5 Ways to Tell if You are in Love

She is the last thing you think of before you fall asleep and your first thought in the morning…

Your heart races when you see him in the hallway…

You can’t remember life without each other….

But is it the real thing?

Ask yourself the following questions to shed some light on the topic:

1. Are you in love with the person or the way they make you feel?

In college I had a conversation with a friend regarding the reason to get married. He explained that he had heard a Deacon say that when he asked engaged couples why they wanted to be married their answer was always the same: “She/he makes me so happy.” My friend explained that when he got married, his motivation would be the opposite: he wanted to make his wife so happy. Months passed and this friend became my boyfriend, later my fiancé and then my husband.

It is easy to get caught up in a relationship based on emotion. Many confuse loving a person with loving the way that person makes them feel. St. Paul said, “[Love] does not seek its own interests” (1 Cor 13:5). Carefully evaluate why you are in your relationship. When the goal is one another’s holiness then happiness will be a natural byproduct. Which leads to question number two:

2. Is his/her soul your first priority?          

God wants to reveal Himself to us through our encounters with others. God invented human relationships to make us holy! True love should point us to Heaven and motivate us to do whatever we can to protect the soul of the other. Loving someone never means sinning with them. Love builds up, strengthens and sanctifies as it seeks the good of the one we love. Lust is self-serving, passion driven and debilitating.  God is love, and a God-centered relationship is the best place to look for authentic human love.

3. Can you live with their flaws?

My second daughter is a two-year old rebel. She is constantly eating chapstick, climbing in the dryer or drawing on walls. She makes me crazy, but when she puts that sweet head on my shoulder my heart explodes with unconditional love. Everyone has flaws, and your future spouse will have many. My husband could tell you all of mine, but he loves me in spite of them. We didn’t marry each other with the intent to change one another. However, because God is the source of our love, He has certainly used us to draw the other away from many vices!

Disclaimer: These flaws shouldn’t be things that put your soul or body in danger. St. Paul continues on: “[Love] is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,it does not rejoice over wrongdoing” (1 Cor. 13:5-5). If someone is hurting you spiritually (through making it hard to practice your faith or inviting you to sin) then this clearly isn’t love. Furthermore, if someone hurts you emotionally or physically then I urge you to end the relationship quickly and seek counsel from a trusted adult.

4. Are you compatible?

Does love hurt? Ask Jesus.

As Jason Evert points out so beautifully, “compatible comes from the Latin word compati, meaning, ‘to suffer with.’ If you are unwilling to suffer with someone until death do you part, then you are not compatible.” Whether through tragedy or childbirth, suffering is inevitable in life. Is this the person you want to share your cross with? Are you willing to bear their sufferings as well?

5. If you love someone, you don’t ask if you love them.

When I was dating my husband in college, many friends would ask how I knew I was in love. It’s cliché, but all I could say was, “I just know.” If you are questioning if it’s true love, it probably isn’t. This isn’t a bad thing. It simply means that you are growing in your discernment of whether or not this person is for you.

Remember, when it comes to relationships doing everything right doesn’t always mean it is God’s Will. One night my oldest daughter decided to give us her most prized possession: her bedroom. She switched all of the bedding and belongings. She unveiled her gift and was utterly devastated when we explained we couldn’t accept it. I realized in this moment that just because we are doing something good it doesn’t necessarily make it the best thing for us.

The Lord knows the surest way to get to you Heaven and has a personal vocation for you. Within that vocation he knows the best religious order or person to make you the happiest and holiest. Don’t rush your heart!  Remain constantly open to God’s Will in your relationships. If you care about someone you will want them to find God’s plan for their life with or without you in it. Trust the Lord and He will not disappoint!

___________________________

katieKatie Hartfiel is an author and speaker dedicated to sharing the intense love of God. She graduated Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she received a degree in Theology. She served as a youth minister for seven years in Houston, where she now resides with her husband, Mark, and two daughters. In 2012, Katie released her first book, Woman in Love (available at womaninlove.org). This work coaches young women as they strive for purity through praying for and journaling to their future spouse. She has been blessed to watch hearts come alive with the realization that our faithful God hungers to exceed our deepest desires.

 

27 Comments

  1. This is good, even for an adult! I like it! 🙂

    By Sonia | 3 years ago Reply
  2. I’m seeing someone that’s not Catholic. We’re both older so there’s no possibility of children. We’re friends and respect each other. I won’t leave my faith so no worries there. Can love grow from there ? WE both want companionship. Is that What you’re talking about here? Because of how that person makes me feel ?

    By Frank | 3 years ago Reply
    • Actually, love grows from the natural necessity of companionship. So don’t worry, if you are in love of course you will feel happier near to that person. However, that can’t be the escence of your relationship. Besides, feelings change over time. This post explains it correctly: love means a real compromise to grow up with her and care about you both. If you realise it’s positive for you both (even though you don’t share the same religion or no children can come from naturally), just go ahead, and start making that bond. Just make sure your partner also understands that love is not just hanging around.

      By Juan C. | 3 years ago Reply
    • Catholicism is a doctrinal thing but a healthy marriage is built on a theological thing. If you find that as you and your significant other get closer to each other as you both seek intimacy with the Father, then you are building your relationship on a solid foundation.

      By Chris | 3 years ago Reply
    • Can two walk together except they be agreed?

      By David | 3 years ago Reply
    • What about any children this union may bring about? Will they be brought up Catholic or your dominationial beliefs?

      Best to get these things sorted out before you both tie the knot.

      By David | 3 years ago Reply
      • The original question said that there wasn’t a possibility of children.

        By Lily | 3 years ago Reply
  3. Was useful

    By Suresh | 3 years ago Reply
  4. I’m at a point in time where I’m in love with someone (according to the list) but I don’t think that person is in love with me. I do not want try too much for the fear that I will lose his friendship and trust, since we’re in the same prayer group. Right now I’m focusing on getting him out of my mind but so far, he’s the best person I’ve liked and I can’t imagine why I would have these feelings so strongly for someone who doesn’t feel the same. I’m sorry. This is on a completely different topic but so far I’ve seen only topics on “how do you know…” etc. but none on how to deal with getting over a person. Is this really love? Or am I just fooling myself?

    By Gianna | 3 years ago Reply
    • I have been in a position like yours before. It hurts and you want the feelings to go away but they do not on their own. If you want to get over him, here is a bit of advice:
      -Do not worry about it too much, if you can help it. These feelings will not go away through sheer willpower or thinking strategies. Be patient and pray about it daily.
      -This is because there is no one-size-fits-all cure for getting over someone. What took me getting over my feelings was meeting my husband and by God’s grace as well as my human reason and emotion that he was a much better for me than the man who did not love me back. It took something that monumental to finally not have feelings.

      Prayer is important because it means that you are humble enough to admit that sheer willpower will not “get rid” of your feelings. It surrenders your soul to our Creator. Ask Him for wisdom in your words and actions toward this person as well. I also think that God can bless us with unreciprocated feelings too… it doesn’t ever feel like a blessing in the middle of suffering, but He doesn’t say to us to rejoice in our sufferings for no reason. If anything I think that these feelings can be a learning experience and a spiritual gateway closer to Heaven as long as your eyes point to the Lord. For me, as I look back now that I am married, I am glad that I was able to experience it. I learned a lot about God’s grace, and I learned a lot about myself.

      Peace. 🙂

      By Angela | 3 years ago Reply
    • I was in the exact same position as you last year. I really liked a guy but, he did not like me back. I then started questing where the line between like and love was and if it was possible to fall in love with a guy when he did not even see me as more than a friend. If the guy was not the one that God wanted me to spend the rest of my life with I figured that I would not fall in love with him. I thought that I might be mixing up love with admiration. Sometimes I would get mad at God and say, “If I am not supposed to marry this guy, then why do I have to have such strong feelings for him? Please, just take them away, it hurts.” I finally started to figure things out when I started trying to be so hidden in Christ, that a man would have to see Christ just to see me. I got that from, “How To Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul” by Jason & Crystalina Evert, page 176. I finally realized that I was in love with this guy. However, that did not really help me with what I should be doing. I would not get an answer for what I should be doing until I started saying in my daily prays, “ Help me to find my vocation and help the guy I love to find his.” One day when I was saying this pray I realized something. If I had never started liking the guy, would I be praying for him now? This shook me, especially because the guy had been falling back into some bad habits. If the guy had asked to court me early on in our friendship I would have said, “yes”. However, if he where to ask me now, I would have to tell him, ”no”. Now if I had never thought of him as more than a friend, would I have even realized that he needed my prayers?
      I say do not try and put the guy you love out of your mind. Use your love as a reason and reminder to pray for him. And trust God to write your love story, there is no one more qualified than him.

      By Catherine | 3 years ago Reply
      • PERFECT RESPONSE!!

        By Marina | 3 years ago Reply
    • Hi! The best way will be if you do not see him again. “If a guy doesn’t pursue a girl it is because he doesn’t want to.” ~unknown.
      So that being said, you must not see him anymore. I did that with a guy, I really thought I could be in love, so I stopped seeing him. I cried for a while, but you know what, I got over him BEFORE I met my husband! 🙂 It was a success lol 🙂
      Also, feelings, like Angela says, are not the important thing. So like she said, PRAYER. <3 xoxo!

      By Marina | 3 years ago Reply
  5. I like his article, i’m from Brazil, and i’ll use this to share with my friends. Tank you and God bles you!

    By Lucas | 3 years ago Reply
  6. Thank you so much for this post. Love it.

    By Noel | 3 years ago Reply
  7. This post caught my eye, because I’m in a situation where I know that I am in love with this guy, but the thing is is that he isn’t in love with me (as far as I know). I keep hoping and thinking that maybe he really is, but that now is not the time for him to verbally acknowledge it to me. I have verbally acknowledged it to him… he never really said, accept he did say that we should keep our distance. That was a year ago, and he still continues to come over if I have game night, he returns my texts, and when I don’t initiate a text, he’ll write me within a week or two.

    So, my question is this… I’m thinking of telling him that I’m having a really hard time getting over him, and then asking him if he could do me the favor of just flat out saying if he’s interested or not. If he verbally told me, then I think it would “wake me up” and get me out of my dream world, and I could finally get over him. I’m better to just not mention anything to him – keep this struggle just between me and God to resolve? Or, would it work to rid me of my feelings towards him if I heard it from his own mouth that he doesn’t love me?

    I’ve tried to get over him without mentioning it him, but it’s not working, at least not yet. I suppose I should try praying more often that God would rid me of these feelings for him. Your advice please.

    By Anna | 3 years ago Reply
  8. I’ve heard there’s a difference between falling in love (something we can’t control) and loving someone (a choice we consciously make). In order to have a happy marriage, does each spouse have to “fall in love” with each other? What if only spouse A falls in love with spouse B and spouse B thinks of A as a best friend. They decide to marry, but spouse B never had those special feelings in the beginning of the relationship? Is that a recipe for disaster?

    By Emily | 3 years ago Reply
  9. Thanks Katie, those are helpful points!!

    By Harper | 3 years ago Reply
  10. Just stumbled upon this, what a great read.

    And reaffirms that, a few weeks back when I first told my girlfriend that I love her, it was true, it was real. Every action I have made, whether it was first getting her involved with our campus Newman Center, asking her to attend Mass (she was originally raised Catholic, but due to not being a fan of the local priest the family somewhat drifted away from it when she was young, but she still identifies as a Christian and a believer, so I guess it’s better then nothing), to attend conferences and retreats with me, is trying to make her a better person. Everything I am doing is for her, whether she always knows it or not.

    I think we are compatible in that we have similar interests for the most part, on the same level in terms of morals (drinking, sex, all that). She has flaws (she is Bad with a capital B at responding to me on anything, and can at times get anxious over the most minor things), but I can put up with it, because I know I can be a colossal PIA at times.

    She’s worth taking the time for her to grow in her faith for, she’s worth waiting for, she’s worth laying down the gift that is my life for. A few years back, I’d have been mad over things like only getting a card for Valentine’s Day after trying to make it extra-special for her (dinner and walk on the NYC waterfront), or that she wasn’t ready to say “the L word” back, but….in all honesty I am ok with it. As long as she’s happy and growing as an individual, then I am ok with how everything else plays out.

    Thanks again for this, reading this reaffirmed that everything I am feeling is real and true.

    By Ian Martin | 3 years ago Reply
  11. Okay, so, I am a Junior in Highschool, and the guy I like is a year younger than me and is a sophomore. We’ve both liked each other for about 2 years now, but have not pursued a relationship since we both know that we are too young to begin prepping for marriage (both of us are passionate Catholics and well versed in TOB). I know deep down that I love him, but I’m afraid to admit it to myself because I’m paranoid about ending up emotionally unchaste or hurt. Lately he has been inclined to hold my hand every now and again but I’m also afraid that if we begin developing the more romantic aspect of our relationship that it might not work out between us. Especially since he is a grade younger than me. It’s been weighing on my heart a lot, so I’m hoping someone on the chastity project would be able to help 😛 Thanks!

    By Gabrielle | 3 years ago Reply
  12. that’s true

    By emmanuel juma | 3 years ago Reply
  13. I have been dating a man who is not of the Catholic faith. In fact, he attacks my catholic faith. He is a Jehova Witness. I am not sure if I love him anymore. It has been a very hectic relationship from the start. First it was him who wasn’t sure and month by month he would find a reason to break up with me. Because I thought I loved him, I stayed around. Even when he broke all communication with me I prayed to God and always stated, if it is His will for that man to come back to my life and remain a part of it then he will. Everytime, he came back. Unfortunately, during our last break up he dated another girl. I found out about it and from that moment, I decided it was time to really try to move on. I met a wonderful man, who respects me and demonstrates he cares about me in a spiritual, physical and emotional way. We have been dating for about 2 months and my ex boyfriend decides to come back and tell me he doesn’t want to live a life knowing he missed out on the love of his life. He has asked me to forgive him for the way in which he has treated me all of this time and wants the opportunity to make up for it. I’m just not sure I want that. Reading this post made me wonder, do I really love him? Or am I just willing to justify all of the time I have invested in this relationship and give him the chance, not truly knowing if he’s sincere and if things will change?

    By Vanessa Casas | 3 years ago Reply
  14. This article is wonderful. I am happy to know that there still are God fearing people in the world

    By n.tek debrah | 3 years ago Reply
  15. Love it

    By n.tek debrah | 3 years ago Reply
  16. I’ve liked this guy since I first met him in 2012. I really like him but I don’t know why? To be honest he is not the cutest guy I have ever seen or known. He’s just amazing. He is a Catholic and we go to the same church. His sister is my best friend so she asked him if he liked me. He said that he did and that she could tell me that he did. So as soon as she found that out she called and told me. I was so happy but I so badly want him to tell me himself. All of our friends know that we like each other and want us to get together. The thing is neither of us are aloud to date and he’s a pretty quiet person. I want him to tell me but I don’t want it to ruin anything for when we are aloud to date and possibly get married. I love him so much I would do anything to get him to Heaven. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m so confused about the whole thing and I’m afraid of what will happen if we ever get together. What should I do?

    By Emily | 3 years ago Reply
  17. Liked reading it.
    Praying about someone whom I am inclined too.

    By Asmita | 3 years ago Reply
  18. it’s good

    By Ungee James Maxwell | 3 years ago Reply

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