Everybody wants to be in love. We enjoy love stories and sappy songs. We all long for that tingly, butterflies-in-my-stomach, kind of feeling that comes with being in love. It makes us feel alive. Excited. Hopeful. All of us long to be part of a love story that spans the test of time.
But, most of us have no idea how to make that happen.
How do you know you’re in love? Truly in love? Then, how do you stay in love?
I think I have the answer. I predict that it will be unpopular. But, I know how to know you’re in love. My answer won’t jump right out and grab you like a story on the silver screen or a dreamy fairy tale with a dashing prince and swooning princess. It’s a counter-intuitive answer. My idea isn’t original to me. It’s found on the pages of the Bible, way back in the book of Genesis. Surprisingly (to some), there’s a tender love story in the middle of the book. It’s the story of Jacob and Rachel:
Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban said, “It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me.” So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her, (Genesis 29:16-20).
(First of all, poor Leah! Can we just say that?)
If you read the rest of Jacob and Rachel’s story, there’s a lot of tension and conflict. (Show me a love story that doesn’t have it’s share of those ingredients.) Their story isn’t a perfect story. But, it holds some great clues about how you know you’re in love.
So, how do you answer the question? How do you know you’re in love? How do you stay in love?
You know you’re in love if you’re willing to serve and wait for the person you love.
Jacob worked for seven years to earn the hand and heart of the woman he loved. Seven years! And, in one of the most touching anecdotes in the Bible, those seven years flew by as if they were only a few days. Jacob was committed to Rachel so he was willing to serve and wait.
How many conflicts do we face in our marriages because we’re simply unwilling to serve and wait for our spouses? How many conflicts could we avoid if we were willing to meet our spouses’ needs first? How many rifts would be mended if we were willing to simply, lovingly, wait?
Jacob figured out something that all of us are still struggling with. If we’d learn from Jacob’s example—better yet, if we were to follow his example—we’d be able to know whether or not we’re truly in love. And, we’d be able to stay that way no matter what we might face together.