When someone wants to find out if they’re really in love, it usually means they’re asking if the person they’re dating—or want to date—is the one they’re supposed to marry.
That’s where the distinction between the four types of love comes in: storge, philia, eros, and agape.
- Storge is simply being fond of someone
- Philia is the love one has for a good friend or sibling
- Eros is having passion for someone
- Agape is sacrificial love. Agape is the kind of love God has for us and the kind we ought to have for the one with whom we are in love.
It is agape that Jesus is referring to when he says:
“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”John 15:13
Agape is what allows one to say, “I love you above myself.”
Some people are addicted to the feeling of love, but those feelings are very fleeting. In Love & Responsibility, Karol Wojtyla—the future Pope St. John Paul II—said love is an affirmation of the whole person or it is not love at all.
“The desire to use another person is fundamentally incompatible with love,” Wojtyla said.
If you’re wondering if you’re in love with someone, ask yourself: when there is no sexual chemistry, what’s left? Are you just in love with the feeling or the idea of the person, or are you in love with the whole person?
There should be passion, or what St. John Paul called the “raw sentiment of love”. But that’s just a starting point. When times get tough, that’s when real love takes root. In order for it to take root though, you will have to prune it, and that can be painful.
Above all, God loved us first. It is in realizing his love for us that we learn to love others authentically. So in order to find out if you’re really in love, find out if you’re willing to put the other person above yourself and love him or her as Jesus loves you.
Meet Jackie and Bobby Angel
Jackie Francois Angel is a full-time worship leader and speaker. Bobby Angel is a campus minister and theology teacher at a Catholic high school. Married in 2013, they have three beautiful children and strive to grow in holiness each day!