"Real love waits in the snow on your front porch so you can walk to school together in the fifth grade. It brings you a chocolate bar when you fall and finish last in the seventh grade Olympics.
Real love whispers something in the middle of algebra about your pink fingernail polish so that you don’t forget how to smile when you’re doing math, and it saves a seat for you in the lunchroom every Friday through high school. Even when the other baseball players think you’re stupid.
Real love has time to listen to your hopes and dreams when your parents are too busy with the PTA or the auxiliary club or the business they run at the local bank.
Real love stays up late on a Saturday making chocolate chip cookies together, flicking flour at you and getting eggshells in the batter and making sure you’ll remember that night the rest of your life. And real love thinks you’re pretty even when your hair is pulled back in a ponytail and you don’t stand perfectly straight."
I was reading a book by one of my favorite authors, Karen Kingsbury, and came across these lines. To say that they hit hard would be an understatement. Because really, when was real love ever that simple. Or rather, when did we make love so complicated? Caught up in rules and dos and don'ts and expectations, a relationship has become more of a game that the one who cares less wins.
And somehow, along the way, love has become a set of rules one has to fit into. Now I'm not saying I'm an advocate of relationships before the season of singlehood, but I'm not saying I'm against it either. If there is a student couple in church, wouldn't it be better that they be guided into the relationship with God as the center and then they decide for themselves wherever God leads them rather than judging them and they end up rebelling and walking away? Of course there is wisdom from the elderly and godly counsel from leaders, but there isn't anyone to judge that what the younger couples have are any less true.
However, here's another point I'd like to leave out there: real love waits. And like any other Christian girl, I have read a Genesis 29 with a prayer that someone out there will wait for me the same way Jacob waited for Rachel. As it was written, "Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her." And of course there were 7 more years afterwards because of the situation with Leah (I suggest you go read your bible if you're not familiar with what I'm talking about) for a total of 14 years. FOURTEEN YEARS, believe it. And sweetheart, you are worth waiting. You are worth laboring for and praying for - even that long.
And here's the thing in any kind of platonic or romantic relationship: it doesn't have to be so dramatic. Some people want so much emotional roller coasters and "passion" that the value of commitment gets lost along the way. I repeat, love does not have to be complicated. Of course, that's very idealistic and there will be disagreements and misunderstandings - but that's totally normal. You don't need a full-out telenovela-worthy love story filled with gunshots and run-ways. And I'm not saying it's about the kilig moments and the walks in the park. But it is about being aligned to God's will, keeping yourselves accountable, and living out a 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love.
And of course, always always go back to Christ's example of true love: death on the cross. Whether you're waiting for someone or trying to forgive a friend or understanding a parent, it boils down to Christ's perfect love. Because, to top it off with one last Karen Kingsbury line, "real love lets you figure out the answers by yourself. It says good-bye for a season and prays for your return. Real love understands about love and sacrifice and is willing to live accordingly."
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Real love isn't possessive and selfish that wants right now. It isn't a race of good-looking Maseratis about who will get to the finish line first, because then you'd just crash and burn. Real love doesn't have to be complicated. Real love is this: it is so purely beautiful that it never ends.