In response to a post on my daughter's blog, I started thinking about romance. Kendra wrote about how she has romantic notions of love, but is somewhat apprehensive about the real thing. I think that is because as a society we have put too much stock in it. We pretend that the fluttery butterflies in our stomachs are the symptom that we are "in love". Sometimes we confuse sex for romance, in our sex-saturated culture - it is the message of soap operas, romance novels, and many movies. And then once the butterflies are gone, the relationship ends and our hearts that were never meant to be given away so freely, are shattered. Or worse, they're not and we move on looking for the next feeling.
I remember the moment it occurred to me, and it changed me forever. I had been on bedrest throughout most of my pregnancy with Kendra. I spent hours and hours and hours everyday watching a little black and white television, which was my only form of entertainment during the long hours of the day. Daytime TV in the 90s, without cable consisted of talk shows (in the Donahue era no less!) and soap operas. I got hooked on the soaps. As two toddlers slowly took over my life, I had less and less time for them. One day out of the blue, and I know it was from the Lord, I saw them as a poison. They were feeding me a scenario that was not realistic. A bunch of plastic people were going from relationship to relationship chasing the butterflies, giving up their bodies, and sacrificing their hearts. I realized that watching the soaps were affecting my expectations of my husband - the hard working man who would come in covered with dirt contrasted starkly with rich playboys with nothing better to do than womanize. And that day I decided - and I have.never.watched.them.again. Period.
I am proud of Kendra - she is wanting God's best. I have talked to her about not putting too much stock in "romance" and the stuff of fairy tales that no guy can live up to. Guarding her heart does not mean putting it in a steel box and never allowing anything or anyone to touch it. Song of Songs tells us not to "awaken love too soon". Really loving somebody is a process. I am having trouble navigating her through this as I gave my heart away freely and often as a teenager. But the Lord is the best teacher. I am going to keep pointing her to Him. He wrote the best Love Story of them all - He can surely author the one He has for her life as well.