My husband recently preached a sermon on marriage. Afterwards, a young man came up to him and told him it was a good sermon, but he didn't think romantic love could really exist. More and more people of this generation are thinking like this, and I think it warrants discussion.
What do we mean by romantic love? Is it the fluttery heart and magical infatuation that most romantic comedies are based on? Because that most definitely is not something to believe in. That most definitely is a lie. If you want to get jaded about something, by all means attack that.
I have a sneaking suspicion that this person who does not believe in romantic love is speaking out of hurt.
These women who hurt you, did they do so out of a lack of faith in love? Did they not follow their hearts enough?
No. People hurt others in relationships not out of failure of love, but of failure of character. When you fail to respect the other person fully, to guard their reputation, to protect their decency, to leave the appropriate distance in place until you are ready to commit, that's when people get hurt.
Romantic love does not thrive on magic or feeling, it thrives on covenant. The promise to care for someone always, then actually doing it. Always. Even when you don't feel like it. If you're not willing to do that for someone, stay away. If you don't, you're just using them. That's the big problem with our culture's notion of romantic love. It's rooted in selfishness.
Let's take one of the biggest 'sermons' on love, the movie "The Notebook." Boy meets girl, they get all infatuated, they cross boundaries before the commitment is in place, then they get separated. During the course of the story, boy starts sleeping with his best friend's widow and casts her aside as soon as he has another chance at girl 1. Where is the honor in that? Girl 1 gets engaged to someone else but throws it all away to spend a naked weekend with boy. She didn't even bother to break off the engagement first. I'm supposed to believe that such selfish honor-less children make it through the years to become the sweet old people at the end? Nope.
This is preaching that we don't need strength of character, we don't need to keep our word no matter what, and we don't need to respect the boundaries of others. We just need to figure out the object of our selfishness and destroy all else to serve that. Their idea of love is a sort of feeling, and “I feel like it” is not a good enough reason to ruin someone’s life.
So to those who are jaded in their view of love, I get you. Please by all means disbelieve in most portrayals of romantic love. Go ahead. Write it off.
If you can manage to believe in men and women of character, then maybe true love is possible.
“It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer