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What Is The Difference Between Love, Lust, Infatuation, And A Crush?

by Greg Baker  
4/14/2010 / Relationships

Personally, I feel that I have all of these for one person: my wife. I pastor a church and counsel many couples, married and dating, and I've found that the most successful relationships have all of these elements. My wife loves that I have a crush on her, that I'm infatuated with her, that I lust for her, and that I love her deeply.

But there are differences.


Love is not an emotion. It isn't some warm fuzzy feeling that you get. You're ability to love is based on you, not anyone else. I love because of who I am. My wife doesn't have to earn my love. She doesn't have to maintain it either. If I stop loving my wife, then that demonstrates a problem with me, not her.

Love is the sacrificial placing of someone else ahead of your own needs, wants, and desires. When you can lay down your life, so to speak, for someone else, you'll understand love.

The Bible says that there is no greater love than when you lay down your life for your friends.


Lust is the absolute selfish desire to fulfill either a physical or emotional need or want. Relationships based on this and nothing else always ends and most of the time they just end badly.

God created us to have physical urges, desires, and needs. These in of themselves are not wrong or bad. But when we yield to them and create a relationship solely around them, they can be destructive and hurtful.

It is one reason why I recommend, preach, and can prove from the Bible that a couple ought to wait for marriage before they have sex. Get to know someone mentally, emotionally, and spiritually first. Lust can overwhelm and dominate a relationship and when lust is the primary factor, I've never seen a relationship succeed or be meaningful.


Infatuation is often a mental obsession. This is a person who will daydream, create fantasies, and, if married, commit mental adultery. This person may never act on his or her fantasies, but they more often than not create an unrealistic impression of the person you are fantasizing about.

Many people find out what they imagined the other person to be isn't the actual truth of that person. They can very quickly lose interest. Many people, who have built up infatuations for others, never get really, really close. Once a comparison is made of the person to their fantasy, they get disillusioned and disappointed.

Now, if you can be infatuated with someone you do know real well, particularly if you are married to him or her, this can only strengthen your relationship. I have fantasies of my wife when we are separated. How can that be a bad thing? I'm infatuated with her!


Possibly, a crush is merely the attraction a person has for another person. Most relationships start with some sort of attraction. You see someone you like or you see things about a person you like and feel attracted to them. Many mistake this for love, but attraction is a powerful force.

Often, we consider a crush to be from a person who has an attraction on someone who is either unwilling or unable to have a reciprocal attraction. It would be like a boy being attracted to his married teacher, or a girl attracted to a boy already dating another girl or at least not interested in her.

A crush can be cute, or it can be dangerous too. They've been known to lead to problems, and often we dismiss them as temporary emotional outbursts. But that isn't always wise.

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