Do you remember the first time you gave any serious thought to the meaning of love? As a youngster you may have carved entwined hearts on a tree or scrawled them on a notebook. For many of you, the words “I love you” flowed easily during high school dating experiences, but for others the sentiment was unspoken or virtually unknown.
We can remember as teenagers talking about love with our peers and wondering how we would know when it happened. At times we felt certain that what we were feeling was love—only to decided, in light of the broken romance, that it was just “infatuation.” Occasional discussion with adults elicited a series of homilies about not letting the heart rule the head. A married cousin, perhaps speaking from experience, advised, “Never date anyone you wouldn’t consider marrying.”
The point was clear: one might fall in love with someone with whom marriage was inappropriate. Parental words of wisdom ranged from “It’s as easy to fall in love with a rich person as a poor one” to “Don’t worry about it. When love hits, you’ll know it.” None of this advice seemed very helpful. Even so, we all knew that whatever love was, it was very serious (Hinkle, 2001).
Popular songs, films, and novels were just as confusing. Literature classes exposed us to the peculiarities of love as experienced, for example, by Dante and Beatrice—the love that inspired Dante’s Divine Comedy. As a child, Dante saw Beatrice once and never recovered from the passion he felt. He married someone else and had seven children, but in his poems he mentions only Beatrice.
A. What is love and infatuation? How does it differ from each other?
Every individual desires to have his/her own partner in life; thus, desires to be loved and to loved. This is the reason why young people and older ones indulge in courtship to seek love and find a potential partner for marriage. This motivates everyone to watch romantic movies and read novels that show two people who are head-over-heels in love with each other. But are they really experiencing the true meaning of love or is it just an infatuation?
Many young people thought that it is already love when the time they feel something for the opposite sex but most often, it is just an infatuation. So how can a person know that what he/she feels is love or just an infatuation? Love is basically giving your all in all unselfishly. The best description of love can be found in the Bible on 1st Corinthians 13: 4-8):
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”
This would simply mean that love is not based on feelings but based on decision and commitment. Loving someone who has many flaws is a decision to make. Love is the all-purpose cure, covering all wrongs. It is worth searching for. It should be expressed openly. When you really love someone, you accept him for who he is regardless of his past. You do not only accept him because of his strengths and his personality but as a whole that includes his totality as a person. Moreover, love is wondrous state, deep, tender and reassuring. Because of its intimate and personal nature it is regarded by some as an improper topic for experimental research (Harlow, 2003).
On the other hand, infatuation is the opposite of love. The true concept of love is misinterpreted. This is usually happening to the young ones who are very emotional due to their being young. Young people are mostly motivated by emotions; thus, they make decisions very quickly without logic but by feelings alone. They thought that the excessive passion they feel for the opposite sex is already love but it is not and basically just an infatuation.
Infatuation is an excessive passion for the other person. Its ground is how the person feels for the opposite sex basically does not involve logic, decision and commitment because when he discovers some flaws and weaknesses, he immediately get discourage for that person. That is why we sometimes hear the line “I am falling out of love” for those people who are just infatuated.
Infatuation can be viewed as a temporary, aroused sate that we cognitively labels as love. The strong affection of companionate love, which often emerges as a relationship matures, is enhanced by an equitable relationship and by intimate self-disclosure.
True love sustains the marriage. No matter how life difficult is, the two people who are committed and bind with love can survive the storms of their relationship. Moreover, love is based on a decision and commitment. It accepts the flaws of other’s behalf. Love can cover multitudes of wrongs and easily forgives. In establishing a relationship, love is very important and significant because if there is no love, the relationship cannot continue. While infatuation is based on feelings; thus, it fluctuates when it sees mistakes and flaws.
It does not endure hardships. You can love the person now and the next day, you may not feel loving him anymore; thus, the special feelings you have for your partner is just based on “emotions” which is usually called as “infatuation.” Young individuals must not rush in making decisions in getting married but must think million times. Therefore, infatuation is a counterfeit of love.
Harlow, Harry (2003). “The nature of Love.” American Psychologist 13:673-685.
Hinkle, Dennis E., & Sporakowski Michael J. (2001). Attitudes toward Love: A Reexamination.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 37: 764-767.
Love. 1st Corinthians 13: 4-8. The Student Bible. New International Version.