Lauren Windle asks if love at first sight really exists and if so, is it biblical?
According to research by dua.com, the UK ranks sixth among 46 European countries when it comes to believing in love at first sight. Even our romantic neighbours across the channel aren’t as optimistic about initial reactions as France ended up 28th in the study.
When it comes to love at first sight, I feel certain that it doesn’t exist. Of course, you can see someone and be instantly attracted to their looks or demeanour but that’s not love. You can’t truly love someone based exclusively on their external appearance, we all know very good-looking people who are hard work, or not very kind. The way someone looks bares no correlation to their character. I hate to say it but that if you experience that strength of feelings on seeing someone, it sounds like lust to me. Or at the very least, it sounds like falling in love with an idea of that person, that may or may not actually exist.
You can’t truly love someone based exclusively on their external appearance.
The Bible speaks against lust and has a lot to say about love. Not least the famous verse read at weddings the world over: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Can this depth and complexity of feelings arrive in an instant? Of course not.
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There are examples of that passionate instant attraction in the Bible, and in some cases it can stabilise into a solid relationship. For example Rebecca and Issac (Genesis 24:64-65) but there are many more examples where believing yourself to be in love without knowing the person ended in disaster. David’s “love at first sight” draw towards Bathsheba led him to commit murder.
Lust and so-called “love at first sight” is about what that person can do for you; like “how would they look on my arm?” or “how would they look in my bed”.
The fact is, to truly love someone, you need to truly know them. You need to know them deeply and intimately. You need to understand them and their best and worst and have neither shake your feelings. Love is about what you can do for them, how you can serve and support. While lust and so-called “love at first sight” is about what that person can do for you and what you can take from them; like “how would they look on my arm?” or “how would they look in my bed”.
Love at first sight isn’t something to be hoped for or worked towards, feelings that strong with no foundations shouldn’t be trusted. Instead we should be looking for a relationship that is protected by friendship and care. We should be asking ourselves how we can serve the other person and she should want our feelings and intimacy to grow with that person, in line with our commitment to them.