When I wrote this post I was eyeball deep in some heavy theology. Seeing as my brain was pretty much fried from all that reading, I put away my usual reading material for some easy fluffy chick lit. You know the kind: boy meets girl, love at first sight (even if they don’t realise it!!), cue obstacle, obstacle, obstacle. Against all odds they end up together and live happily ever after.
Sigh. If only life were that simple.
But I am a firm believer that all our human expressions (songs, movies, books, tv shows) can teach us something about what it means to be human. And romantic novels are no exception. It was probably after my 4th or 5th novel that I realised a pattern. I had read a number of different authors so I was surprised to see them share the same pattern.
All the male characters had one thing in common (besides their devastatingly good looks – is there any novel where the guy just looks… well, you know… normal?) – they wanted nothing from the female heroine except for herself.
They loved her for being her.
Not for what she looked like. Not for what she could do for them. Not for how she cooked or how she took care of them. No matter what it cost them – moving large distances, losing their careers, ending friendships – they just wanted her. Because she, in herself, was worth it.
What’s the appeal?
It made me wonder about the wide appeal of these novels. Perhaps it’s the unconditional love displayed by these male characters. It tells us that deep in our human nature is the belief that we have worth. It tells us that we have a value simply for being ourselves, not just in what we can do for others. It tells us that we are worthy of love – the kind of love that asks for nothing back.
Perhaps this is the appeal of love stories – that selfless, ‘forever’ love exists. And we’re allowed to hope to find it. Perhaps that’s why we share inspirational stories of love on facebook (the wife who cares for her terminally ill husband; the husband who does not leave his wife after a horrific accident that leaves her incapable of taking care of herself; etc.).
You were made for amazing love
You’re longing for it. I am. We all are. Because this is the love we are created for. The truth is that selfless, forever kind of love does not just belong in books and movies and inspirational facebook links. This is the kind of love we should all experience in our everyday lives. We were made in the image of love, and it is love that we crave: real, authentic, I love you no matter what kind of love.
How do we find it?
The first step is to recognise that we deserve it. This can be the hardest part of all. When we recognise we deserve to be loved unconditionally, we turn to the One who always loves us unconditionally. Only then can we accept what love others may offer us. The love we find here on earth may not be perfect but it reflects perfection. We need to let God make up what is lacking.
Think about that the next time you read a seemingly fluffy love story. Why are you reading it? What’s going on in the story that you desire for yourself?
Question: What about men in real life? What does this mean for them? Is it an unfair standard for them to be expected to live up to? You can comment by clicking here.