I love a good love story.
It’s a pretty simple formula really – boy meets girl, something gets in the way, boy ends up with girl. You might recognise this formula behind some of the familiar fairy tales.
Cinderella meets the handsome prince; her stepmother and step sisters get in the way; the prince finds her and they live happily ever after.
Snow White meets the handsome prince; her evil stepmother tries to kill her; the prince wakes her from death with a kiss and they live happily ever after.
The Little Mermaid meets the prince; her fins and missing voice and the other woman get in the way (sorry, I only know the Disney version); the prince kisses her and they live happily ever after.
I think the problem with many fairy tales and romance stories (whether it be movie or book) is that they sell the idea that meeting the right guy and falling in love equates to lifelong happiness, but this is rarely the case.
I’m sure there are probably rare examples out there of couples who have never said a bad word to each other and have butterflies in their stomach every time they see each other, but from what I’ve seen, this is the exception rather than the rule.
I believe that love is more than a feeling you have for someone. Of course, it is important to have feelings, but love is much deeper than that. 1 Corinthians 13 says that ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails’.
What I see when I read these verses is that love isn’t just something that ‘happens’ to you. Love is an action. It is a choice every day to love the other person, even if they don’t deserve it sometimes.
I’m a terrible gardener. I buy plants and then I kill them. I don’t mean to, but I forget to water them and they wither and die. Relationships based just on feelings are a bit like the dead pot plants sitting by my front door. I start with the best intentions, but once the water dries out, the plants wither and die. In contrast, relationships based on true love (like that described in 1 Corinthians) will thrive and blossom because they have an endless supply of sustenance.
So, while I do love a good love story, I also know that love takes a lot of care and nurturing to become the kind of love that lasts a lifetime.