by Leah Nichols
You know you’ve done it.
You’ve dreamed about a dashing romantic hero who will sweep you off your feet and take you away from the dullness of everyday life. Far away from the boredom of the mundane, you will delight in the continuous excitement of true love!
‘Course, there are many, many ways this scene can play out. It’s as unique as your own life, colored by the different experiences you’ve had and the people you’ve met.
For instance, you just might find yourself on a cruise ship in the middle of the north Atlantic Ocean, and a handsome young man discovers how beautiful you are. Amidst chaos and confusion, as the ship begins to sink, the two of you run away from the crowds to steal a desperate kiss.
Or, you may be listening to a radio program and hear the sorrowful voice of a young widower, struggling to survive the loss of his beloved wife. Strangely compelled to write to this man, you send off a letter inviting him to meet you on top of the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day for a second chance at love.
Even better, you risk your own life rescuing a young man who was thrown in front of a subway train. Sitting by his side, as he remains in a coma at the hospital, you gradually fall in love with his rugged older brother, who’s more suited for you than you ever imagined.
Take your pick – there’s even the slim, but plausible, chance that a young European prince would choose your college for some undergraduate work in an attempt to discover the ins and outs of American lifestyle. Instead, he falls hard for the “girl next door” who’s not even expecting love.
Um, yeah. If these plots sound vaguely familiar, it’s because they are. All of these situations have been presented as a wonderful ideal of romance and true love, made to sell us on the idea of love being all you need. Hollywood does a great job of that, ignoring the fact, of course, that fifty percent (or more) of marriages based on love continue to end tragically in divorce.
Maybe you have observed or even suffered as a casualty of divorce, shaken to your core, trying to reconcile the romantic dreams you desire with the harsh reality of a broken world. Every guy you meet is held to an impossible standard – the perfect romantic hero who will never desert his lover. Well, if he doesn’t meet the standard, you can’t possibly be hurt by him, right?
Right. You also might find it difficult to get married, though. Guys are like that – they want to be the hero, so if they aren’t, they probably won’t stick around!
What does a real relationship consist of? Let’s pick a more authoritative source this time. How about the Bible?
And He [Jesus] answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He Who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (NKJV)
Wait a minute….where’s the part about the dashing romantic hero? What about flowers, and chocolate, and candlelit dinners? I don’t even see anything about true love!
Maybe that’s because marriage is more than love – it’s about two becoming one. It’s about serving your guts out to make life easier for the other. It’s about faithfulness in the midst of trials. It’s about better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health.
What’s going to happen after the honeymoon? Working, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, changing diapers, disciplining children, serving on committees, corralling teenagers, saving for retirement….etc. etc. etc. There will be vacations and romance, sure, but a whole lot of work in between. Plus, you will have a 24/7 accountability partner to observe every single sin and weakness in your own life.
If you can find a man who’s willing to go through this with you, then you have found a treasure, and true love, even without the swelling orchestral strains and softened camera angles! A committed, real friendship will long outlast the short-lived emotions of romance.
What does it mean to go through life together? To become one flesh? Paul said it best:
“This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:32 NKJV
What did Christ do for us? He laid down his life so we might be saved. If there’s ever a romantic hero, this is it! What does (or should) the church do for Christ? We give our lives for His glory.
You can hold out for a dashingly romantic story, to be swept off your feet and drawn into the rapturous songs of love. Or, maybe you can ground yourself down to earth, and keep your eye out for a friend who wants to walk this journey of life together with you. If you are willing to give your life for another, to serve, rather than to be served, then love will find you.
Even if it’s just a little bit different than your dreams!
Leah writes in her spare time….whenever it’s available. She and her husband Ryan live in the greater Los Angeles area, where she works as a labor/delivery nurse, writing and playing the violin on the side. She also enjoys cooking, baking, walking, and reading blogs on the internet.