Dear Grihastha Coach,
I have a question that I hope you will be able to answer. How does a person know if their feelings are love? You wrote before about infatuation, my question is specifically about love.
Wants to know
Your inquiry, “How do I know it’s love?” is relevant to many. Let’s examine this issue of love in our relationships. The foundation for understanding the principle of love is to realize that Krsna, God, is Love Personified. When we experience genuine love, we are experiencing in essence, the substance of God. Therefore, real love can never be disconnected from God.
Here are some general truths about love: When it’s love we feel better about ourselves; we feel lovable and capable, validated and worthwhile. When we are loved, we feel safe. In a relationship therefore, if we are feeling unsafe, it is probably not true love.
And because love — especially in a marriage or premarital relationship, should be reciprocal—each person in a relationship should feel loved and worthwhile. If it’s not reciprocal, mutually beneficial, then it’s like the old song says: “I found love on a two way street—but lost it on a lonely highway”
Take the mini test below if you are in a relationship—either married or premarital:
- Do you feel that you can trust or depend on your spouse/mate?
- Do you feel that your spouse can trust or depend on you?
- Are you good friends?
- Do you feel you would die without your spouse/mate?
- Is your spouse/mate the only person who can make you happy?
- Are most of the problems in your relationship due to the unreasonableness or lack of understanding of your spouse?
- Are you honest with your spouse?
- Is your spouse honest with you?
- Do you talk openly and honestly about your feelings and your concerns?
- Do you forgive mistakes?
- Does your spouse forgive mistakes?
- Are you afraid of your spouse?
- Is your spouse afraid of you?
- Does your spouse ever abandon you in an unsafe place or situation?
- Do you ever abandon your spouse in an unsafe place or situation?
- Do you ever humiliate your spouse/mate?
- Does your spouse ever humiliate you?
- Do you express anger in healthy ways?
- Do you feel that you have to constantly prove your love?
- Does either of you touch each other in ways that are uncomfortable?
Marriage and Family Educators and other family professionals have found that Love is demonstrated when you can answer yes to #s 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 18. AND, when you can answer no to 4, 5, 6, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20.
We must add a very important question to this list which has so much to do with creating and maintaining a lasting, healthy relationship: Is there a spiritual or principle-based foundation that you both agree on? Do you both acknowledge and practice a God-conscious lifestyle? The answer to this should be a resounding, Yes!
No matter who or where you are, genuine loving relationships are characterized by healthy communication, honesty, respect, friendship, trust, forgiveness, appreciation and compassion.
Hope this sheds some light on your question.
Your Grihastha Coach