4 ways to know when someone really loves you

4 ways to know when someone really loves you July 8, 2014

I recently visited one of my favorite places on Earth: Casa Shalom Orphanage in Guatemala.”Casa Shalom” means “House of Peace” and it truly is a place of peace and love for the nearly 100 precious kids who call it home.

My friend, Josh, runs the orphanage with his wife, Jessica. He was showing us around and telling us the story about how each child came to be there. He said, “There goes Eduardo. His parents were killed by drug dealers. That’s Rosa. She and her brothers were living on the streets before they were brought here. They were eating out of trash cans and severely malnourished.”

Each child had a story and most of those stories were heartbreaking. Despite the brokenness of their home situations, these children now seemed so happy and healthy. Josh knew each one by name, and he beamed like a proud Papa as he hugged the kids and bragged about how they were great at soccer or art or singing.

A teenage girl walked up and gave Josh a hug, and as she skipped away, Josh had tears in his eyes. He began to tell me her story.

Her name is Margarita,” he said. “She grew up in a home with horrific abuse. Her father was a drunk and he abused her in the worst kinds of ways. She was eventually taken out of that home and placed in a home with her aunt and uncle, but her uncle abused her in the same terrible ways that her father had done. She stayed in several more homes, but in each situation, the very people who should have been protecting her abused her. When she finally came here, she was brokenhearted and alone. She didn’t trust anyone. She barely spoke. We weren’t sure if we’d ever get through to her. We kept praying for her and doing our best to show her God’s love in meaningful ways, but after several months of trying, nothing seemed to be working.”

Josh paused to wipe some tears from his eyes as he continued the story.

“One night, Jessica and I were sitting on the hillside watching the sunset like we do most nights. We were watching the boys play soccer and watching the girls jump rope. We were taking in all the beautiful sights and sounds of Casa Shalom when something completely unexpected happened. Margarita came and sat down right next to me. She had aways kept her distance; especially from men, but she scooted right next to me, and what she did next completely took my breath away. She rested her head on my shoulder. I held my breath waiting for her to speak. She finally looked up at me and spoke some words that I’ll never forget.”

At this point, I’m leaned in so far that my head is practically on his shoulder waiting to hear what she told him. He gathered his composure to finish the story, and with a smile on his face, he relived that beautiful moment.

“She looked up at me and said, ‘When I first came here, I never believed I would ever be safe and I never believed anyone would ever really love me, but now, I know I’m safe here. And, I believe that you really love me.”

That became a life-changing moment for Josh, and a beautiful picture of what love really means. The way God loves us and the way Josh and Jessica showed love to Margarita (and every child at Casa Shalom) shows us how love is supposed to look.

Our culture has tried to redefine “love” to be nothing more than a feeling, but love is so much more than that. In every healthy relationship, if someone really loves you, they’ll do the following (and you should these for them as well).

This is the “litmus test” of love. If someone truly loves you…

1. They will give to you even when you are in no position to repay.

When you do good for those who can do good for you, that’s not love; that’s networking! Love requires giving to someone with no thought of how it might be repaid. Love can never be repaid. Love can only be freely given and freely received.

2. They will work to heal your old wounds and protect you from new wounds.

If you love someone, you must be the one who wipes away their tears, not the one who causes them! Love promotes healing for the past, peace for the present and protection for the future.

3. They will accept you at your worst while helping you become your best.

If someone really loves you, they won’t try to change you, but they also won’t let you settle for anything less that all God created you to be. Real love means being completely committed to someone even when they are being completely unlovable. If someone really loves you, they’ll believe in you even in those moments when you struggle to believe in yourself.

4. They will NEVER give up on you!

Love is rooted in commitment, not convenience. Love is a choice, not a feeling. If someone really loves you, their commitment to you will endure through any circumstances life throws your way.

God displays His love for us by doing each of these four actions, and He calls us to do the same for each other. If you’re not sure how begin. Here’s love in a nutshell (straight from the source):

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Let your life be led by love and you’ll always be headed in the right direction!

For more information about the world-changing work happening at Casa Shalom Orphanage, please “like” their facebook page here or you can also Visit their website here. (The picture below is me with some of the kids on my last visit to the orphanage).

For more ways to live a life of love, please check out my FREE video on The 7 Laws of Love and if you’re married or engaged, check out my book: iVow: Secrets to a Stronger Marriage.



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  • Bernice Yeboah

    Is indeed a relief to love or to be loved

  • What a tragic and beautiful story

  • Melissa

    Wow.This is awesome.Keep up the good work.God has a good plan for you!Never give up,never stop Loving one another.

  • Kim Williams

    I believe what you do is a beautiful thing and wish I could do it myself. I would be happy with just that.

  • Cathy green

    Hi pastor Dave !! I would really like to go visit and spend some time here …

  • That was a beautiful story. It so touched my heart. I’m still crying. I didn’t have as hard as a life as the little girl you spoke about but, it was hard. It made me not trust or love anyone. I’m 50 years old and married for the 5th time. God finally sent me someone to teach me how to love. So, in a way, I know how the little girl feels. I love your facebook page and all the positive info to keep my marriage going strong. Thank you so much.

  • Pamela

    This touched my heart to rhe core. Almost the same situation for me except I was never taken out of the home. It ended by his natural death, 10 yrs after it started. I truly found out what love really is when I found Jesus, and then he added all the others that I needed from there

  • Kristen

    beautiful! God bless!!! oxoxo

  • Virginia Phillips

    I was in a relationship for Three years with this guy and he told me the other daythat he did not wanna get married are you a go he said he wanted to marry me but I was just getting over a double knee replacement what she saw me through he’s always let me unconditionallybut for him to come straight out and tell me that she doesn’t love me anymore are they doesn’t wanna get married is what he said to me it’s very heartbroken I gotten off work today and came home the son that lives with me wasn’t hereI am on a small dose of medication for depression because of all the pain I had to live with with my knees for so many yearsI was struggling hard because I wanted to take all the pills are in that bottle I was crying him like about 3 hours and even after someone called me I was talkin to me my heart is so heavy and hurting I still want the pain to go away but I made it through the day and I was scrolling through Facebook I read the story I’m so sorry this girl is hurting the pain is still in my life for my boys because of divorce the fact we were homeless and the struggles that we have your after year that we go through.reading this article he matched all those sentences and paragraphsI am really confused at this moment and I know it right now theres alot of pain going on I know each of us have a different story and I’m sad to read about this little girl.

  • daniel livengood

    awesome!! and exactly right !! love is far more than an emotion it is act/s 🙂

  • Cheryl ramsey

    I love this story I come to guatemala several tines a year an would love to visit the children could you pls send me more information please thxs for sharing your story

  • Carolyn Wesley

    Beautiful. Truthful.

    Thank you for sharing ♥

  • Amanda de bernardino

    This is so amazing! I have been following your fb page for a long time and when I opened this article and saw “Casa shalom” I was confused. I translate for a married couple that are psychologists and they do workshops for the houseparents at Casa Shalom! ☺️ such a small world!

  • Amanda de bernardino

    Here is the home’s fb page. https://www.facebook.com/CasaShalom?ref=br_tf

    I live in Chimaltenango, what part of Guatemala do you visit?

  • Toast

    “The greatest of these is love.”

    …nuff said.

  • Dionne Phillips

    Hi Virginia

    I read your message and just wanted to encourage you. Well done for not taking too many tablets yesterday and for getting through the day. You may not have realised it, but it was your decision coupled with God’s strength that brought you through yesterday and will continue to bring you through each day as you lean on him and not your own understanding. It is agonisingly painful when someone we love breaks our heart and God is the only one who can heal that pain. Over the years, I have worked alongside many broken hearted people and most have looked back thanking God that they chose not to give up as the pain does ease…one day at a time

  • Susan Rabb

    Well I guess my husband doesn’t really love me. Does none of the 4. He says he always comes first.

  • Paula Williamson

    This story could have been my husband writing it working in an orphanage in Nicaragua.

  • elena

    I am completely blown away by this article. I know these things but somehow most times I don’t know how to put them into action. This article shows me just how to do it through God’s love for us. I struggle with a family member whom I try to show these things by example but they never listen – so I’m not going to give up. thank you for your work with these wonderful children.

  • Brandy Williams

    Wow i really love this it really means alot.

  • Michigan gal

    This prompts a question for me – what if “girl” loves “boy” in this way and won’t let go, but boy does not love girl in this same way and has told her as much? Does girl continue to never give up? Or move on with her life? I would suggest she moves on – wouldn’t she want to have boy with her only if he wanted her just as much? Regardless of my question, I want to thank you for your awesome ministry to these kids!

  • Sherry

    My husband & I have been married for over 30yrs and Wednesday he asked me for a secert divorce so we didn’t hurt the kids. I have been married to this man since I was 16 yrs old my whole adult life has him in it our kids are 23 yrs old and 18 yrs old I’ve been a wife and a mom for all this time I don’t know where to start no one wants to hire a 47 yrs old women who has never worked . My heart is broke he said he cared about me but couldn’t tell me the last time he loved me I feel so stupid how did I live all this time with someone who feels this way ? What am I going to do how am I going to take care of our kids we’re going to be in a box. I can’t talk to him everytime I look at him I burst into tears. I wrote my girls a letter each to take care of each other I’m not sure I’m going to make it.

  • Donna

    Wonderful illustration of love!

  • Paul

    Love is free but it is hard to find everyone has the ability to love if they learn what true love is all about. The only way to fknd out is through Jesus he is a perfect example of true love ,to be willing to lay down your life for anyone is pretty amazing. True love is to trust in something that would never harm you in any way or take advantage of you for there benefit or someone elses.A person who was never taught love would not be able to love unless they were shown what real love is,God is the true meaning of love.So if you are reading this then you know where to find true love,there is only one place to find it and that is through God and Jesus amen.

  • Tonya

    Dear Dave: I was a DFCS worker in Richmond County GA for 2 years, I investigated child abuse and between the horrific stories and paperwork I only lasted two years, then prompt has a slight nervous breakdown. I have several stories like the children you discuss, right here in Georgia, in the county over from you. All it takes is for someone to give a damn about a child, and they can turn the most difficult teen into the greatest kid with limitless potential. Keep praying for the defenseless ones, regardless of where they are located.

  • Erin Roberts

    I feel improved, enlightened, and touched after having read this. I have always believed love was a choice and a great gift you can give someone. I have chosen to love what some people have said were the wrong people to love. I disagree. Yes, the results, for some, were a little less than comfortable. However, everyone is deserving of love. It really is an amazing healing element and an eye opener for many. I understand why these very same people said that I shouldn’t have loved those chosen, they love me and that’s ok.

  • Ivanise Pereira

    That’s so very true!….

  • #4is why women stay in abusive relationships. The husband or wife in some cases do not love but uses and controls but the spouse truly lives and doesn’t want to give up.

  • Debra Orr

    I really agree with 4 ways to tell if someone loves you!!! Such great ways to tell. Pass this on.

  • Christina House

    Beautiful! I thought not just of my husband but of my amazing children God had blessed us with. Especially our sweet Irelynn who has over come so much in just the last few years at such a young age. Thank you for this one!

  • Terry Foster

    This is so sad and disappointing. Men must hold other men accountable for the safety of our women and children. We should be the protectors of the children. We should not to be what they fear! I am A father of 4 daughters with a wife and granddaughter. Young men must learn from their elders to be the solution, not the problem for our families. Thank you for this happy ending. T

  • Lori

    Where in Nicaragua is your orphanage? I live in Costa Rica, not far from the Nicaragua border.

  • Ruth Whealdon

    What an amazing message. Thank you for letting me know that there is always answered prayers. Love is the key.

  • Ash

    The story of this young lady is both tragic and beautiful. I’m certainly not negating that.

    However the premise of this article is about how to know if someone loves you, and the the fourth reason cited (The person will NEVER give up on you) is somewhat misleading. Certainly there may be situations in which an individual needs to end a relationship with another person, no matter how much love that individual has for the other. Personally I have had to make the decision to withdraw myself from several abusive men in my life (including my own dad who I love dearly but cannot maintain contact with) in order to maintain my own emotional and mental health. Love is not so simple that it can be reduced to a list of four bullet points. Check out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 instead.

  • dave willis

    The orphanage is actually in San Lucas, Guatemala. You can find more about “Casa Shalom” online at http://www.CasaShalom.net. They’re doing a great work for those kids!

  • Sara

    Hi Sherry,

    Your post has me worried. I hope you find the strength to get the help you need to make it through such an awful time in your life. God has bigger plans for you. There will be a company who will hire you. I promise you that you will make it through such a trying time.

  • Melissa

    Thank you so much for showing God’s love to the children. You bless the Lord in a mighty way with this selfless act of love. I love you.

  • Elsa

    I know. Somehow we never get the message that, “Oh yeah, he also has to love you the same way”. We are taught that if we don’t give up, eventually he will turn around, if we just say the right thing or do that one magical thing.
    But, I can take the article to be about parents and kids, or friends etc.. Still, it’s interesting. It’s about how to tell if someone really loves you, but then tells you if you love them, you’ll never give up. “Even if they don’t love you,” is implied. That’s a very confusing message.
    If you take #1 also, if we are to love without thought of repayment, then we stay in abusive relationships, whether with husbands, friends or even children. Where is the part where you protect yourself from harm?