When I was high school, I remember having a “crush” on a girl. She was a cheerleader (from an opposing team) whom I met after a football game we had just played. I was all grubby and muddy in my uniform and as I was walking off the field she came up to me and told me what a great game I had played. We had mutual friends that went to her church and just seemed to have a lot in common, including our faith. She got my attention; she was so cute and she was talking with me! Now, I was not a shaker and mover when it came to women, but I also wasn’t stupid. I got her number and told her I would call her so we could “finish our conversation.” Not bad, heh?
She was all I could think about; I couldn’t eat, sleep, and time seemed to stand still until we could talk again on the phone. (Yes, we did have phones in my day, but they were attached to the wall.) Man, I was in love! It was a match made in heaven! I found my “soul mate!” OK all you counselors out there; was it love? It was real, but it was really a classic case of infatuation or what I call “luv” (pronounced “loove,” that’s what the word sounds like in country and western songs). It was a neurological condition that was totally involuntary (BLAM), difficult to control, and temporary. I will spare you the details of how things played out, although I bet you are dying to hear. Suffice it to say it did not last. Thank God that we have not been made to sustain that level of luv for very long because the whole world would grind to a halt, everyone would starve, and no one would be able to sleep.
My brain would not allow me to process any information other than trying figure out how I could be with her and how I could keep other guys away from her. When the fog of luv lifted, my brain was able to evaluate her as a person (and vice versa) and to see who she really was. I often hear people say after a break up, “S/He wasn’t the girl/guy I thought they were.” Those are the words are true and spoken either when you come out of denial or out of the coma of luv.
Gary Thomas in his terrific book “The Sacred Search” says that the nature of infatuation is the very reason we need to wait (he says at least two years) to get to know someone before we marry them. We need to overcome the desire to look for a “soul mate” by a search for a “sole mate.” He says, “A sole mate is someone who walks out with us (the “sole” of a shoe) the biblical command to seek first the kingdom of God. This is all about the shoe-leather application of biblical love… This isn’t a love based on feelings; it’s based on sacrifice (John 15:13). The Bible calls men to act like martyrs toward their wives, laying down their own lives on their wives’ behalf (Eph 5:25). Titus says that older women should train younger women how to love their husbands (Titus 2:4)… Martyrdom on behalf of your wife? Being trained… to love your husband? These passages alone are enough to tell us that within marriage, love is not an emotion; it’s a policy and a commitment that we choose to keep in the harshest of circumstances.”
Using an image borrowed from CS Lewis: luv may be the explosion that starts the engine of marriage, but biblical love is the fuel that keeps the marriage running so that it accomplishes something for the Kingdom of God.