Distinguishing Love from Companionship
A friend once told me: “Don’t mistake companionship for [romantic] love.” I happened to be sharing with him my longing to spend time with a female friend whom I found interesting. Then he told me that statement.
Pondering on what he said, I asked myself: “How do I distinguish love from companionship?” Figuring out the answer was simply hard. As a person who loves to think and wrestle for answers to life’s issues, I find myself frustrated this time.
Admittedly, I have admired lots of godly women. And I have enjoyed deep friendships with some of them. But I couldn’t tell which of those admirations are love, or which of those can at least translate to love.
Reflecting further, I have identified three challenges which made the distinguishing harder:
1. I’m often infatuated. What can I do? The women I admire are truly Christ-centered. They are beautiful inside and out. So I can’t help but get infatuated with them, which make it harder for me to objectively distinguish love from love companionship. I am reminded that I’m dealing with emotions, and they are not easy to deal with. It takes time for emotions to die down (at least for me, and I believe for almost everybody). I believe that once they fade away, one can think clearly and objectively. So infatuation is a hindrance.
2. I realized that love is also founded in companionship. Love actually takes root in the soils of companionship, or friendship. So all love begins, or should begin, in friendship. I cannot, then, escape companionship. This means that the struggle will remain.
3. I’m simply content with companionship. For most of my female friends, I only see them as good friends and sisters in the Lord. I’m content with my friendship with them. So I don’t look on the friendship and see if any of them can be my future wife. And if ever I have to assess which of those friendships can lead to romance, I will tend to be bias, since I only want to stay friends with them.
I don’t know if you find yourself in the same situation as I do, or if you are actually beginning to find yourself in the same situation.
So what do I suggest? Well, I don’t pretend to be an expert on this area; I wrote this more as a learner than a “master” or a teacher. But I’m sure that there are a few things I can do about it (and I can encourage you to do, if you find yourself in the same scenario), which are to fall back to prayer and to give myself to the Word, patiently and steadfastly discerning God’s will. After all, the Lord knows what, or rather, who’s best for me, so I must be eager to know His will. He, in His perfect way and timing, will show me the one companion whom I will truly love.