Thursday, February 6, 2014

Real romance isn't dramatic. #truelovewins

In the 80s (my older friends may recall) there was a scene in the movie "Say Anything." When I was 19 I remember watching that movie, and thinking brokenhearted Lloyd standing in the yard of Diane Court holding up the boombox blaring Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" was just about the romantic thing I'd ever seen. Might be the most romantic thing until Rachel McAdams' "Allie" stood before Ryan Gosling's "Noah" shrugging her shoulders, holding her suitcase having broken her engagement to come back to her "one true love."

I love Say Anything and The Notebook. I think they are great movies. I'm a huge fan of the author Nickolas Sparks and I love his book The Notebook, and I love the story behind the story about when he sold The Notebook as his first novel. As entertainment goes, I came, I saw, I enjoyed. But I think this kind of entertainment has created a problem for a lot of folks - women in particular, and YOUNG women without question. (Though let me be clear, men are definitely not immune.)

I look around at young people - sometimes from much too close a view, and I watch them CREATING "drama" in their lives. What they actually create is conflict, because they have this misconception that "conflict" is where romance is birthed. I'm not saying it's a new problem, this perception of conflict creating romance. Old Bill Shakespeare even followed the method as far back as when the Montagues and Capulets created "star-crossed lovers" out of Romeo and his beloved Juliet. But they believe that without the conflict, the romance isn't real.

It's honestly an addiction. It's the movies, the gothic novels, the TV programs, the music - all of it. It all says romance is a castle built over pain. The Twilight girl having to choose between the two boys, vampire vs werewolf, I think? (I don't know, I won't watch, that's another soapbox for another day.) We've created this soap opera mentality where cheating and sneaking is a turn on, and making a man fight for your love makes you special. Girls are tying guys up in knots with their "I love you, I hate you, I'm mad at you, I forgive you, earn my forgiveness so I can snatch it back" roller coaster.

Can I just say, after 44 years of marriage, almost 23 - more than half - of them married, the romance is NOT in the conflict. Nobody is going to pay $8 to see a movie about my life. No one wants to watch a couple fuddy duddy middle aged, not-so-beautiful people live life, pray mortgages and raise three kids. No one is going to even pay the $5 matinee price to see a man and a woman work out the daily living of "for better, for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health." But that my friends, is EXACTLY where the real romance lives. No, that's exactly where the real romance FLOURISHES.

It's the hand that reaches across the center console and entangles its fingers into mine while three obnoxious kids are arguing about who touched who in the back seat. Real romance is when a husband does the dishes because he knows you're tired after cooking dinner. That's romantic, it's even sexy. Heck, it's down right hot.

Sometimes there is conflict. It happens, it's a part of life - but in the real romance every effort is made to get on the same side of the conflict. No, not a "you and me against the world" kind of move like Romeo and Juliet made, I'm not talking about more drama, but I am talking about when as a couple and life comes against you, jobs are lost, disease invades, financial or personal devastation attacks - that's when the romance of linking arm in arm happens when you say to one another, "We're in this together." And your determination is whatever happens as you fight your way THROUGH the conflict (together not against each other) on the other side you are determined to still be arm in arm.

It's funny - in the media's perception of romance, that's where all the conflict and drama are glorified. And it seems to me it's rampant in the young dating world (which by the way is why I am totally against dating in high school). Promiscuity comes across as hot, people are in a hurry to take relationship to the "hot and heavy" level as quickly as possible - it intensifies their misconstrued idea of romance. And it leaves a messy wake behind - broken hearts, unwed mothers, promiscuous lifestyles-- because once you open that door a first time, it is so so so easy to open it again, and again, and again... each time believing this next guy, he is the one. Meanwhile your heart slowly unravels and is tattered and worn. It starts simple and sweet, but our misconstrued ideas of what romance is never let it rest there anymore.

The faster we move, the harder we fall, the greater the fight... the more romantic the whole thing is.


That's not romance, it's not even fun. And it without question, NOT LOVE.

But on they go, creating the conflict, calling it romantic. That same kind of "romance" so many people (women, nay young women) seem drawn to today that gets later redefined as "irreconcilable differences" on the divorce papers a few years later.

People need to get a reality check about what true romance really looks like. I always found it interesting that Christ's crucifixion is referred to as His "Passion." Passion is the best root of real romance. No, not the passion of heat that causes couples to go too far, but the passion like Christ that puts another persons best interest, their care and well-being before their own. It's a part of the "Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself" command that God gives us.

Real romance waits, and doesn't rush.

Real romance cares, and is kind and compassionate.

Real romance forgives and doesn't hold the other person's mistakes up over their head.

Real romance serves and puts the other person's needs, real needs, SPIRITUAL and EMOTIONAL needs ahead of their own wants and desires (especially those physical ones that have a way of creeping up in the hot and heavy.)

Real romance honors and respects, real romance has attitudes and actions that match up with the words it speaks.

But the greatest REAL ROMANCE will always be a party of three. Christ will always be at the head and center of a REAL ROMANCE. And it will always be about how He is glorified and honored in the process. Too much, too hard, too fast - always indicates TOO LITTLE of Jesus.

So if you're out there, and your relationship might make a great movie, you might want to sit down and really take stock, because it may very well be that it's not making for a great life at all, most especially not a life that is reflecting the love of Christ and the heart of God.

Because real romance, you will always find Jesus right on the throne of it.