Recently, someone posted on Facebook: “How do you know that you’re in love?”
I was intrigued by the myriad of answers all coming from different life experiences.
Mary, a former CatholicMatch member, shared how and when she knew she was in love: “For me, it was a gradual progression, not a lightning bolt instant. I took time to get to know him, including observing him amongst friends and family as well as meeting up in several places over the course of a period of time.”
More women in the discussion echoed the idea that there was a gradual progression: “There is no moment. Everyone is on a different schedule, so I wouldn’t worry.” Another contributor added, “Just go with the flow and someday it will hit you. I love him or I don’t love him.”
Other women had very different experiences. Some shared that their feelings were immediate and very real.
One woman shared this kind of experience with us: ”I knew after the first time I talked to him on the phone that he was something special. Can’t really explain it, but there was just something. I knew I was in love with him after we met the first time. After he went through security at the airport I was in bathroom crying and nearly sick because we were not sure when we would see each other again. A few hours later he called to tell me that he had gotten off his overbooked flight and was sitting in the Denver airport for 6 hours so I could have a free ticket to visit him. It was all over then I was hooked. It was pretty quick for both of us.”
Another married woman said, “We both knew we felt differently about one another than anyone else. And we would talk about how this was the easiest dating experience we had ever had. It seemed so right and natural for us to be together.”
Another woman posted some very sweet words about her marriage: “I realized he was the one I wanted to tell all the good stuff to and I wanted to be there for him. He proved himself worthy time after time.”
And our very own CatholicMatch member Marge-938695, made a comment that went straight to my heart: ”When I realized that his welfare was more important to me than anything I could think of.”
I think this resonated most with me because I’ve felt that powerful, selfless, generous feeling; and it is indeed a profound realization. As a Catholic, it goes back to the idea of sacrifice, and that all love ultimately leads us to the cross.
The thread took another turn, one that I found interesting. One woman said: “I’ve always been one to over think this subject.” She later reflected on the danger of mistaking true love from the idea of falling in love. I think that’s a very real, relevant danger.
Another woman posted a quote from her friend: “Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.”
I think this really gets to the heart of the issue: that we want so much to be in love for its own sake that our hopeful optimism may lead us on the path to a particular kind of victimhood. But in the end, some women thought that the optimism ultimately paid off once they met “the one.”
Our wonderful Mary summed up the discussion with some very wise words: “Remember that love isn’t just feeling it is also a choice. There are definitely days that have to choose to love my husband because those warm mushy feelings just aren’t there. There are also times that I look at him and my heart skips a beat. I like those times lots!”
I think there are some very deep truths in all of these women’s thoughts, and are applicable to men as well. Hopefully, we can keep these things in mind as we navigate this often confusing journey in our search for love.