What's the difference between love and infatuation?
The following are some cliff notes I took from a series by Chip Ingram on love, sex, and lasting relationships. Love, biblically, is three different things (eros, phileo, & agape). But the fundamental aspect of love is a commitment and choice. Infatuation is a strong, passionate feeling that comes from chemistry. In fact, one scientist is quoted after research has shown, that after passionate attraction occurs a chemical substance called phenyl ethylamine is released in the brain, causing feelings of elation with excitement along with a physical sensation such as light-headedness and a sense of being short of breath. So what we need to understand is that when we are infatuated or attracted, those chemicals start bubbling inside our heads and bodies and it isn't an illusion but they're real.
But unfortunately, they also cause about a 30 or 40 point decrease in peoples IQs too. And this is why we must take an account of times when we can know if we're walking in love or staying in infatuation. The following is a write-up to allow us to let the Holy Spirit to illuminate our relationships and help us determine where we are when it comes to love verse infatuation. It's my prayer that as people read the following that they will consider their own lives and allow God to test them on how they are doing relationships. God bless!
1.) Time - Love: All love relationship growth comes thru time.
Infatuation: All infatuation connections happen at the drop of a hat.
2. Knowledge - Love: All love comes out of a complete appraisal of the known characteristics of a person
Infatuation: Infatuations may arise out of acquaintance with one or a few of these characteristics. In other words, you can know next to nothing about someone and think they are the next best thing so sliced bread.
3. Focus - Love: This type of trait is other person centered, outgoing, and results in sharing. When you love someone you seek to help them, encourage them, etc.
Infatuation: These type of relationships are self-focused thoughts and continually revolve around "me, myself, and I."
4. Singularity - Love: Genuine love is centered on just one person.
Infatuation: People in infatuation are usually interested in more than one person and their interests are divided.
5. Security - Love: A person in love tends to have a sense of security or feeling of trust after considering every thing involved in the relationship with the other individual. In other words, there is a loyalty or safety within the relationship.
Infatuation: An infatuated individual has a tendency to have a blind sense of security based on wishful thinking. He or she may have a sense of insecurity that may be expressed by envy or jealousy.
6. Work - Love: A person in loves works for the other person for their mutual benefit. He or she may study to cause the other to be proud of them. Their ambitions are spurred on and they plan and save for the future. He or she may day dream, but they are dreams God has planted in their hearts.
Infatuation: He or she may lose their ambition, appetite, interests, or affairs of every day life. He or she may dwell on their own negativity. They often day dream but the dreams are sometimes not limited or attainable. Their dreams are substitutes for reality and they often live fictional lives.
7. Problem-Solving - Love: A couple in love faces problems frankly and attempts to solve them. If they are barriers to them getting married, these barriers are approached intelligently and removed. And such are the ones that cannot be removed, they are circumvented but with the knowledge that they are deliberately doing it. In other words: People who are in love that have different family backgrounds, Christian experiences, financial situations, life visions, number of children they desire, etc. put everything on the table and ask if they can work thru all the different circumstances that make it hard.
Infatuation: When people are infatuated it seems like the odds are stacked against them with these details and they forge ahead blindly without doing the difficult work of counting the cost.
8. Distance - Love: These individuals keep commitment despite separation.
Infatuation: Their commitment often varies with the distance between them. When a person is truly in love, absence seems to make the heart grow fonder. But with infatuation, it's kind of like the relationship is out of sight out of mind.
9. Physical Attraction Involvement - Love: When a person is in love physical attraction actually means something. This typically represents new physical interactions according to what level the commitment of the relationship is at.
Infatuation: A person just wants to get as close to the other person as they can. It's what seems to drive the relationship. In infatuated relationships, physical interactions seem to be an end to themselves. It represents a pleasurable experience but is often void of meaning. Infatuation causes people to use others physically for their own pleasure.
10. Expression of Affection - Love: These outward signs typically come later in the relationship. In other words: There is time that goes by where a person wants to get to know another before showing affection. \
Infatuation: People in infatuation express affection early and usually at the very beginning of the connection.
11. Stability - Love: These people tend to endure in their relationships.
Infatuation: These individuals may change suddenly and often carry an air of unpredictability.
12. Delayed Gratification - Love: A couple in love are not indifferent to the effects of postponement to their wedding and they do not prolong the period of postponement unless they sense it wise to wait an appropriate time. They don't feel an irresistible drive toward haste.
Infatuation: They disregard all roadblocks such as premarital counseling, parental assistance, etc. Infatuated couples see postponement as intolerable and they interpret it as deprivation rather than preparation.