A delusional euphoric state of stupidity

Emotional attraction is powerful. It can induce drug-like feelings of euphoria that come with a dangerous blinding effect on otherwise intelligent people.

Be careful not to overdose on emotional love because it can lead to a delusional state of stupidity.

Although most relationships begin with higher doses of emotional love, emotions typically don’t last long and they always change.

Women are particularly vulnerable to this when they allow themselves to be in love with the idea of being in loveThey’ve dreamed of a wedding and marriage; a husband and a family. Now they’ve found a man to fulfill their dreams!

I am quick to remind singles that it’s one thing to be in love and an entirely different thing to love someone for life. Emotions change quickly in the routines and challenges of life together.

The danger with emotional love is that it can lead very smart people into a delusional euphoric state of stupidity.

Have you ever witnessed this? It’s tough to watch a friend become irrationally obsessed with another person — especially when you see red flags about the relationship but they don’t.

The delusional part is often the irrational thinking about how well you know another person when you’ve only actually known him for a short time. Or, when you think that another person is perfect and you can’t see any flaws in her. It’s delusional when you let yourself think that you could never be happy without that person and you think you have to be together all the time to be happy.

This kind of euphoric state (often called the “in love” experience) tends to come with a number of superficial conclusions based on limited exposure. People in this “in love experience” typically exaggerate similarities and good qualities while overlooking differences and quirks. 

Then when caring friends or family express concerns, the delusional lover doesn’t tend to hear them or says, “You just don’t know him as well as I do.”

Warning: The euphoria of love can move from delusional to dangerous when people are unwilling to see red flags.

Advice: Let your head lead your heart.

Let your head lead your heart when it comes to relationships. Use your brain! Don’t give your heart to anyone until your head has processed the necessary data to tell you that you are making a wise decision. If you give your heart to a bad relationship and I try to talk your head out of it, no matter how much I might make sense, I will probably not be very successful. 

Emotional love is a natural part of human attraction, but don’t allow it to lead to a delusional euphoric state of stupidity. No matter how good it feels, always be aware that it can produce a blinding effect that hinders rational thinking and wise decision-making. It can also lead to profound disappointments and perhaps even contribute to divorce.

Although people who are “in love” tend to think that the feelings will never change, studies show that the euphoria diminishes early in marriage. This often comes as a surprise or even a shock to the delusional lover. When feelings fade and differences emerge, conflicts become a reality. Delusional lovers often don’t have a plan for resolving conflicts because they don’t think they’ll have any. This is why they tend to be unrealistically traumatized by conflicts.

When this reality hits, it can make people wonder what they were thinking or why their partner changed. “I didn’t see this side to him or her when we were dating.” they tell me. I gently remind them that sides to people don’t appear out of no where. Character traits are typically cut in deep channels with extended histories. So either he was concealing or you weren’t looking — probably both!

Remember that dating often tends to be a time when people conceal information that marriage will inevitably reveal. This is why we must guard our hearts and use our brains.

Someone once recommended that we should focus on becoming the person that the person we’re looking for is looking for. Start first by becoming the person that your future spouse needs. This will more likely lead you to attract and be attracted to the right kind of person. 

We also need a more mature understanding of love. Emotional love tends to be more selfish, more about how I like to feel. Those who are obsessed with emotional love reveal their immaturity.

Immature people are not going to enjoy deep companionship in a functionally healthy marriage. Perhaps the best advice an emotionally obsessed person can hear is that it’s time to grow up and stop making life about your feelings.

The emotional dimension of love (no matter how natural) is not enough to sustain a meaningful and lasting relationship. It’s far too superficial. Deeply satisfying relationships are built on the dimension of love I call “behaving in love.”

This dimension does not depend on feelings and chemistry. It’s based on a choice to value my mate and seek his or her best. It’s a daily decision to respond to my mate in a loving manner — regardless of feelings. While I can’t always make myself feel a certain way, I can always choose to act in a loving way.

Most marriages start with higher doses of emotional love and, in most relationships, the feelings diminish with time. When this happens, the key to love  is not pursuit of feelings — but a choice to act in love even when we don’t feel love. And what I’ve learned is that the feelings often follow the actions.

I am not advocating dishonesty about feelings but a priority on and enjoyment of a more mature approach to love. Marriage is not about feeling love but an agreement to love.

Steve Cornell

See also:

12 Tests of Love

“I’m in love! I’m in love! And I don’t care who knows it!” (Buddy the elf). But how can you know if it’s love or some kind of counterfeit emotion?

Here’s a helpful check list to distinguish love from infatuation.

  1. Test of Time – Love benefits and grows through time; infatuation ebbs and diminishes with time.
  2. Test of Knowledge – Love grows out of an appraisal of all the known characteristics of the other person. Infatuation may grow out of an acquaintance with only one of these characteristics known about the other person.
  3. Test of Focus – Genuine love is other-person centered. Infatuation is self-centered.
  4. Test of Singularity – Genuine love is focused on only one person. An infatuated individual may be “in love” with two or more persons simultaneously.
  5. Test of Security – Genuine love requires and fosters a sense of security and feelings of trust. An infatuated individual seems to have a blind sense of security.
  6. Test of Work – An individual in love works for the other person for his or her mutual benefit. By contrast, an infatuated person loses his or her ambition, appetite, and interests in everyday affairs.
  7. Test of Problem Solving – A couple in love faces problems frankly and tries to solve them. Infatuated people tend to disregard or try to ignore problems.
  8. Test of Distance – Love knows the importance of distance. Infatuation imagines love to be intense closeness, 24/7, all the time.
  9. Test of Physical Attraction – Physical attraction is a relatively small part of love, but it is a central focus of infatuation. (Now don’t read “small part” as “not a part” in what I just stated. If your heart doesn’t skip a beat now and then and you don’t feel real attraction for your mate or the person you plan to marry, I’d call that a problem. In contrast, when couples who are in genuine love have any physical contact, it tends to have special meaning as well as pleasure. Couples often communicate volumes through looks. These tend to express what they feel toward each other.)
  10. Test of Affection – In love affection is expressed later in the relationship, involving the external expression of the physical attraction we just described. In infatuation affection is expressed earlier, sometimes at the beginning.
  11. Test of Stability - Love tends to endure. Infatuation may change suddenly and unpredictably.
  12. Test of Delayed Gratification – A couple in genuine love in not indifferent to the timing of their wedding, but they do not feel an irresistible drive toward it. An infatuated couple tends to feel an urge to get married – instantly. Postponement for the infatuated is intolerable.

(from – Chip Ingram,  Love, Sex & Lasting Relationships

See also - How can we know what love is?

Relationship 101 Class (audio)

For more than 20 years, I’ve been teaching a class to help singles with one of the most important decisions of life: How to choose a mate.

We’ve had about a thousand singles take this class! To get a taste of what I teach, I recorded the third session from last Sunday evening.

4 Bases for Attraction

  1. Looks
  2. Personality
  3. Common interests
  4. Shared beliefs, values and priorities

Stages of relationship

Acquaintance > Friendship > Dating > Exclusive relationship > Engaged > Married

Steve Cornell

God wants to use marriage to change you

Just wrapped up premarital counseling with a couple getting married this fall. I’ve had the privilege of sitting with hundreds of couples over the years as they prepare for marriage.

One thing I’ve been placing more emphasis on is the need to recognize how God wants to use husbands and wives as instruments of positive change in their mate’s life. No one will have closer access to your mate than you.

I am trying to get husbands and wives to embrace this reality and to leverage closeness and access to each other for ongoing transformation into the likeness of Christ (II Corinthians 3:18).

Christlikeness is what God is producing in those who belong to Him — a restoration to the glory of the image of God from which we have fallen (Genesis 1:26-27; Romans 3:23; 8:29). Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loved the Church (Ephesians 5:25).

When God ordained marriage it was for completion of one individual with another. Something was missing. God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” So God said,  “I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18). “Helper” and “suitable” are not demeaning terms but beautiful descriptions pointing to the complementary way a woman brings completeness to a man.

The woman was created for the man (I Corinthians 11:9).

She filled up what was missing. None of this implies inferiority for she too is made in the image of God and shares a call to co-regency with the man (Genesis 1:28).

“Woman is the glory of man” (I Corinthians 11:7).

Her union with man fills up what is lacking. She is a “helper” or a “support to him” but this relationship and role does not imply inferiority (see: Galatians 3:28).

Marriage is made up of two unique individuals and loss of uniqueness in either could hurt the purpose of their companionship and completion.

But emphasis on oneness or male leadership should never lead to the disappearance of a woman into the dominance of the man. Nor should male passivity be permitted behind the dominance of the woman. Either approach would violate the original purpose of a complimentary completion. It’s also significant that the man is the one given primary responsibility to forge the bond with his wife (Genesis 2:24). 

Marriage is a bonding of two individual identities into one new relationship. Like the different colors of sand in a sand ceremony, each one brings individual significance, gifts and beauty to the relationship of marriage. Each one is meant to be God’s instrument of ongoing transformation in the life of the other?

Can it work?

Husbands and wives must be secure in their love for each other for this plan to work. When I am convinced that my wife genuinely desires what is best for me according to God’s will, I am secure enough to allow her to speak into my life.  

Where there is rivalry and competition for control and superiority, there are deeper spiritual issues of immaturity to be addressed. Only as we walk by the Spirit with the mind of Christ can we leverage the closeness for ongoing transformation of our lives through marriage (Galatians 5:13-26; Philippians 2:3-10).

Question for discussion: How have you seen this work in your marriage?

Audio messageWhen Two Become One

Steve Cornell

20 Questions about the right one

  1. Can you talk ?
  2. Can you play?
  3. Can you work together?
  4. Do you have mutual friends?
  5. Are you proud of each other?
  6. Are you intellectually on the same level?
  7. Do you have common interests?
  8. Do you share the same values – honesty, cleanliness, Church, roles?
  9. Do you feel comfortable with how you make decisions together?
  10. Do you help each other emotionally?
  11. Do you have absolute trust in each other?
  12. Are you more creative and energetic because of each other?
  13. Do you help each other grow closer to God?
  14. Can we accept and appreciate each other’s family?
  15. Do you have unresolved relationships in your past?
  16. Is sex under control?
  17. Have you spent enough time together?
  18. Have you fought and forgiven?
  19. Have you talked about each area of your future life?
  20. Have you had counseling?

Love is vulnerable, but the alternative…

“To love at all is to be vulnerable.”

“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable” (C. S. Lewis).

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (I John 4:10-11).

Marriage is not about being in love or feeling love but an agreement to love. Once you understand this, the feelings will find their place — a place of deep and meaningful companionship in love.

Steve Cornell

Worship Video

Last night, I was privileged to speak at the Navigators chapter of Millersville University. About 80 university students gather in our Student Ministry Center which is walking distance to the entire campus.

It was a great evening and 22 students signed up for my Relationship 101 class (aka. Dating, Engagement, & Marriage class). Half of those who signed up were guys! 

It will be my 21st year teaching the class on how to make the marriage decision one of your best decisions.

I determined many years ago to work hard at preventative ministry in this area. We meet for 7-8 evenings starting Sunday night, October 6th (8-9:15 PM) at 58 West Frederick Street, Millersville, PA. 17551. Please prays for this class. We already have 35 signed up!

Check out the video that they played last night at Navs to prepare for worship: