I’m sorry. I feel like you’ve gotten a bad rap. I BLAME 13-YEAR-OLDS. AND CHICK FLICKS. AND TEENAGERS IN GENERAL.
But infatuation, frankly, I THINK YOU’RE AMAZING. You are pretty much one of the best things EVER with your butterfly-inducting, heart-racing, knee-weakening moments. You make the start of relationships TANTALIZING, EARTH-MOVING and all-around OVERWHELMINGLY EXCITING. But yes, yes, before the Greek chorus chimes in, you can be just a smidgen BLINDING. As in, “I-LOVE-THIS-PERSON-WITH-ALL-MY-HEART-THAT-I’VE-ONLY-KNOWN-TWO-HOURS” blinding (also known as the “Romeo and Juliet syndrome).
And really, we’ve all known CRAZY ANNOYING people who are so infatuated that they can’t see the GLARING AMOUNT of flags. “Can’t you see that?!? You can’t even MOVE, there’s so many dang flags!” I don’t want to be that person, and I’m guessing neither do you.
So my dear, delightful, infatuation, I’ve come up with five ways to know if you can be welcomed in or should be turned away at the doorstep. After all, infatuation is a FANTASTIC gift that should be ENJOYED and even DELIGHTED IN. But it’s the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. Join me on this journey (I feel like I just introduced a PBS special, weird). And we’re off:
NO. 1: DOES THIS PERSON TRULY LOVE GOD?
- If the answer to this question is a negative, then as a Christian, no amount of infatuation makes this situation OK. And I’m not defining loving God as someone who goes to church a few times a year. I’m talking about someone who has submitted to following God to the extent that it is his or her life. Living as a Christian is difficult enough. MARRIAGE is difficult enough. If you’re going to do both with someone, it needs to be a person who is SURRENDERED to God. And doesn’t that sort of certainty allow you to trust the one you are infatuated with all the more? Because then you can know the reactions of your ABSOLUTELY PERFECT significant other will not just be based on how he or she feels about you, but on your special someone striving to be obedient to Christ. There’s HUGE AND HUGER amounts of confidence in that.
NO. 2: WHY AM I INFATUATED WITH THIS INDIVIDUAL?
- Now infatuation, I’m not trying to RUIN YOU with practicality. Most of what you embody and elicit is, from what I’ve gathered, biological. YOU ARE A DRUG, INFATUATION (and a delightful, legal one, at that). But I am a firm believer that there can be practical reasons to let good ol’ infatuation DRUG YOU (insert smile). These reasons may occur as you get to know a person of the opposite sex on a deeper emotional level, which often–what a surprise–ends in FULL-BLOWN INFATUATION. Or, you may have pursued your significant other BECAUSE you were initially infatuated, which is completely acceptable (and fairly common). However, why do you like this person? AND THE ANSWER CAN’T BE BECAUSE OF YOUR FEELINGS. Judges rule: THAT IS STUPID. No matter how strong and unchangeable your feelings may seem, I have news for you: YOUR FEELINGS WILL CHANGE, and maybe just because you’re tired or hungry. Remember, you will spend an awful lot of time with anyone you date–and DEFINITELY anyone you marry. So if you two have nothing in common, don’t make each other laugh and generally-speaking could kill each other at any moment because you are both just “PASSIONATE PEOPLE,” I have one thing to say to you: GET OUT NOW. If you can’t be great friends with the person you are infatuated with, there’s no point in continuing. Wonderous infatuation can only be SUPPLEMENTAL to your relationship. Not ESSENTIAL.
NO. 3: WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY THINK?
- No, I’m not saying you should throw the person you are infatuated with in front of your family on your first date. THAT IS A TERRIBLE IDEA; PLEASE DO NOT DO THAT. But frankly, even the most rational of people can be blinded into a “THIS IS THE ONE PERSON IN THE UNIVERSE FOR ME” attitude when dear ol’ infatuation is in play. If your family and friends don’t like the person you are becoming since you’ve gotten involved with PERFECT-IN-MY-EYES person (or they just don’t like the person, period), then you should probably take a a step back and ask yourself what they are seeing that you aren’t. These people love you and know you better than you know yourself. Plus, they aren’t infatuated with your SPECIAL SOMEONE, so they’ve got no reason to gloss over issues. So swallow your stupid “THIS IS THE ONE” comments and listen wisely to the advice of loved ones. I mean, REALLY, that’s HALF OF THE BOOK OF PROVERBS.
NO. 4: DOES YOUR LIFE REVOLVE AROUND THE PERSON YOU’RE INFATUATED WITH?
- Let’s be real. If you can’t survive five milliseconds without the object of your infatuation, YOU NEED TO CHANGE SOMETHING. I get it. I REALLLLLYYYY do. You feel like all you want to do is bask in the presence of your significant other. You simply CANNOT GET ENOUGH of him or her. You want EVERY WAKING MOMENT to be spent with the object of your affection. We’ve all been there. But you can’t build your life around someone. That’s called CO-DEPENDENCY, and it is a VERY BAD THING. Sure, as you date someone, you need to incorporate that person into your life. But there’s a line, folks. And that line is crossed when you start neglecting (or wholeheartedly ABANDONING) your duties, responsibilities, family and friends, and service to others. Dear ol’ infatuation can’t CONSUME you. Remember, it can only be the icing on the cake, not the cake itself.
NO. 5: IS YOUR INFATUATION TURNING TO LUST?
- Just like with anything, it’s probably best to not overindulge. That is partly because DWELLING FOREVERMORE on your significant other can lead to you living in FAIRYLAND and neglecting the call to serve in your daily life (see NO. 4). But that’s also because infatuation can very easily turn to lust. I totally understand that you want to reread everything THE BOY has texted you, and that you want to think about the next time you’ll be together, etc., etc., BLAH BLAH BLAH. If infatuation is consuming your thoughts, though, or if you’re allowing it to work yourself into a frenzy–yes, even an EMOTIONAL frenzy–then you’re teetering on the brink of lust, if you haven’t already crossed it. Dear friend, it’s not worth it. Besides the whole possibility of sin, it can also lead to an EVEN-MORE-THAN-NORMAL-INFATUATION-INDUCED-IDEALIZED-VERSION of the person you’re dating. And nobody, not even your ABSOLUTELY PERFECT significant other, likes to be on the receiving end of unrealistic expectations. Plus, that’s time you could be spending praying for others, pursuing a hobby or serving others. If you feel you MUST THINK about THE BOY (or THE GIRL), I recommend setting a time limit of a few minutes (no really, I’m COMPLETELY serious). Once that time is up, go on your merry way of glorifying God as you choose to not overindulge in NOT-REAL-LIFE world.
So there you have it. All the questions you need to be asking when dear ol’ infatuation comes knocking at your door. I’m of the opinion that you can feel free to entertain this fine friend, but only if you’ve HONESTLY CONSIDERED these questions, and the answers are not “IT DOESN’T MATTER; I LOVE THIS PERSON.” If you have actual reasonable answers, you’ll be welcoming what I like to call MOSTLY RATIONAL INFATUATION. Sure, it’s still slightly biased and overwhelmingly full of feelings. But such infatuation is also tempered with WISDOM. And that’s something none of us can afford to skimp on.
Oh hey there, MOSTLY RATIONAL INFATUATION, come on in! I know you’ve gotten a bad rap, but I think you’re swell. No really, I do! I’m more than delighted to entertain you. And true, I may FEEL like a 13-year-old with you around, but I’m not thinking like one. I may, however, act like one as I hide my face when THE BOY compliments me.
Disclaimer: The author writes this assuming that infatuation is only able to be indulged within the confines of two unattached people. Anything else is no bueno. Also, she’s speaking from experience with THE BOY (WHAT THE WHATTTT), so she knows (at least in part) what she’s talking about.