Friday, January 27, 2012
Infatuation Versus Love
“Infatuation might lead you to do things you regret, but love never steers you in the wrong direction.”
This quote is a very simplified explanation of two words that can be very confusing. Just when is someone in love? If you can’t stop thinking about that special person, does that mean he/she is “the one”? These questions may be going through the heads of many adolescents and even adults. There are several differences between these two words, but also some similarities.
There are three components to love: passion, intimacy, and commitment. Infatuation is just plain passion. The passion for the other person is so intense that it makes you believe it is love. Many times this passion fades and you realize that you do not love this person. Consummate love means that you are committed to them, you are intimate with them, and you are passionate about them.
Love is something that only time can define. If you truly love someone, your passionate feelings will continue forever. It means that when the passion fades a bit, there is still a want and a need for each other. While love and infatuation are similar in that they are both affectionate feelings toward another person, they are very different in that infatuation is at the surface of the relationship and love is a very deep feeling. A young person needs to know that they need to give a relationship time to see if it is truly love.
Infatuation is a very superficial attraction toward another person. It is a feeling that one gets that makes you think it is love. There is nothing better than that feeling. The problem is that it often ends when you realize flaws in the other person. But, there are times when infatuation turns into love.
Infatuation can be divided into four parts: stricken, intrusive thinking, idealization, and emotional rollercoaster. When you are stricken, it is the moment you notice this someone special and a chord is struck in your heart. It may be this person’s look, smell, or sound, but it attracts you to him/her. When you have intrusive thoughts about someone, you have a hard time focusing on daily tasks. Everything around you has new meaning, and usually it has to do with that special person. Idealization is when you see no flaws in that person. He/she is perfect for you, and there is nothing to hold you back from being with him/her. The emotional rollercoaster is what one experiences when you may think of everything being perfect one minute, and then doubting whether it will work out. This doubt may stem from not trusting this person fully and wondering if he/she feels the same .
Love and infatuation are both strong feelings toward another person. Infatuation involves passion toward someone else, but not necessarily the long term commitment. If there is one thing that distinguishes these two terms, it is the test of time. True love will stand the test of time.
One difference between love and infatuation is that love is a much deeper feeling.
According to the bible, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps not record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
The key difference is the last two words. Love always perseveres. It will stand the test of time when infatuation is usually temporary.
Accidentally “falling” in love is often characterized as the pinnacle of human existence and experience. Authors, actors, scriptwriters, painters, sculptors and poets have all contributed to this mythic oxymoron.
Falling is an accident, not a mature choice. Perhaps that’s why the root meaning of infatuation is “to be foolish or stupid.” There’s a vast difference between infatuation’s temporary chemistry and the mature, true love that should develop over time between a couple. While infatuation may be a first step, it must grow through constant, sensitive, outgoing attention to become lasting true love.
Falling in love can be described in the vernacular as “puppy love” rather than true love. And regrettably, age is no stranger to this type of infatuation.
As much as one might wish to think that his or her infatuation is the real thing, we should understand that infatuation is not unique to any one person or experience. It has happened to people the world over and from time immemorial.
Infatuation is but a beginning. The pleasurable feelings it creates are the Creator’s way to stimulate a man and woman to grow interested in one another, which can then lead them to marry, procreate and build secure and happy families. At this early stage couples make their relationship a priority; later they learn to accept differences and show each other appreciation.
When infatuation ends and when the honeymoon is over, often couples will face a crossroads. The journey to ever-deepening love can either really pick up or start to end. Those couples who continue to give careful attention to each other will enjoy and appreciate their marriage trip to ongoing happiness. Those who don’t will find they have little motivation to maintain their relationship once the infatuation wears off.
A number of good books contribute immensely to accurately identifying true love. They delineate the stages of marriage, the differences between sexual attraction, infatuation, connectedness and the mechanics that provide for true love. However, they do not fully define true love as it is presented by God in the Bible.
True love comes from God. His Word describes Him as love personified. “God is love,” we are told in 1 John 4:8, 16 (emphasis added throughout).
The Greek word used for that divine, godly love is agape. It refers to an outgoing, selfless love, as opposed to a selfish feeling or craving. (Agape love should not be confused with the two other Greek words translated “love” in the Bible—eros, which means sexual love, and phileo, which means to have fondness for or endearment).
While God wants us to extend His divine love to all human beings, we should apply that kind of selfless, outgoing love most of all in the closest of all human relationships—the marriage union.