How to Tell Whether You Are in Love

the gold and silver spangles of her imaginationThis week I focus on a topic very dear to me and my some of friends. Is it lust? Is it love? Or is it just a silly old crush? How about you and I ponder these questions, with the help of Dorothy Dix, in this excerpt from her book titled How to Win and Hold a Husband.

1939: How to Tell Whether You Are in Love

A girl does well to look into her emotions and try to determine whether they are the real, genuine, blown-in-the-bottle love or a spurious imitation. The first thing, of course, is for her to find out whether she is in love with some particular youth, or just in love with love, and this requires her to be not only a first-class psychoanalyst but a good guesser as well.

For from her cradle up every girl is on a still hunt for her Prince and so eager is she to find him that only too often she shuts her eyes and grabs the first boy who comes along. Over him she throws the magic cloak that she has embroidered with the gold and silver spangles of her imagination, and she is so enraptured with the result that she doesn’t know that it is her own handiwork she is adoring and not the thing in it. . . .

A man may have a physical attraction for a girl that makes her think that she is in love with him as long as he is with her. His touch thrills her. His kisses lay a spell upon her. His love-making hypnotizes her so completely that her mind and her judgement cease functioning. In his presence she does not notice that he does not belong to her class, that he is perhaps highly undesirable as a husband, that they have not the same interests, nor habits, nor ideals, nothing that will keep love alive after the physical appeal is gone. . . .

If you never weary of a man’s company, even when he talks about himself by the hour; if you can play games together without quarreling; if you can spend a rainy week end in the country without talking yourselves out and getting on each other’s nerves, then you may be sure that you have the love that is foolproof and will stand the wear and tear of matrimony.

Then if you are still in doubt whether or not you are in love with a man, concentrate on his faults and magnify them and see whether they outweigh his virtues as far as you are concerned. Consider whether or not his little personal peculiarities irritate you. Could you stand listening to his pet stories over and over again for the remainder of your life? Do you feel that you could take a never-ending heart-interest in the grocery trade? How about having to live with a man who carries his small change in a purse with a lock on it and who is a little closefisted? You like books and symphony concerts, while he never reads anything but the headlines in the newspapers and the comic strip and has a jazz taste in music. What about it?

If he bores you at times until you feel like screaming, and if you think that the first thing you will do after you marry him is going to be on the reformation side, you don’t really love him. There is no truer test of love than to love the faults of a dear one, and to think of them tenderly as being just amusing traits of individuality because they are his.

Source: Dix, Dorothy. How to Win and Hold a Husband. New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1939.
~ pp. 8-13 ~