The world today places a lot of expectations on what it means to fall in love. Pop culture paints a bubbly, sugary picture of romantic love in movies, books, and songs. With so many depictions and definitions of "falling in love," it might be hard to know if there's any truth or validity to whatever you're feeling in the first place. Is it really love? Or is it something else?
That phrase is a little weird too..."falling" in love sounds like love is an accident. But in the way the Bible speaks of love, we find that love is a choice. The Bible doesn't explicitly mention "falling in love," but we can learn a LOT about what true love is, what it looks like IRL, and how we can express love in a healthy way.
This is probably the most important thing to know about love. Love is not a feeling; love is a choice. We choose to love our neighbor as ourselves (James 2:8). That means that, regardless of our feelings, we can still choose to show love through kindness, service, and compassion.
The world's idea of “falling in love” is based on strong feelings, deep emotions, and, yeah, our hormonal response to someone we find attractive too. There's nothing inherently wrong with having those feelings or experiencing attraction to someone else. But it isn't love. Rightly stated, we might say that “falling in love” is more like “falling into lust.” What the world sees as "falling in love" is less like true love and more like the flash of emotions and adrenaline you get when you have an intense crush on someone.
Colossians 3:12-14 says, "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony" [emphasis added]. Did you notice that? Put on compassion, kindness, humility, forgiveness, love... Not all those things come naturally to us all the time, right? So we choose to "put them on." Love is a series of choices we make about how we treat another person.
If all we rely upon in our relationships are our emotions, then we're going to be disappointed pretty quickly. Rushes of emotion, fuzzy feelings, and even physical attraction can come and go. Sometimes those same feelings never come back. If you've been in a relationship with someone for a long time, then you'll find more and more that being loving HAS to be a conscious decision we make every day.
Poetry and songs about love are beautiful and wistful and can give us a surge of hope and desire. And there's nothing wrong with good feelings like that. What we need to remember though is that feelings are fleeting and will fade over time. Hormonal passion subsides when the moment has passed. When we choose to love someone, then we take on the responsibility of treating them in a loving way despite feelings and emotions.
We shouldn't let our feelings dominate our courses of action. Our choice to love should not be based on feelings or physical desires, but rather a commitment to make that person as important in your heart as yourself. 1 Peter 4:8 tells us that "above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins."
Over and over, the Bible tells that love is a choice and a commitment. Love is choosing to make peace—even if you're really angry. Love is choosing to forgive—even when you want to hold a grudge. Love is choosing to be patient—even when they're taking forever to put on their shoes.
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." —1 Corinthians 13:4-7
The Bible's greatest example of love is the sacrificial love God showed us by sending Jesus to die for our sins (John 3:16). Jesus taught that sacrificial love is the epitome of love when He said, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
God’s love is perfect, and it will never change. He doesn’t love us one day, then toss us aside when we have, once again, sinned against Him. Romans 5:8 tells us that "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." 1 John 4:10 says, "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." Praise the Lord that God's love is unconditional!
God chooses to love us despite our sin. We can choose to love despite our frustrations, emotions, or sinful tendencies. The Bible calls the choice to love the “most excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31b). May we all choose to show love first and wrap every decision we make in the choice to love (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
The Bible doesn't explicitly mention "falling in love," but we can learn a LOT about what true love is, what it looks like IRL, and how we can express love in a healthy way (1 Corinthians 13:1-13). The world's idea of “falling in love” is based on strong feelings, deep emotions, and, yeah, our hormonal response to someone we find attractive. There's nothing inherently wrong with having those feelings or experiencing attraction to someone else. But it isn't love. The Bible tells us that love is a choice to honor the other person as much as ourselves. In marriage, love is a choice and a commitment. The truest love is unconditional and sacrificial (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). There’s no greater love than the love of Jesus.
Vivian loves learning, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She is dedicated to helping people learn more about Jesus and is ready to help in any way she can. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, cooking, drawing, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, you can find her soaking up the sunshine or going on an adventure.
Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, four socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.