Love Is Not a Fairytale

Posted by Amy on February 13, 2014, 7:00 am

I admit it: I’m a hopeless romantic. Years ago, nothing delighted me more than watching romantic comedies, listening to sappy love songs, and sighing over cute guys, dreaming that maybe--just maybe--one day a gallant stranger would waltz into my life and sweep me off my feet the way it happens in Disney movies.

Older and wiser, I now know that’s not what happens.

Does that sound depressing? It’s actually the opposite! I’m here to tell you love is much more than what society often tells us. That’s encouraging news!

What Disney movies, rom coms, TV shows, and other media often perpetuate is harmful because it gives us unrealistic expectations of love, expectations including, but not limited to: it will be “love at first sight” and you’ll “just know”; it will be sheer bliss, without any problems; there’s “The One” out there who is meant for you (as if your love is predestined and completely out of your control!). They also tend to promote objectification of people, lack of commitment, and decisions based purely on emotion. That’s not love at all--that’s infatuation. What’s the difference? Love lasts; infatuation burns out. Love heals; infatuation hurts.

So where are we to look for an example of what love truly is and how we should handle relationships? We should look to God’s love for us. He loved us into being. He sent His Son to die for us and save us, even when we were unworthy. In light of this, I offer the following statements about love:

1. Love is sacrifice.
   “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13

Wait--sacrifice? That doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? But think about it. When you love someone, it’s not about you. You want what’s best for them. You are committed to doing what will
bring about their ultimate good. That often entails doing something that maybe isn’t so pleasant for you; it may even be dreadfully painful. But just look at the unfathomable beauty and gifts that can come from such a sacrifice.

2. Love is not a feeling.
Ah yes, the proverbial butterflies in your stomach. Let me tell you, they don’t last. Does that sound unromantic? It’s actually not. If love were purely an emotion, that would mean someone has no choice but to love you--they just couldn’t “help but feel that way.” But since love is not a feeling, it means someone is actively choosing to love you. I can’t think of anything more romantic than that.

3. Love is unconditional.
This means love is given freely, without expecting anything in return. You can’t earn it. True love looks upon you and sees your flaws, frailty, and wickedness and says, “I love you anyway.”

Alright, enough talk. Let’s see this sacrificial love in action in a real couple today. (You might want to have some tissues ready. It’s a tearjerker--in a good way!)

Love isn’t the handsome stranger on a white horse whose kiss will bring you back to life; it’s the one who consistently puts your needs above their own, especially when times get tough.

Love isn’t the surge of excitement or the butterflies in your stomach; it’s the daily choice to commit yourself to serving another long after those emotions have faded.

Love can’t be reduced to saccharine songs, syrupy words and candy hearts--it must be elevated to the One from whom it came.

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

Photo credit: Kumar Appaiah

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