Is Love Supposed to be Hard?

Today, I received a message from a follower in which she asked the following,

“I need you to be completely honest with me. I feel like I’ve grown up my whole life (in the church) being told that being in love is pure bliss and happiness. ‘You’ll know when you find the one.’ And this year especially I have gone through so much heart break and confusion. Love is hard…right? I guess in some twisted way I feel discouraged when I see how happy you are with Michael because I only see the happy pictures. Some of the best moments. I’m not a 12 year old girl looking for Mr. Perfect anymore. I don’t want a fairy tale… I just need some reassurance that it’s not always smiles and that true love takes blood, sweat, and tears. Not just in waiting for the right man to come along, but in fighting with and beside that person when they do come! What are some general things that you are willing to ‘put up with’ because he is worth it? Anything?”

I share this with you because I’m guessing that many of you have the same questions. There are a lot of people that say that love is hard, but then all these other people talk about how love is so wonderful, and they look so happy! What’s the deal? I want to give some clarity to the confusion.

I’m going to start by saying this: when you are dating the person that is right for you, you do know, and it is easy. Yes, there are little sacrifices now, like sacrificing my schedule, or my plans, or my wants, or my wishes, saying yes to things I may not always feel like doing, and saying “I’m sorry” for stupid things I have said or done. But these are all very easy things to do for someone that you love.

Let me be clear that I am talking about dating. Marriage is a whole different level. Marriage, I can only imagine, is work: overlooking bad habits or bad moods, tackling financial obstacles, working together toward a future, making big decisions, facing health problems, enduring the every day grind, living life with a person who doesn’t necessarily have to impress you all the time. That’s when love gets real, and messy, and commitment is so so important-not only to one another, but to God, and to handling each and every problem according to God’s standards. Commitment sustains love. Not the other way around. Marriage takes a lot more work than I am qualified to even tell you, because I have never been married.

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But love? and dating? Let me tell you, I have had my share of blood, sweat, and tears, and pain, and hard times, but not one minute of it was because of Michael. I waited a long time for him, and I dated a lot of crappy guys, some of which you know about, and they caused those hard times in my life. Was it love? Honestly, at this point, I don’t know and I don’t care. All I know is that when the right one comes along, it makes everything clear. When you see and feel what “right” truly is, it sheds a bright light on just how wrong everyone else was.

When you’re dating someone, and maybe even after you’ve broken up, you may think that person is right for you. Even after they have made you sad, and hurt, and struggle, and fight, you may think that after all, love is hard, right? And the answer is plainly, no.

Get this. Dating and being in love should be the best thing that has ever happened to you. Why? Because it’s only going to get harder AFTER you are married. It’s not going to get easier.

If you can’t get along with someone while you still have to impress them and they have to impress you, if you fight all the time, if you’re not happy with them, if you feel like you need to go to counseling while you are just dating, then RUN! It is only going to get harder. Marriage will magnify every “problem” you think you have now. Everyone’s relationship is different, but the one thing they all should have in common is that the hardest thing about it should be being apart from the one you love.

It’s true. True love will stretch you, and you will grow and learn in ways you never knew were possible. True love can heal you of all your past hurts and pains and hard times because they just don’t matter any more. True love fills you to the brim, but empty for words because the peace and joy it brings is indescribable.

When I post pictures of Michael and I and talk about how happy I am, I’m not lying. We have our little arguments here and there (which mostly consist of me being overly sensitive about something he didn’t mean to say or do), but Michael is the kindest person I’ve ever known, and being in love with him is the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Don’t be discouraged when you look at those around you who are happy in love, be encouraged, that love, true love, awaits you too. You will find the one who does right, and submits to God, and loves you the way you need to be loved, and it will be easily be the best day ever.

 

 

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13 comments

  1. Wow you hit the nail on the head again Lauren ! 🙂 I am a single 27 year old waiting for that “Mr. Right” I have never dated, have been asked but never felt they were the right ones, I don’t do practice dating. 🙂 I can relate to your reader, you see Hollywood’s version of love everywhere and makes you long for prince charming to sweep you off your feet…. then you see the flip side that makes you say Singledom isn’t so bad 🙂
    I have watched my dear brother be chased by a girl & ended up dating her for two years … Long miserable years for family included , & he admitted that the bad times usually out weighed the good. I agree 100% not a good sign,( not from experience but that should be happy blissful times)! They broke up but the sad news is she’s still been after him & it looks like they’ll be together again soon 😦 thank you so much for your encouraging words for us single girls & congratulations on your engagement !!! I like the happy pictures 🙂 One book that helped me a lot was “Love Quest” by Elizabeth Elliott. Looking forward to hearing more from you !! Thanks again God bless

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  2. I’m struggling so much with my singlehood; as growing up in the church has always made me daydream of marrying young, and yet am now 25 and single.
    It’s so difficult not to be able to relate to most anyone around me, because they’re either already married, or don’t have any interest in waiting for, and dating the God-sent man.
    I am so grateful for, and blessed by, yours & other blogs similar to this, because they encourage me to continue fighting the good fight, and not settle for the “rough-around-the-edges” guy, or the “fixer-upper”, as i have in the past.
    I would love to be surrounded by friends that go through similar struggles but are seeking the Lord to help them through it, because i’m sure it would be so great to be able to encourage one another.
    Reading your posts and posts similar to them, truly is appreciated and refreshing, and at least allows me a portion of that in the sense of companionship, and knowing that I’m not the only one going through it.
    So thank you 🙂

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  3. Going through all the things your reader had mentioned. It really isn’t easy but this has encouraged me in the waiting, only God’s best will do!!

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  4. Wow. I was literally just asking myself today, “Is love always going to be this hard?”

    I’m thankful to know I’m not the only one who’s asked that question. Thank you, Lauren, for you open-ness, and real-ness…and making yourself available to encourage other women in the Lord.

    Your words restored hope and comfort to my heart tonight ❤

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  5. Wow. I was literally just asking myself today, “Is love always going to be this hard?”

    I’m thankful to know I’m not the only one who’s asked that question. Thank you, Lauren, for you open-ness, and real-ness…and making yourself available to encourage other women in the Lord.

    Your words restored hope and comfort to my heart tonight ❤

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  6. Thank you so much for this great insight! I have just recently committed myself to waiting to date until I know that God is pointing my path towards a specific person and I’ve been thinking about what it’s going to be like and how to prepare myself. For anyone who is having any thoughts or troubles with the relationship life I really recommend “When God Writes Your Love Story.”

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  7. This is an encouraging post and I’m glad you wrote it! I am still single and it is hard because all the other girls seem to be in relationships. However, this year I read Leslie Ludy’s Sacred Singleness and it totally changed how I view singleness now!

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  8. Lauren thank you for what you are doing. I’m currently in the season where “even after you’ve broken up, you may think that person is right for you.” The thing with me is I thought my relationship was based on love, trust, and respect. For two years I was the happiest I had ever been. I never once doubted it wouldn’t work out. We worked in ministry together, we were the go to couple. I was sadly surprised by his actions, after our mutual decision to break up in hopes of establishing a deeper relationship with God. He recently has done everything he had promised to never do, which involves a new girl. He talked to me about it before it happened denying any interest in pursuing anything with anyone.

    I feel foolish, that even after the hurt and pain I’ve felt I have remained hopeful. I appreciate your article. As you so eloquently phrased it… “Even after they have made you sad, and hurt, and struggle, and fight, you may think that after all, love is hard, right? And the answer is plainly, no.”

    I am hopeful that this will serve a greater purpose. I recognize that I’m far from perfect and that for me the good times far out weigh the bad. I’m trying to stay strong as we all serve in the same ministry. I’m attempting to hold on to God’s promises for me. Attempting to show grace, love, and respect even though it’s not being given to me.

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    • If i may, let me encourage you in the simple fact that you are not alone.
      I am going through a similar situation, where i was told it wouldn’t, but actually ended up involving him moving on to someone else.
      I completely empathize and appreciate your openness and vulnerability to share your story.
      Like you metioned yourself, it “will serve a greater purpose”, take that promise and hold on to it.
      By opening up and making such raw and honest statements, let me assure you that you’ve encouraged me, and i’m sure others, and the grace of the Lord is shining through you.

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  9. Hi Lauren,
    Thanks so much for sharing this! I know exactly what you mean- I met a man who is the kindest, most patient and loving man I have ever known. Loving him is easy- especially because he loves and follows God so well- and we are becoming the best of friends. A part of me kept wondering (in the back of my head) if it’s supposed to be hard or complicated, but you’ve clarified a lot!

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  10. I see these blogs and still ignore my inner spirit; it’s hard facing the truth, but am encouraged by such honest responses. Will God change him if he is the one?:( I have hope. I’m currently in a very confused state. Thank you for your wise words and insightment.

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  11. Gosh this has definitely got me thinking.
    I’m 25 and in my first ever relationship. I think that I do find it hard, but for me it’s more just that I have so much to learn. I’m in full time ministry and my boyfriend is in Bible college and I really struggle to find the balance between work/relationship/life. I think it’s hard work for me simply because I put pressure on myself. Loving him is easy and he’s the most supportive man ever. But I recognise that I have so many areas that I need to grow in (such as finding that balance and being better at prioritising our relationship) and so I work hard at those, because I love him and want to give him my best. I’m guessing that’s a different kind of ‘hard work’ to what you’re talking about!

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