One of the challenges when making the decision to date, start a relationship with or marry a person is to figure out and differentiate whether or not the positive feelings relating to the other person are feelings of the Spirit or feelings of infatuation. The first thing I want to clarify is that both sets of feelings are good, powerful, helpful, and useful to the cause in different, complementary ways. The Spirit helps clarify and reinforce that the other person and your relationship together is decently healthy and happy, and they would be a good long-term partner. The infatuation feelings, in turn, give the spark, excitement, and passion that makes being together enjoyable and desirable. When taken together, the exciting feelings plus spiritual confirmation together contribute to a healthy, happy, long-term, and hopefully eternal relationship. So, knowing the difference between these two critical forces and having both together is the hope and the goal.
Elements of Spirituality:
There are numerous scriptures that clarify and define the feelings of the Spirit. By knowing what are “feelings of the Spirit”, you can have peace the Lord approves of a potential union together with another. Simply put, if the Spirit is present with the other person and during prayer regarding the other, that confirms that being with this other person is a good idea and a viable option. In other words, when the Spirit is present, we can have confidence the Lord gives his stamp of approval that this is a good relationship. Here are a few scriptures clarifying what the Spirit is:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance...
But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.
--Doctrine & Covenants 9:8-9
In the New Testament after Christ’s resurrection, he appeared to two of his disciples in disguise as they walked on the road to Emmaus. When they eventually figured out it was Christ walking with them, they pointed to feeling the Spirit to confirm this truth:
And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
Elements of Infatuation:
Infatuation relates to the excitement associated with the beginning of a relationship. Such feelings as often described as “butterflies”, “passion”, or “the tingles”. These powerful feelings often include a preoccupation with the other person, daydreaming, obsessing, and an extreme focus on them. Such feelings serve the important function of getting couples together, acting as the rocket fuel to get a relationship launched and going. Such feelings are fun and intoxicating and make for a highly enjoyable relationship. Sexual attraction is included with these feelings, helping to differentiate a relationship partner from a friend. Having sexually attracted feelings for another before marriage is appropriate and healthy as long as these feelings are not yet acted out on in a fashion that violates the law of chastity.
Formal definitions of infatuation from Google include the following: 1) A feeling of foolish or obsessively strong love for, admiration for, or interest in someone or something; strong and unreasoning attachment. 2) An intense but short-lived passion or admiration for someone or something. 3) Being smitten; the state of being carried away by an unreasoned passion, usually towards another person for whom one has developed strong romantic feelings. 4) Strong but not usually lasting feelings of love or attraction. 5) The act of infatuating or state of being infatuated; foolish or extravagant passion.
In this article I have defined and differentiated the powerful feelings of the Spirit as well as infatuation. When making decisions about relationships, infatuation and/or the Spirit are the feelings utilized to begin and continue a new relationship. Both feelings are valuable, and both help relationships to take off and begin. From there, feelings of mature love and commitment follow. Please consider both starter feelings. Ideally, both feelings exist in the beginning and will hopefully last as long as needed from there. Infatuation feelings tend to fade over time, whereas spiritual feelings can remain indefinitely. For more information about love and for a definition of love as what relationships develop from there, refer to my previous article here: https://www.ldsdimension.com/articles/ideas-on-love-356/.
In sum, please embrace both feelings and remember the importance and role of both. A great relationship will be balanced this way. Hopefully this article can offer some clarity and definition to these concepts as critical relationship decisions are made in the future. And remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
P.S. If you have any questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).