Here are 4 signs that mean your boyfriend or girlfriend truly loves you.
1. They Will Choose to See Your Best Self Even When You Are Showing Them Your Worse Self
If you are a Christian, this means you have died to sin (Romans 6:2), you have been given a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17), and the Holy Spirit lives within you (Ephesians 1:13-14). However, if you are a Christian, the sin nature still exists in your body (Romans 7:20), you are learning to live from the new nature God has give you (2 Corinthians 3:18), and the Holy Spirit in you is continually sanctifying you more and more by grace (1 Peter 1:2).
Therefore, when someone really gets close to you, they will see this full array of the Christian experience firsthand in your life (2 Timothy 3:10). They will see you at your best when you are filled with the Spirit and walking in step with him (Galatians 5:25), but they will also see you when you are walking in the flesh and rebelling against God (Romans 7:19).
Love, however, is able to separate the true you from the old you. For example, God, who is love, does not see Christians as evil sinners when they are sinning (Psalm 103:10-12). Rather, he sees them through the lens of Jesus Christ; he knows you have a sin nature still but he knows that is not the true you anymore (Hebrews 10:14).
Likewise, when you are dating someone who is a Christian and they truly love you, they will choose to see you as the new person God has created you to be even when you are not fully walking in that newness available to you. They will not see you though your sin. Rather, in love, they will choose to see you through the lens of love and through the lens of the gospel. As 1 Peter 1:22-23 states:
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God . . . .”
2. They Will Tell You the Truth Even When They Could Keep It a Secret
Love and truth will always be connected (Ephesians 4:15). When this principle is applied to relationships, it will be expressed in at least two ways.
One, when someone loves you, they will tell you the truth about themselves. I’m not saying that your boyfriend or girlfriend needs to tell you their every sin and every little detail that has ever happened to them. Rather, when someone loves you, they won’t lie to you. When lies are present, it eviscerates any environment where love could flourish (Proverbs 12:19).
And two, when someone loves you, they will tell you the truth about yourself. I’m not saying that this person can know your heart or know you better than you know yourself. But when someone loves you, they will tell you hard things that may hurt your feelings (Proverbs 27:5-6). They will confront your sin, not let you get away with rude behavior, and they will tell you when you are wrong. This won’t be done in arrogance or pride (Galatians 6:1). Rather, they will speak the truth in humility and gentleness. As Ephesians 4:25 and 29 state:
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. . . .Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
3. They Will Value You Without Idolizing You
When asking the question, “How can I know when someone really loves me?” we often ask this question out of the fear of being played by someone. We wonder if someone is truly who they say they are and will they change later on in life if we stay with them?
But it’s just as important to wonder if this person is seeing you for who you really are. Sometimes problems arise in a relationship later on not because this person changed but rather because their view of you changed because the real you did not match the imagined you in their mind.
The danger in being idolized is that you will always let that person down. No one can ever live up to the false ideas we create in our own heads. It can be flattering to feel someone’s adoration and total infatuation with you. But this is an extremely dangerous type of relationship because when it comes to earthly things, what goes up always comes down.
So when someone truly loves you, not only will they value you and treat you with respect, they won’t go too far in the other direction either by missing love and taking the exit to infatuation and the fantasy land they’ve created in their head.
They will love you for who you are – a flawed, valuable person who is saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. They won’t need you to be their god because they will be worshiping the true God. As Jonah 2:8 (NIV) teaches us, “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.”
4. They Will Stay Committed Even When Things Get Hard, Because They Always Do
While a commitment in dating should not match the level of commitment in marriage, it is wise to look at the covenant of marriage to get a good picture of what true love is supposed to look like. As traditional marriage vows express, a husband and wife are committing to each other “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”
I’m not saying that you two should offer this type of full love yet if you are just dating. Dating shouldn’t always end in marriage. Sometimes God puts you together so you two will know it’s not going to work in marriage one day.
But this principle that love is always joined to commitment cannot be denied. If someone runs when things get hard, they don’t love you like you need to be loved in marriage one day. But if someone is willing to go through hard times with you so they can experience the good times with you, this is a good sign you two are headed towards true love.
As 1 Corinthians 13:7-8 proclaims, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”