A parent contacted me recently, concerned about how their child had changed once she had “fallen in love”.
Have you noticed how silly some people are when they fall in love?
It’s hard to talk sense into someone who is ‘head-over-heels’ in love.
So here is a short primer for all of you who run the risk of going craze (even if only temporarily). It’s my “Before you fall in love – Primer”.
Before you fall in love, make sure you….
1. Put God and Others First
If you don’t do that, then your self-interest will take over and you’ll shut everyone else out during your “I’m in love” dementia.
One burden that families feel when their child has fallen in love, is that the family gets abandoned and the couple seem to only have time for each other.
This would not happen if the couple had already agreed to Love God first, Love their neighbour and honour their parents, ahead of their self-interest.
Falling in love can test just how selfish you are.
2. Honour Authority
When a couple fall in love they can be tempted to resent the imposition, restrictions and conditions placed on them by their parents. Their self-interest in being happy by being together can cause them to pull against the demands of parents and family.
If a young man rejects or minimises the authority of his or the girl’s father, he puts a curse on his own future leadership in the home.
How can he expect to be given authority as a husband and father, when he will not honour the authority of his own father or his future father-in-law?
If a young woman rejects the authority of her parents she curses her own role as a parent in the future.
Falling in love can test your right to hold authority in the future.
3. Determine to be Holy
When two people fall in love their affection leads toward intimacy. In marriage that intimacy is holy and valuable. Outside of marriage it is sin and brings uncleanness and immorality into the relationship.
When a couple move toward intimacy outside of marriage they set themselves up for immorality after they are married. Intimacy either belongs in marriage or not.
When couples think that their feelings and commitment allow them to be intimate before marriage they have demeaned their marriage and opened themselves to intimacy outside of marriage.
Falling in love can test your holiness.
4. Bring Your Emotions Under Control
Emotions are sweet and helpful in their place, but dangerous and hurtful when they are out of control.
The sweet emotions awakened by being in love are servants to your life, not the reason for being alive. They do not represent reality, but a temporary emotional state that is very unreliable.
Learn how to deny your emotions and bring them under your will and your commitments. If you don’t, you will set yourself up for all manner of emotional upheavals and mood swings; from the dizzy heights of delirium to the desperate depths of despair.
Falling in love can test your emotional maturity.
5. Find Your Wholeness in God
The affections of another person can make us feel valued and whole. But they do not actually make us whole. When the affections stop coming so freely, or are blocked by strife and tension, the feelings will turn sour.
If you are not whole, you will look to people to make you feel valued and important. You will then become a slave and addicted to that person, making emotional demands that cannot be met. You will live years of despair in such a situation.
If you are whole, because you have received God’s love, you will be able to love others and enjoy your marriage, not dependent on the affections, mood or actions of your spouse.
Falling in love can test your personal wholeness, especially if you become dependent on the affection you receive from that other person.
Measure yourself and your falling-in-love experience against something like this:
You have received God’s love and become a whole person.
You have dedicated yourself to live for God, care for others and honour your parents.
You have become emotionally mature and am unaffected by your emotions.
You consistently live by God’s holy standards, no matter what the temptation.
When you find someone you believe God has for your spouse you treat them with the utmost honour, like you would a brother or sister.
You build strong relationship with the person’s parents and family and you seek to bless the person with God’s grace in their life.
You commit yourself to God to be all that He wants you to be toward that person.
You build a solid friendship that is not tainted with emotional dependence or intimate contact.
You win that person’s trust and respect and you build your relationship under the watchful care of both sets of parents.
When you have the blessing of both sets of parents you move toward a holy marriage in which you have no regrets, no shame, no contamination and no moral flaws to ruin your future.
If that sounds ridiculous to you, then ask yourself if you are not reacting out of selfish self-interest and a need to make an emotional withdrawal from the other person or to get some form of intimacy from them.
If you have either of those interests at all, then you are a “user” not their friend. You are living for self, and unworthy of the responsibility and privilege of caring for that other person through the rest of your life.
So, don’t move ahead into pain and don’t blight the one you think you love with your fake interest. Get Real!
Let God make you into the person He created you to be. Then move ahead with His grace and blessing in your life.