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.
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.