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What does the Bible say about falling in love?


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falling in love
Question: "What does the Bible say about falling in love?"

To “fall in love” is to become enamored with someone or to begin to feel love for him or her. Falling in love is an expression describing one’s emotional state when the happy feelings of what’s assumed to be love start to grip the soul. The Bible does not speak of falling in love, but it does have much to say about love.

The Bible presents love not as an emotion but as an act of the will. We choose to love; that is, we commit ourselves to act in the best interests of another person. The idea of “falling in love” relies on warm emotions, fuzzy feelings, and (more than likely) surging hormones; the biblical view of love is that love can exist apart from feelings; no hormones are needed to obey the command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (James 2:8).

Of course, nice emotions often accompany love, and we naturally have warm feelings toward someone we’re attracted to. And of course it’s good and proper to have fuzzy feelings and surging hormones when in the company of one’s spouse. But if that’s all there is to “falling in love,” then we’re in trouble. What happens when the fuzzy feelings fall away? What about when the hormones stop surging? Have we fallen “out” of love?

Love should never be seen as dependent on feelings or expediency or romantic attraction. The “falling in love” concept places undue emphasis on the emotional condition of those involved. The wording of the phrase almost makes it sound as if love were an accident: “I can’t help falling in love with you” makes a nice song lyric, but, in real life, we are responsible to control our emotions. Many marriages have been ended (and many foolishly begun) because someone “fell in love” with the wrong person. God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), no matter how hard someone “fell in love” with another man or woman.

Love is not a state that we stumble into; it’s a commitment that we grow into. Part of the trouble with the idea of “falling in love” is the world’s twisting of what love means. It would often be more accurate to say that those who “fall in love” actually “fall in lust” or “fall into infatuation” or “fall into co-dependency.” Love is a divine gift that we can “eagerly desire”; love is “the most excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31). “Love is patient, love is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4), and we don’t “fall into” patience or kindness. The more we grow into love, the more giving and others-focused we will become (see John 3:16 and 1 John 4:10).

Falling in love is a lovely phrase, and it conjures up enjoyable feelings of having entered an ideal romance. Such feelings are fine, in and of themselves, and it’s possible that those who are falling in love have indeed found a perfect match. But we must always remember that love is more than emotional involvement based on physical attraction. Those who are “falling in love” are sometimes blinded to the reality of their situation and can easily mistake the intensity of their emotions for genuine love. The bride in the Song of Solomon speaks of the permanence of true love as she exhorts her husband: “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm” (Song of Solomon 8:6). In other words, “Pledge to me all of your emotion (your heart) and all of your strength (your arm).”

Recommended Resource: Get Lost: Your Guide to Finding True Love by Dannah Gresh

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What does the Bible say about falling in love?

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