How Do You Know if You Love Someone?

To anyone who’s good at reading into things, it can be easy to get caught up in the possibility of someone being interested in you. Whether they are or not, it’s not a far step over to sprout sentiments of your own that you may later discover to be misplanted.

How do you know if you are actually interested in someone? Or if you are just making up affection for the potential of a romance you’ve always dreamed of?

Marriage is not something to be flirting with or signing up for willy-nilly. It takes commitment and sacrifice, so here are 10 points to help determine if you have what it takes to remain true for better or for worse.

Degrees of interest vary so, from most flirtatious to deepest affection, you know you love someone when…

#10 — You look for them in a crowded room

Or just any room in general. You know you’ve taken interest in someone when you start wondering (and then hoping) that they will be where you’ll be when you’ll be there. When they say “make a wish” and that person is the first thing that comes to mind.

For whatever reason, they’ve caught your eye. You find them intriguing and want to get to know them better, to share another conversation, to have another laugh. Whatever it is, you want to see them again.

#9 — You want to stop saying goodbye to them

You know you’ve taken interest in someone when you start backtracking, reflecting on when you first saw them and moments when your paths crossed until a connection was finally made. Then, a small voice quietly begins hoping this is only the beginning.

“It’s been occurring to me / I’d like to hang out with you / For my whole life,” Taylor Swift sings in “Stay, Stay, Stay.” In other words, you never want to stop making memories with them.

#8 — You can’t experience anything without wishing they were there, too

You’ll start wondering what their perspective would be on whatever is before you. You’ll miss them at 2 in the afternoon when you’re busy (rather than 2 in the morning when you’re lonely). They will be the last person you think of at night.

You start hearing things, making connections, thinking people are commenting on a potential relationship between you and this person when really they mean something entirely different. Remember, you hear what you want to hear.

#7 — You’d choose them

In her book The Chaos of Stars, Kiersten White put it, “And I’d choose you, in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.”

This can look multiple different ways, from merely gravitating toward them in a room full of potential conversation partners to choosing to stay behind with them when everyone else continues on. Ultimately, you know you love someone when you would leave the entire world behind for them.

#6 — They are home to you

As E. Leventhal once put it, “She knew she loved him when ‘home’ went from being a place to being a person.” If you could go anywhere in the world right now, would you go to a “where” or to a “who?” Sometimes “home” has a heartbeat.

“Falling for him wasn’t falling at all. It was walking into a house and suddenly knowing you’re home.”

-r.i.d.

#5 — You see their flaws, brokenness, and innate depravity, and you still love them

When you aren’t scared of their demons and look over their broken fences at the flowers within. True affection will refuse to settle for the self-deprecating image they raise but push them to become the best they can be. Love that is present in light of knowledge is real love.

#4 — You give them the power to destroy you, but trust them not to

When you let them in on the insanity of your mind, on your thought process, not just the well-thought-through conclusion. When you let them in on who you really are. When you take off the face you maintain for the greater public.

#3 — You genuinely desire to serve them, to give to them

John 3:16 says God loved the world so much He gave. “When you love a person deeply,” author David Brooks noted in his book The Road to Character, “you want to serve them and earn their regard.”

When you truly love someone, you will sacrifice for them. You will put them before yourself, helping them even when the circumstances are not ideal, or when you’re struggling.

When the Bible speaks of love, it doesn’t measure it by how much you want to receive but by how much you are willing to give of yourself. You know you love someone when, at times, it terrifies you what you would do for them.

#2 — You can’t hate them for breaking your heart

…and you still love them with all the little pieces. “If this is love, I do not want it,” Tauriel said after losing Kili in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. “Why does it hurt so much?” She asked. “Because it was real,” she was told. Sometimes it’s not the butterflies that tell you you’re in love, but the pain.

#1 — You wish nothing but the best for them

The very essence of love is putting another before yourself, so you know you truly, deeply love someone when you’d give anything for their betterment, even your potential slice of the pie. As Julia Roberts once said, “You know it’s love when all you want is that person to be happy, even if you’re not part of their happiness.”

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