Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's difficult to fall in love with someone you don't trust.

Have you ever known couples who fell in love and married in a very short amount of time? Months? Weeks??? I have heard of some, curiously all Christian, which seems bizarre considering the Christian stance on divorce. But these couples seem to make it work somehow. How do we explain this phenomenon?

My guess is they get to really know one another very quickly, because they already know what to expect from a true Christian. I realized something, a reason why I am hesitant to say that I love a girl too soon, despite extreme feelings of affection for her: trust. I have always said that love is selfless, that if you can't put them above yourself, then your affectionate feelings are selfish. If it's about how they make you feel, then it's not love. It's infatuation. It's not necessarily a bad thing understand. It's part of the process of falling in love for most of us, because we are programmed (by society) to look out for number one. But as you grow in your relationship with that special person, you start to realize that the "whole you" (which includes that other person) is actually more important to you and you naturally start to put them first.

Here is the first explanation of Christians falling in love very quickly. Christians who have been able to genuinely practice putting themselves last all of their lives are more able to put their significant other first more quickly because they don't need to make that transformation from me to we. They never think if themselves first and as a consequence they are able to very quicky demonstrate their faith to the person they are interested in.

Another reason why they fall in love so quickly is regarding trust, or at trust's root, knowledge about the other person. It's difficult to fall in love with someone you don't know... or know to trust. So how do you know that you can trust them? Generally time is the only answer, but... if you are a particularly strong Christian, and you find yourself attracted to another particularly strong Christian, you might be a candidate for finding love quickly.

What I really think I understand now about these Christians who fall in love so quickly, and the reason why in the past I would take time to fall in love (a couple of months, maybe 3 or 4), is that I didn't quite trust them. Why not? Because we were both a bit too worldly. Because they were worldly, I was unfamiliar with their beliefs. I had to learn about them first to determine how much of my beliefs I would have to compromise to be with them. Some girls made me realize that I would have to compromise too much. Other girls made me regret doubting their faith. They fell in love far quicker than I and my reticence left them disappointed. By the time I'd caught up, it was too late.

Now I see that it should be easier as a strong Christian, not more difficult. Christians have a specific set of core beliefs that make us who we are. If you are a strong Christian falling for another strong Christian, finding that trust should be easier because we know what to expect. Finding trust with a worldly person is more difficult because you don't know what they believe in. There are so many belief systems, many of them incompatible. You have to learn more about that person and really examine how compatible your beliefs are. If you don't strongly subscribe to and understand an established belief system, like Christianity, you will always find it difficult to trust another person you date because you will never know what to expect from them*. If you don't have any obvious common ground with the person you are interested in, you have to learn a lot about them first. You have to learn what beliefs they subscribe to. But if you are, say, a Christian, all you have to do is learn how strong of a Christian they are. Find out if you are both at the same point in your development as a Christian.

Sure, it's not 100% automatic. You'll always need to learn about people you date, and even strong Christians differ on many core beliefs. But knowing that you share a majority of your core beliefs from the start gives you a sense of security that you cannot have with anyone else. You don't have to be so protective. You don't have to focus so much time learning about each others' core beliefs. You can spend more time learning about the other things that make each of us unique and attractive.

Many Christians doubt other people A LOT. Comes with the territory. But amongst the Christians that we trust, we can put real faith in each other. All you have to do is prove to each other that you are a strong Christian, and you will automatically know a lot about each other, especially your beliefs. So if you are a traditional strong Christian interested in another person, all you have to do is find out if they truly aim to embody Christ's love in the world. Once you do that, as long as there is chemistry between the two of you, love will surely bloom. True love. Unfailing love.

*The world's answer to this problem is to create a blanket "acceptance" of all belief systems and to not intrude, force your beliefs on them, and not meet in the middle. Curiously this "open mind" actually encourages closed mindedness because we aren't "supposed to" challenge one another's beliefs. Progress is slow without challenge. Christians challenge each other's beliefs all the time. It kind of defines us. We try to become better through Christ every day. We can only achieve that by listening to advice from other Christians.

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