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 stretch to sprout your own sentiments that you may later discover to be misplanted.
How do you know if you are actually interested in someone? Or are you just making up feelings for the potential of the 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 eight points to help determine if you have what it takes to remain true for better and for worse.
Degrees of interest vary and add to one another so, from the most flirtatious to the deepest affection, you know you love someone when…
#8 — 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 and for how long you’ll be there.
You’ll 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.
You’ll catch yourself smiling when you’re with them, when you receive a message from them, and when a shared memory crosses your mind. In short, you enjoy their company— something you’ll find hard to leave and, if an opportunity presents itself, you’ll find ways to spend more time with them.
“My favorite part is where you walked into my life. You didn’t know me, yet something told you to walk a little more.”-Unknown
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.
#7 — You want to be with them
You’ll start wondering what their perspective would be on whatever is in front of you. “That’s how you know you love someone, I guess,” an unknown author once said. “When you can’t experience anything without wishing the other person were there to see it, too.”
You’ll miss them when you’re busy, not just when you’re lonely. They are quite possibly the first person you think of in the morning and the last person you think of at night. You’ll find your sleep to be simultaneously deeper and harder to slip into.
“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”-Dr. Seuss
You’ll 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.
You know you’re interested in someone when you begin to choose them. Room full of potential conversation partners? You’ll gravitate toward them. Everyone else continued on? You’ll wait for them. Whatever it is, you’ll find yourself preferring their company.
#6 — They are home to you
You know this person nearing the extent of “good friend” when you become something of an expert on them and their family and find yourself constantly tempted (at the very least) to relay newfound information. As a character from my favorite TV show put it, “His name is like your favorite word. That’s a bit more than a best friend.”
You’ll love their friends and their family and want to know just how many more beautiful people are connected to this someone. Then their friends will become your friends and you’ll feel something like a part of their family.
“Falling for him wasn’t falling at all. It was walking into a house and suddenly knowing you’re home.”-r.i.d.
You’ll find yourself familiar with them and relaxed when in their company, a place where you can let your guard down. Their presence alone will bring you comfort, assurance, and ease. You’ll take a deep breath and release the knots in your stomach because you know—this one—you can trust.
As E. Leventhal put it, “She knew she loved him when ‘home’ went from being a place to being a person.” When your safe haven becomes someone with whom you find quiet and peace, that’s a sign that there’s something more there.
And then your attraction to them will increase. Eye contact, inside jokes, physical touch, and excuses to spend more time together will occur a little too often and a little too long to be correctly labeled as the happenings of “just friends.”
#5 — You know just how messed up they are
You cannot say you truly love someone until you have looked into the black tar of their soul and returned unscathed. You must see their flaws, brokenness, and innate depravity and choose to love them anyway. Love that is present in light of knowledge is real love.
“This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.”-C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
You know your affections are true love when you aren’t scared of their insanity. When you can look over their broken fences and admire the flowers within. True affection will refuse to settle for the self-deprecating image they raise and push them to become the best they can be.
“She wasn’t afraid of my demons and I did not fear her madness. We saw beyond those things that life does to a person. And underneath it all there’s a beautiful soul that just wants to be loved.”-JmStorm
#4 — You let them know just how messed up you are
Love is trust. It’s giving someone the power to destroy you, but trusting them not to. It’s opening up about everything you are— the good, the bad, and the really, really ugly. Love is being transparent and real. It’s being honest, no matter how hard the truth is to swallow.
It’s letting them in on…
- The insanity of your mind
- Your thought process, not just the well-thought-through conclusion
- The you behind the public image you maintain
- The qualities you pretend not to possess
All of this and more because—if they truly love you as well—your darkness is not going to scare them away. They will return the same cultivating love you extended to them, acknowledging your sin patterns and failures but pushing beyond that.
You will be able to trust them with the things you hate about yourself, the character flaws that make you absolutely sick because they will give another perspective, point out a silver lining, and redirect your attention to what really matters.
#3 — You genuinely desire to serve them
One of the most popular verses in the Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave—” Stop there. He gave. God gave. Love gives.
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 you love a person deeply, you want to serve them and earn their regard.”-David Brooks, The Road to Character
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
It is impossible to have an intimate relationship and never get hurt. We are broken people living in a fallen world so inevitably one is going to let the other down (or both simultaneously).
Love is signing up to lose, maybe to death but most definitely in life. Affection will stray: to work, to pleasure, to a seemingly “better” individual. At times we will lose—or feel like we are losing—a significant other and it will hurt.
“Sometimes it’s not the butterflies that tell you you’re in love, but the pain.”-Unknown
If you choose to love, your heart will be broken…yet true love will still love with all the little pieces. Forgiveness will be requested and reconciliation will be sought because the relationship will matter more than ego.
True love is consistent resetting, returning, and recommitting to your sweetest friendship. As Jean Cook once said, “You can be attracted to a lot of different people, but you choose where to set your affection.” The love that will last is the one that goes through Hell and comes out stronger.
#1 — You wish nothing but the best for them
As the very essence of love is putting another before yourself, you know you truly, deeply love someone when you’d give up anything for their betterment, even what you could gain.
From pausing your favorite movie to hear about their day to genuinely wishing them the best in the relationship they replaced you with, you know it’s love when you give what you can give because you can give.
“You know it’s love when all you want is that person to be happy, even if you’re not part of their happiness.”-Julia Roberts
This is beautifully illustrated in the book The Giving Tree, a primarily pictorial account of the relationship between a tree and a little boy. The general gist is that the little boy consistently wants something and the tree gives up everything for him.
In much the same way, this is how Christ loves us: always giving good gifts, even when we (more often than not) are insolent toward Him or don’t understand how it is good. This is the character of Love Himself, so you know you truly love someone when you are living for their sake and not your own.