
Don’t hear me wrong. I’m not telling you to always do this in all relationships. Sometimes the trust should remain broken. But when true love is present and God wants you with this person, you will give your trust as a gift of love, not because someone deserves it.
Look at the relationship between Jesus and Peter. Peter betrayed Jesus, but Jesus restored Peter not because Peter would never hurt Jesus again but rather because Jesus loved him. In Matthew 16:18-19 Jesus said to Peter:
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Jesus said this to Peter not because he thought Peter would never betray him but rather because Jesus chose to love Peter anyways. Jesus chose to trust Peter with the “keys of the kingdom” out of love and grace.