All that Flutters Is not Love
A few thoughts from Nate Saint

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

In the book Jungle Pilot, but Russell T. Hitt, the author quotes from a letter Nate wrote to his younger brother Ben (pp.186-188).

"You recall the acute infatuation I suffered for several years. As I see it now, it was the result of suggestion. I was teased about Alice before I even knew who she was. One notes, too, the fascination one experiences with the unknown, or rather for the unknown. We meet a girl, exchange a few pleasantries and then go our way, free to imagine all sorts of wonderful things about the lovely creature we have just met. The phantom belle of our imagination can become so real that it excludes from our observation the basic facts of married life and of daily and lifelong compatibility.

"While convinced that I loved Alice, I met Marj [later to become his wife]. And because of the conviction that our friendship was only 'brother and sister' in nature, I was not blinded to Marj as a capable, sensible, likable girl. Nor would I have been blind to her faults. I was free to appreciate her in a sound and sensible way. I grew to admire Marj greatly. It wasn't the light, fluttery feeling in the upper chamber of the was solid head-to-toe assurance that the fellow who married her would be a fortunate man. I found I wanted to see her married...felt that it would be a tremendous loss to some needy man if she ever remained single.

"Time came when Alice and I became informally engaged by mail while I was in lower Mexico. On my way home from Mexico, I had to pass through Los Angeles and elected to tell Marj personally - although I had written to her earlier - of my engagement and to suggest again that it would be more proper that we continue not to correspond.

"When I told her she understood, smiled, and wished be God's blessing through a few tears. When I left her, we just said good-by. She turned and walked toward the nurses' residence, and I headed toward downtown Los Angeles and thence to Philadelphia. But I'll tell you, Ben, I had a lump in my throat like a football. I wanted to bawl like a baby. I even talked to myself, at moments audibly. I said, 'Son, you've just said good-by to a wonderful girl.' I repeated it in a way that was incongruous with my supposed exclusive love for Alice.

"I was like a lad suddenly leaving the security of mother earth, headed for an unknown life in an unknown atmosphere on the moon. I had thrown the switch and was on my bewildered way. There was no proper turning back. I had made my decision and I must stick by it. I was not exactly sorry, not consciously anyway. I guess I just felt that it was a shame to have to terminate such a wonderful, mature friendship just because I was going to get married...

"Looking back on it now, Ben, I recognize that flutter as more associated with sex than anything else. It should be said here that sex has a God-ordained place in love clearly. But sex is the flower, not the root. Love is the root that sustains and supports the stem and the leaf, and blossoms out to the flower. The divine order is love first, then sex. The human order is sex first (even in the limited plane of natural attractiveness without any abuse of propriety), and then true love. And for the Christian, if it doesn't turn to true love, woe, woe to that condemned soul. We should be more concerned with the root...

"Don't get me wrong. I'm not condemning sex. God made it and it is sanctified to sincere believers...

"Few young fellows contemplating marriage realize the extent to which sex drives a man. The fellow who has no other reason for living with a woman for the succeeding twenty years finds himself condemned 'until death do us part.' They should enjoy fellowship, friendship, help, support, sacrifice, collaboration, etc. It is in terms of these factors that love must be measured."


Editor's note: Thankfully, Nate's engagement to Alice was broken off and he did marry Marj in the end, much to the joy and pleasure of them both.

It is important to see that most or all of what is written here can just as easily be applied to the young women considering marriage. The flutter of infatuation instead of the solid knowledge of a person is all too likely to govern choices in the matter. This is something we should resist by the grace of God and through His strength. Ephesians 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,


background and graphics by Mary Stephens
updated 2020