Tests of Love, Part 2
Your heart beats faster whenever this person appears. But is it love? Chip Ingram, author of Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships, continues to share some sound advice for testing the quality of your love.
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Your heart beats faster whenever this person appears. But is it love? Chip Ingram, author of Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships, continues to share some sound advice for testing the quality of your love.
Your heart beats faster whenever this person appears. But is it love?
Tests of Love, Part 2
Bob: When Chip Ingram was a young man, he was very confused. Here is Chip.
Chip: I was just graduated from college, 21, playing on an overseas basketball team; and we played a game. Afterwards, I meet a missionary, and his daughter is there. We ended up going for a picnic; and I mean it was like, “This is it! This is it. This is amazing.”
The guys are starting to tease me until we get to Santiago, Chile. We get to Santiago, Chile—do I need to go on? Santiago was number four, Argentina was number five, and it was like—I literally had the infatuation experience with five different girls in about six weeks in six different countries. I didn't know anything whatsoever about being in love; but if you think that is love, you can get yourself in trouble in a hurry.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, February 9th. Our host is the president of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. So, just how did Chip Ingram stay out of trouble, and how did he figure out which is the real thing? We’ll find out today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. I kept having this story from the Bible running through my mind as we have been talking to Chip Ingram this week about love, infatuation, and all of that.
It's the story of Samson, Chapter 14 of Judges. I'll never forget the first time I read this. Samson went down to Timnah. He saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines. He came back; and he told his father and mother, “I saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines. Now, therefore, go and get her for me as a wife.” The father and mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your relatives, among all of our people that you can take for a wife—but from the uncircumcised Philistines?” Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she looks good to me.” (Laughter)
I thought, “Is that an adolescent boy right there or what?”
Dennis: It is. It is.
Bob: That is somebody who needs Chip Ingram's “Tests of Love” to see whether it's infatuation or whether it's the real thing, baby; you know?
Dennis: I agree. I like what Chuck Swindoll says, “Samson was a he-man with a she-weakness.” (Laughter) We've all known a few of those—if we haven't been one ourselves.
Chip Ingram does join us, and we've kind of called the singles to attention—
Bob: Yes, we have.
Dennis: —here on FamilyLife Today. In fact, let me read a letter from a single, young lady. It says, “My name is Ashley. I'm 18 years old. I listen to your program every day. I started praying years ago that God would send me someone with specific qualities. Last year, I believe I met him. I always listen to your broadcast in hoping that I will be a great mom and wife one day. I know I'm young, but even now, I try my hardest to love my boyfriend as well as I can. I often pray and ask God for help; and I ask Him, ‘How can I love my boyfriend today?’
“Your broadcasts give me much insight, and I love listening. Thanks for reaching out to families in America. My family life is not that great, and I often feel completely unaware of what a good Christian mother is. When I hear loving, Christian mothers speak on your program, I feel my heart being filled with ways to be a loving mother and wife.”
Dennis: “Thank you so much. I love what you talk about. I truly use your program every day, and I just felt God telling me to tell you this. God bless you, (Signed) Ashley.”
Bob: Well, I hope Ashley is listening today; and I hope she takes the “Tests of Love” from Chip Ingram on our website at FamilyLife.com. I hope she goes there and just runs through and decides whether her boyfriend really is the right one for her.
Dennis: That's exactly right. Go to FamilyLife.com. There is a test there that you can click on, and there's 12 “Tests of Love” that Chip has come up with. It won't take you long. It will just take you a little while to complete it, but it will be very helpful.
Yesterday, Chip, we talked about the “Test of Time”—how a relationship, that is really a quality relationship, needs to have some time, some water under the bridge. You talked, also, about the “Test of Knowledge”, which means you know the other person well enough that you know what they're about, and who they are, and that they're not hiding something. Then, we also talked about the “Test of Focus”. Is their focus on you, or is their focus on himself or herself? You also talk about the “Test of Singularity”.
Chip: Yes, singularity means genuine love is centered on only one person. An infatuated individual may be in love with two or more persons, simultaneously.
Dennis: Now, wait a second! You mean you could literally be in love with multiple people at the same time?
Chip: Well, when you're infatuated, what I'm talking about these ooey-gooey feelings, this chemistry, this sense of lightheadedness, this sense of wonder, and, “This is great!” I think God gave me an experience that's very humiliating to share; but I was just graduated from college, 21, playing on an overseas basketball team, sharing Christ.
I'd been in the Lord about four years, very growing; and I'm at the point—21—I think, “This is my second summer out.” Twenty-one/twenty-two and my eyes are open like, “Where is that good person going to come from?” I'm in the Dominican Republic, and we played a game. Afterwards, I meet a missionary; and his daughter is there. We end up going for a picnic; and I mean, it was like the water coming down through the mountains.
Dennis: Cha-ching, bada-bing; huh?
Chip: Oh, I just was—“This is it! This is it. This is amazing.” Now, I have to tell you that I wasn't in a deep relationship; but I had a girl back home that we'd not made any commitments, we weren't going steady. I think I'm falling in love with her, but I'm waiting to find out. Now, I meet this gal from the Dominican Republic, and it's “Whoa!”
Well, we get on a plane, and we go to Peru. I'm sitting across from the President's Federation and their team, and this girl does not speak a lick of English. We just stare at each other during the meal. Afterwards, she comes over around to my side—I know a little bit of Spanish. I find a little interpreter, and we take a walk through a city in Peru together.
Dennis: Now, is this a third girl?
Chip: This is the third girl, and I'm thinking—and this is like, “Whoa!” and the emotions are even stronger this time. I'm thinking, “Man, I'm going psychotic.” The guys are starting to tease me until we get to Santiago, Chile. We get to Santiago, Chile—do I need to go on? Santiago was number four, Argentina was number five. It was like—I literally had the infatuation experience with five different girls in about six weeks in six different countries.
Dennis: I think this could be a new game, “The International Dating Game.”
Chip: “The International Dating Game.” When I came home, what I realized was your emotions are emotions that click on, click off depending on the color of their eyes, the mood, the this, the that. I didn't know anything whatsoever about being in love; but if you think that is love, you can get yourself in trouble in a hurry.
Bob: I can beat that. I’ve been in a movie theater with a girl, who I took out on a date, who I really thought I liked; and I’m falling for the girl on the screen simultaneously. I’m sitting next to one and falling for the girl on the screen at the same time. (Laughter) We all have had that kind of a lightheaded experience. How does the “Test of Singularity”, then, work?
Chip: If you really love a person, you may find yourself drawn or having some attraction—and I think we need to say something right now to married men and to people that are married because this is also how affairs occur. If you think infatuation is love, you walk into Starbuck’s—the lady who happens to be there at the same time and is dressed rather nicely. She's kind of kind; or that guy who opens the door. You're married, and you've got two small kids; or you're under a lot of pressure, and you feel this weird kind of emotion kicking in—all it means is there is some chemistry, biologically, between you and this person. You may be infatuated, but it has nothing to do with love.
If you think it is, that’s when people click into, “The movie I saw—maybe, I don't really love my mate,” rather than saying, “Wait a second. This can happen to anybody, anytime.” We're attracted to the opposite sex. Infatuation is one thing; and you say, “That's what it is. It's nothing more.”
Dennis: Let's talk about this fifth test. It's the “Test of Security”. How does love make us feel secure?
Chip: The way I wrote it in this test is this way: An individual in love tends to have a sense of security and a feeling of trust after considering everything involved in the relationship with the other person. However, an infatuated individual tends to have a blind sense of security based upon wishful thinking rather than upon careful consideration; or—and I think this is the key—he may have a sense of insecurity that is sometimes or often expressed in jealousy. People that are very, very jealous tells you that, “Wait a second! You don't trust the other person?” It's not built on knowledge, time, and focus—and, “This is the one person for me.”
I think this idea of security is—when you're in love, you're not uptight about watching your girl or your guy talk to someone else and immediately say, “What did you talk about? Why were you with him? What's going on here?” Those are all symptoms that you're infatuated; and you feel like you have to possess, contain, or control the other person.
Bob: Chip, I think we need to talk to the guys here for just a second. This need for security is bone-deep—
Chip: Yes, it is.
Bob: —in the heart of a woman. She needs to know that she is safe with you and that she is protected emotionally and physically. It's not just about being physically safe, but it's about emotional safety. Guys need to clue into that and provide that sense of security for their wives.
Chip: They need to do that both with their actions, their attitudes. This phenomenon that we've talked about much on your program of pornography—when you counsel and meet with the woman whose husband has been online, he thinks he's just looking at pictures and, “What's the harm?”
The devastation that occurs is, “I don't measure up. I’m not secure. What could be wrong in our marriage for him to be there?”, or, “What’s wrong with this guy that I’m dating—that he needs to go there?” All those things feed into a man creating security for a woman that says, “I’m here for you first spiritually, then emotionally, then socially together in relationships; and then, as we're married, I’m here for you physically and vice-versa.”
Dennis: Pornography is an emotional betrayal—
Dennis: —and there are some single men who listen to our broadcast right now who don't necessarily connect what they're viewing on the internet, or what kind of magazines they purchase, or what they read, or the type of television shows they watch with their relationships with the opposite sex; but they are interconnected.
If you want to really create security with a woman in a real, meaningful relationship, then, that means you have to give up the fantasies. You have to turn from what others would try to profit from in terms of pornography and turn toward a real person, work through the issues. I think, even in prime-time evening viewing, I think men and women need to be very careful about what they allow their eyes and their minds to feast upon. Again, keep pursuing the real relationship with a real person.
You talk about, not only the “Test of Security”, but there is another test, the “Test of Work”. Now, what do you mean by that?
Chip: The “Test of Work” is that an individual that's in love is going to work for the other person and for their mutual benefit. If they need to study, if they need to get a job, it increases their desire to say, “Let’s make it together. Whatever it takes, I’m going to work. I’m going to finish school before we get married. I’m going to work two jobs for a period of time so we can do what it takes.”
A person, however, who is infatuated, tends to daydream; but often, the dreams aren’t attainable. They kind of go into denial and say, “Someday, some way, this will all work out.” When they get faced with very difficult situations that put a roadblock in the relationship, they're not willing to work. They are willing to say, “Well, it will get better later. We're in love; I know it will just happen.” That, simply, is not true.
Dennis: One of our children came to Barbara and to me, asking for permission to get married. The young man was there; and he was asking, as well. I said, “Okay, that means that you’ll have to pay for her college education. You’ll need to pick up all her expenses. Whatever we were helping with college and with her room and board, that is all on your shoulders as a young man.” There was silence, and there was a gulp. You could tell, “Well, let’s think about this a little bit.” To the credit of our daughter, and the young man, that relationship ultimately was broken off because he was not willing to be able to work toward what needed to happen to make the relationship a reality. He wasn’t willing to wait.
I think many times there is an immature side of love that wants to run ahead, and it may ignore reality. In fact, it may be a lot like somebody approaching an intersection with a train that’s crossing—the bar that comes down to warn you that you need to stop; but instead, young people today can scoot around the bar, trying to beat the train across the intersection. That can cause a serious wreck, especially later on in that marriage relationship.
Chip: I think, actually, even the next two tests are so interrelated. I'll highlight them because I think it's conceptual—it comes together. You know the “Test of Work”, the “Test of Problem-solving”, and the “Test of Distance”. What I mean by that is—because, often, when you have a big problem, you don't want to face it. “It will be okay.” “We come from different backgrounds—Oh! It will be okay;” “We can't economically do it—It will be okay.” “Your mom isn't for it, and my dad's not for it—It will be okay.”
Dennis: Love can conquer all.
Chip: Right. The next one, number eight, there, is about distance. Sometimes, God puts you in a situation where, “Are you willing to keep loving one another without that ongoing emotional touch and connection?” That really boils down to the work of saying, “I’m going to become the right person while we're apart. We're going to build the relationship; we're going to talk deeply about what's going on.”
The work of writing the letter, sending the e-mail, paying for the phone, keeping the phone bills under control. See, all these things are evidences of the kind of effort and energy that it takes to work hard, face problems, and go through some seasons where, even when you're far apart, you make it. You know there's the word, “You make it work.”
Bob: Chip, if two people, who are not married, find themselves in conflict—they’re locked up and they don't know how to get out—what are they doing with that, typically, these days? If they're not resolving the conflict, are they just breaking up, or do they have another way of coping with it?
Chip: I don't know how, frankly, to answer that question.
What I will tell you is the typical way Christians and non-Christians are dealing with it is they're having sex. “It all feels better, and everything's okay;” or Christian couples, who have made some level of commitment—they push it down, express some levels of affection, go to a movie, go out to eat, have little flare-ups. What they are doing is creating unhealthy, dysfunctional patterns about conflict—that they will be amazed, in marriage, that absolutely nothing changes. In fact, it gets bigger and worse.
Dennis: Yes, and instead of being able to resolve it with a quick, “I’m sorry. Let's kiss, make up, and make out”—
Dennis: —and run to the physical side of matters to be able to solve their conflict—later on, in marriage, that making up and that physical aspect of the sexual dimension of the marriage relationship may be one of the most difficult to move toward, after there has been a serious conflict in the relationship.
Chip: In fact, if the average guy would really listen up right now—because the average guy who is married to the average gal would like to have a lot more physical intimacy at a much deeper level than he's getting. What he doesn't understand is—what you just said—the conflict emotionally, the unresolved issues—the not sitting down and paying the bills; not talking about, “How we're going to discipline our daughter;” not going to the grocery store and, “Helping me out,”—all those things that create conflict—“How are we going to deal with the normal conflicts of your in-laws versus my in-laws?” Believe it or not, that all goes right into the bedroom, if unresolved—
Dennis: It does.
Chip: —and where it goes is not a good place.
Bob: You know, all of these tests are—I'm going back to the analogy you used earlier this week—it's a diagnostic tool like we'd use on a car. I take my car in from time to time. Well, I just had it in because I had to get the starter replaced, and they called me after they replaced the starter. They said, “We checked your brakes. You need front brakes, and one of these tires is looking pretty bad, too.” So, I wound up with a new starter, new front brakes, and a new tire.
Now, before the starter went out, I thought the car was doing pretty well. I didn't really know anything about the brakes or about the tire that was a problem.
Dennis: I've been to that car mechanic. I've been there.
Bob: Well, putting it up on the rack—
Bob: —and running through all of the diagnostic tests is the way to tell—
Chip: Great analogy.
Bob: —just how roadworthy is this vehicle? We've got to do that with relationships. I think one of the reasons you feel such a passion about that is because you went the extra mile in your relationship with Theresa. When the two of you were coming together as a couple, you said, “We've got to do this so we won't be sorry on the backend;” and it's paid off for you.
Chip: It really has, and we had—we had major problems. We had huge issues. She had two small children and, “Okay, how are we going to deal with that? What are all the issues, as a man, I have to deal with?” She'd come to Christ after she had those children. “Am I going to be a dad, and can I handle that?” Well, I'll tell you what you don't say, “Well, we love each other. Everything is going to be okay.” How am I going to support that?
I was more and more involved in ministry, and I found myself for six or eight weeks in the Philippines. While we were separate—and I found myself saying, “Okay, where is this relationship now that there is no Theresa to look at, there is no Theresa to spend time with?” What I found is I grew more in love with her as we were apart than I did together, and that was one of those tests that let me know God had done something in our hearts. This wasn't just an emotional connection.
Dennis: All week long here, we have talked straight to both single and married alike about not marching to the drumbeat of the world but, instead, taking the high road, the road of Scripture. First Peter, Chapter 4, verse 8, says, “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another because love covers a multitude of sins.” That's our family's verse. If you have eight people in a family, you're going to need a love that covers a multitude of sins because that many human beings—
Bob: —they can create a multitude of sins.
Dennis: —a ton of sins. That's why the Scripture exhorts us, “Keep fervent in your love for one another;” and that's why, I think, whether single or married, we have to turn from the Hollywood version of love, which is dependent upon feelings, which is dependent upon what the other person does for us, and instead, deny ourselves and stay stretched out. That's what that word “fervent” means—we need to stay stretched out in terms of seeking the best for that person we are trying to love.
Bob: It’s just too bad that back in Judges 14, when Samson came home and said, “She looks good to me. Go get her for me,” that Samson’s father couldn’t say, “Now, son, look. Let’s slow down here a bit. Let’s go to—if we go to FamilyLifeToday.com, let’s get a copy of Chip Ingram’s book, Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships; or we can take the online tests that they’ve got there to see whether you’re really in love or whether it’s just infatuation.” He might still have his hair today if they had gone to FamilyLifeToday.com and taken the tests. (Laughter)
You can go online at FamilyLifeToday.com—order a copy of Chip’s book, Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships—take the online tests that helps you determine whether you’re in love or whether it’s just an infatuation. If you’re married or you’re thinking about getting married, get more information about our upcoming Weekend to Remember® marriage getaways. We kick off our getaway season this weekend. There’ll be thousands of couples heading out this weekend for a fun, romantic weekend getaway.
We’ll be hosting these events throughout the spring in cities all across the country; or if you can’t get to a getaway, have your own getaway. Get the Art of Marriage® video event kit. You can host a Friday night/Saturday marriage event at your church, or in your community, or get a group of friends and go out to a lake house together, or spend some time at a camp ground or something, and watch these video sessions and, then, interact through the workbooks.
We’ve got tools—we’ve got resources to help you navigate what can be tricky waters in this area. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information. Again, it’s FamilyLifeToday.com. You can also call for more information: 1-800-FL-TODAY is the number. It is 1-800-358-6329, 1-800- “F” as in family, “L” as in life, and then, the word, “TODAY”. When you get in touch with us, we’ll answer any questions you have about the resources; and we can make arrangements to have the ones you want sent out to you.
We have a group of FamilyLife Today listeners that we always want to make sure we say, “Thank you,” to here on our program. It’s those of you, who on a monthly basis, help support this ministry as Legacy Partners. We appreciate your financial support.
Those of you who are able to make a donation on occasion, we very much appreciate your participation, as well. We couldn’t do what we do without you. The cost of producing and syndicating this program is something that our friends help make possible, and we appreciate that financial support.
This week, if you are able to make a donation to help support FamilyLife Today, we’d like to say, “Thank you,” by sending you a couple of resources—a book for a husband and a book for a wife. These books have got some practical suggestions on how you can express your love for one another. There’s a tips book for husbands and a tips book for wives. Along with the books, we’ll send you a couple of prayer cards so you can be praying more effectively for one another, as well. Again, these resources are our way of saying, “Thank you,” for your partnership with us. We appreciate your support of the ministry of FamilyLife Today, and we hope these resources we’ll help strengthen your marriage relationship, as well.
Make a donation online at FamilyLifeToday.com, click the button that says, “I Care”, when you go to our website, and make your donation online; or call to make a donation at 1-800-FL-TODAY. Simply ask for your copy of the resources on romance that you’ve heard us talk about on the radio, and we’ll get those sent out to you.
We want to encourage you to be back with us again tomorrow. If you think you’ve found the right one and you’re ready to take the plunge, be sure to tune in tomorrow because Chip Ingram has got a word of caution for you before you pop the question or say, “I do.” So, tune in for that tomorrow; alright?
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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