No theme is more popular in television and movies than LOVE. Soap operas are filled with “romantic love.” The subject of love is likewise the theme of most popular songs. We are bombarded with the idea, “Love is all that matters.”

In a secular magazine, a writer describes what most people think about romantic love:

Love is a mysterious visitation which comes out of nowhere and into the here and now and takes hold of you—just like the measles…. It is recognized intuitively…. If it’s the real thing, you won’t have to be told. You will know without asking.

Love is so important that you must give up everything else for it. A man is justified in giving up his wife for it, a woman is justified in abandoning her home and children for it, a king is justified in giving up his throne for it.

It may go as unexpectedly as it came, and there is nothing you can do about that either. It is not, in any way, subject to human control.”

(Paul Popenoe, “The Romantic Complex,” Family Life Magazine.)

This is NOT real love! This is an infatuation. Real love does not act that way. An infatuation does indeed go as unexpectedly as it comes and there is little you can do about it. But real love is unselfish, committed love. It hangs in there!

You may wonder why it is so important that you know the difference between real love and infatuation. The reason is this: Knowing the difference can keep you from making a lifelong mistake.

wedding couple

Each year millions of starry-eyed couples walk down the aisle and solemnly commit themselves to love each other for the rest of their lives. For some of these couples, marriage will turn out to be a beautiful experience. For others, it will be something to be endured. But for half of them, it will be a disaster. In a few short years, they will discover that they simply cannot stand living together.

What makes the difference? Some couples are basing their marriage on real love. Others are basing theirs on infatuation, which is false love. A marriage based on infatuation will not last.

Follow the clues

prospector thinking he has found real gold

During the time of the Gold Rush, many prospectors thought they had “struck it rich.” But they found out later to their dismay, that what they had discovered was not real gold at all, but a worthless mineral named pyrite. Pyrite looks like gold, but it has no value at all. It is called “fool’s gold.”

It is NOT easy to tell the difference between infatuation and real love. In his book, Sex, Love or Infatuation: How can I Know?, Dr. Ray Short gives some valuable clues which enable a person to test his romance and determine if it is the real gold of true love or the “fool’s gold” of infatuation.