Don't Know Much About Romantic Love
by Jenny Fulton
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While restlessly browsing through some e-harmony articles, I came across an article that was along the lines of a ďDump him ifÖĒ list. Most of the ďbewareísĒ seemed pretty logical, such as, dump him if he still lives with his ex. No, really? I rolled my eyes or nodded in acknowledgment of the sense made by one tip after another, until I came to one that suggested that if he says this: ďIíve actually never been in a serious or long-term relationship,Ē itís not a good sign. At this point, I tipped my head back and howled with laughter in my sparsely furnished three bedroom house. Still laughing, I decided to read on to discover the reasoning as to why this was a bad thing to hear. ďUnless you are both twenty, this is a sign that he may either have commitment issues or another yet-to-be-revealed personality flaw. By the time most of us are in our thirties, we have some sort of love experiences under our belt.Ē What kind of psycho-analysis would this author perform on me? Iím 27 and Iíve never been in a serious or long-term relationship.
Like many other single women in this same age bracket and relationship status (Iíve spoken with plenty), I have spent more hours than Iíd like to admit trying to figure out why my experiences with romance seem to be contained to watching or reading about someone elseís.
Is it because unfortunate events from my past have caused me to flinch when Iím unexpectedly touched by a man?
Is it because I have perfected the ďback-offĒ body language? Is it because I seem to be so comfortable and easy to talk to when I do trust a guy that I move too quickly into ďfriendĒ status?
Is it because Iím not flirty enough?
Is it because Iíve moved around too much? Am not willing to move around enough? Is it because Iím too energetic? Not energetic enough? Too modest? Not modest enough? And I wonít even start on the appearance factorsÖ
The list can go on forever and I feel its threatening pull towards frustration and depression.
When I finally get ahold of myself, though, I realize Iíve never felt unloved. This is the kind of love I know:
I know the love of a father and mother who have always loved me, taught me everything they know, and done everything they can to protect me, and then placed me in the hands of a Heavenly Father to carry me to places they arenít able to come.
I know the love of sisters who can lead completely different lives and still maintain an inseparable connection.
I know the love of a God who began teaching me at a young age how to feel compassion and love for a neighborhood girl who consistently bullied me for years.
I know the love He gives that goes against all reason; this crazy love that allows you to see everything negative and hate-worthy about a situation, and still love everyone and everything about it. Itís a love thatís heartbreaking and heart-lifting at the same time. Itís exhausting and in constant need of replenishing from the Giver. I canít control it, only ask for, receive, and give it away.
So, I donít know much about romantic love. And maybe I never will. But from where Iím standing, and from the love I am experiencing, I have a hard time believing that this romantic love is any better than the love I do know. I imagine this unknown love is probably very good, and definitely different, but better?
After all of this, I feel a need to retract my former statement. Iím 27 and I have been in serious, long-term relationships. I take my relationships with Jesus Christ, my family, and all those He has given me to love, very seriously. With His strength in love, Iím praying for all of these relationships to last for eternity.
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