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How Do I Know If I Am In Love?
(Part 3)

How do you know when you are in love?

Thought number five, and the point you have been waiting for: sex!

Here’s the deal: Love does not require sex and physical involvement in order to grow and take firm root in your heart. (Make sure you read this point a couple of times. It is absolutely true all of the time).

Furthermore, you do not need to practice sex—or have sex—in order to determine if you are in love or not. Sex will not prove your love anymore than steak sauce proves that a steak is a steak. Love is the steak, sex is the sauce. The steak by itself is extravagantly wonderful. The sauce by itself is miserable and bitter once it goes down your throat.

Don’t ever get this analogy backwards, and if you already have, I encourage you to regroup and place proper boundaries around yourself as you attempt to rebuild your relationship from the proper perspective. But, this is easier said than done, for several reasons that could stretch well beyond the scope of this brief piece.

When I say, "boundaries," I mean clear, black and white, well-defined lines in the sand of your relationship. For example, if kissing beyond a nice peck goodnight leads you down the hallway to bed, then the necessary boundary is clear: No more kisses beyond a peck on the porch to say goodnight. Again, like sex, you don’t need to practice kissing to know if you are in love, and there are plenty of other ways to demonstrate your affection. Radical suggestion? Perhaps. But it will help you keep from losing your shirt.

One more thought before I let my mind drift to point number six: If you have already made sexual mistakes, not only do you regroup and build boundaries, but you engage the difficult work of forgiveness. Most likely, this means forgiving yourself, quite possibly your partner, and perhaps God, parents, former spouse, past partners, etc.

God sat down at some point in His life and thought about the wrongs done to Him by His love, Israel. The prophet Isaiah notes that these grievances were severe enough that God was "wearied with His loves’ iniquities." But he notes that God determined to forgive for His own sake (43:25). In other words, He realized that forgiveness was in His best interest, so He forgave.

Forgiveness is not absolution, but more a releasing of your grip on the person who wronged you in an effort to "make them pay" or to get even or extract pity from them for the sorry way they treated you. Forgiveness is the act of looking to your Heavenly Father’s healing touch and wealth of resources rather than harboring the splinter of offense until it festers in your heart.

And realize this: Forgiveness is something you determine to do with or without the other person. They don’t even have to be present, let alone agree with you. In fact, I know lots of folks who have forgiven dead people.

Preston Gillham

About the Author

As a co-founder, Preston Gillham led Lifetime for 30 years. Preston is a writer, speaker, and leadership guide. He has authored numerous articles and several books including No Mercy and Battle for the Round Tower. He blogs on “Life and Leadership”. More about Preston, his writings, speaking, and his consulting practice can be located at PrestonGillham.com.