Best Romance Here!

So, when the girl who first started blogging about singleness and waiting and fairytales and the like hasn’t talked about relationships for months, you should probably see it coming. Also, you can blame it on the holidays and all those people who say that it sucks to be single this time of year. (Side Note: I have never and will never agree with that statement. It’s always great to be single. Except when you’re not.)

You read about relationships everywhere. I was on facebook the other day and saw an ad with the line, “You can’t leave. I will make you my bride.” The ad boasted “Best Romance Here!”

Seriously? That’s the best you’ve got? Because it sounds sort of creepy/stalker-ish to me.

But maybe I’m a skeptic. After all, I held onto the adage that “boys are icky” until the age of 13 16 21. I’m not the kind of girl to swoon at cliched movie lines. And maybe that’s not fair of me. After all, I’ve never been the recipient of one of those cliches (at least, not seriously). And since I’ve watched far more practical people fall prey to cupid’s arrows, it’s hard for me to assume that I would be immune to cheesy lines like that.

In fact, there was this one time that a friend—a friend!—whom I swapped states with over Christmas suggested that we could wave as we passed on the highway. I stared at the comment on my computer screen, teary-eyed, until my mom thought she was going to have to track down a thermometer. If the first three months of homesickness could do that to me, I hate to think what might happen when a guy shows up in my life.

Yes, I should probably stop laughing because, one day, Prince Cheesy is going to come along and sweep me off my feet with an endless barrage of cliches.

But mostly, it’s not the cliches that bother me. Sure, those are the lines at which I roll my eyes and say, “Oh, puh-leese,” but the lines that really get to me are the ones that are meant to be romantic and turn out to be more suggestive and degrading. Those are the ones that make me wonder if we’ve somehow cheapened love.

We’ve evolved past the “helpless heroines” of the fairytales and crafted stories better suited to our culture. And we call those love-at-first-sight one-night-stands romantic.

Sometimes I’ll watch a movie like Shall We Dance? and I’ll think that Hollywood finally got it right. When I hear Susan Sarandon talk about why people get married, I think, “Yes, yes, yes. That’s what I want. I want someone to care about the good things and the bad things and the mundane things, and I want to care about his mundane things, too.”

The problem with our world is that we’ve tried to make love all about us—what we want and need and feel. That’s why divorce is so prevalent in our culture. When the other person fails us, we give up, wondering what went wrong. I’ll tell you what went wrong. We’ve strayed from God’s command to selflessly love and have taught ourselves to love selfishly. We’ve made it so that it was never about the other person at all.

We feed each other lines and lyrics that are sprinkled with cliches, but hold back the one thing the other most desperately needs from us: Love. We clutch it with our fingertips and catch it on our tongues because the word seems almost foreign tumbling from our lips.

Love. The real kind. The genuine version. The one that revolves around the other person rather than me. That’s what I want to offer the world. And if it’s not too much to ask, that’s what I’d like to one day be returned to me.

A God Who Loves

Christianity is the only religion that is centered around a God who loves. Maybe the thought that a God who created the heavens and the earth and everything in it is too much for people to handle. I’ll admit that it can be pretty mind-boggling at times, but I’ve learned to accept it. I figure that if God loves me as much as the Bible says He does,  He probably wants me to accept His love. How would you feel if someone never accepted the love you extended to them?

Before I ever learned to dance with Jesus, I witnessed another person’s dance with Him. Some friends of my family (a married couple portraying Jesus and His bride) were going to dance for their church, and I was able to watch them practice. I guess my heart has always secretly longed for this dancing relationship with God because I was enraptured by the beauty and romance of this dance. In the end, they were asked to re-choreograph their dance because it was “too intimate” to be performed in church. Too intimate? Jesus is very intimate. Ephesians 5 talks about how marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. Could God explain Himself as being any more intimate? Traces of His romantic love are scattered throughout the Scripture. It could take me all day to pull out every reference regarding God’s immensely intimate love for us, but I’ll leave you with this one thought from Hosea 2:19-20:

I will betroth you to Me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.

Those are God’s words – His promise to us. Maybe that promise doesn’t capture your heart like it does mine.  Maybe you aren’t moved by verse 15 where God says we will call Him “my husband.” And maybe your heart won’t leap when you browse down to verse 23 where God says He will show love to the one He called “Not my loved one.” Maybe your heart isn’t stirred by the fact that God has called you “His people,” but I know that mine sure is. And sometimes it makes me feel like dancing.