I believe a lie. I believe that if I never experience romantic love, if I never get married, I will end up alone. This, of course, is complete nonsense, but I hear the phrase “end up alone” in relation to romantic love constantly. The very idea that one might never “find somebody to love” (a Queen reference is always appropriate) is viewed as so intolerable (by humans? By society? All of the above?) that the alternative is loneliness and worse still, some sort of punishment or a failure on the “old maid” or “eternal bachelor”. I doubt anyone would accuse a sweet old lady or man who never married of such things, but the idea sort of skims beneath the surface of messages in the media, books, even art. It’s so prevalent that it sort of sears itself into the mind, turning it into a core belief.
I thought maybe I was the only one who believed this lie, the only one with such a screwed up view of love and life in general, but the more I browse the internet (yes, I admit again that I have a pintrest problem) the more I become aware that this is not the case. Women joke about being alone, about feeling dorky around guys they like, about watching full seasons of their favorite show on a Friday night because they have no love lives (*cough* I’d never do that *cough*) and far too often chalk up a lack of romance to the fact that they, in some way, are not good enough. No matter how unsound such logic is (we’re all screwed up, even the pretty people) it’s a difficult belief to shake. And the terribly sad thing is, that such a lie elevates romantic love to being this unattainable thing we begin to worship. It becomes an in-crowd we fear we will never enter. It becomes an injustice we suffer at the cruel hands of fate. A punishment we receive for doing something wrong.
This is a lie, but I think it’s a lie that tells us something about ourselves. Romantic love is different than other kinds of love. Within a family you love each other because you are family; you don’t chose them, but you will always love them no matter how weird they are or what stupid things they do. Romantic love (something I can admit I don’t quite understand) is more of a choice. No, not a choice (see? I don’t get it.) It’s like winning a prize, being viewed as desirable in some way whether it be character or personality or beauty or all of the above. It’s a desire to know and be known more intimately than any other relationship you’ll ever have. It’s an enigma to me because I’ve never experienced it. Maybe this is a poor description of this sort of love, maybe it’s only the world’s description, or maybe…maybe it’s part of the lie. Still, it reveals a deep desire of our hearts (or maybe just mine because I don’t know yours). We want to be desired, to be known, to not be alone.
But romantic love will never really fulfill this desire. We are humans and we fail each other no matter how deep our love runs. We are selfish and sinful and rotten to the core. Everything we do is tainted no matter how we try. There is only one love that will ever fulfill this desire and that is the love of God. And the thing about His love is that He knows just how rotten we are, just how wicked and screwed up and wayward and yet He died that we might be called his “bride”, that we might be in His inner circle. No friend or family member or husband or wife will ever be able to do something like that. More beautiful still is that this love story smashes to pieces the lie I believe. As His daughter I am never alone. I am indwelled by His Holy Spirit and part of His body, the Church. So even if I never get married and never have children and end up an “old maid” (we seriously need another term for this, just sayin’), I will not be spending my life alone. We are part of the greatest inner circle whose mission is to glorify its creator and call out to others to come in.
My prayer is that I will start to believe this. I know it to be true, but I need to get it in my head, bury it deep with in. Only then will I be freed up to worry less about being accepted and more about making sure others are accepted and loved, only then will I cease to feel that twinge of bitterness when a friend gets married and truly be able to rejoice with them. I still hope for marriage one day, but I am praying for a contented joy that fills my entire being because I know Who is with me ‘till the end of the earth.