Val and I have been together for fifteen years now. We’ve progressed through the ups and downs of dating and marriage. During these times, we’ve both had friends and family struggle with relationships.
Love is complicated.
We are built to find a match. Our hearts yearn for companionship, for genuine relationship and connection with another person. When the 1/3rd life crisis hits and you are single, the voices can creep up as your friends get married and have children. They come from different places.
In The Artisan Soul, Erwin McManus writes that most of us are haunted by ghosts of our pasts, not intimidated by spirits of the future. Our generation was the divorce generation. Statistically, half of our parents separated in the decades of the 1980’s and 1990’s. This has a trickle-down effect. If we look to our parents, our first model of love, and see dysfunction we take that as normal and expect it.
We devalue ourselves.
Bad relationships are plastered all over the media. There are numerous apps and websites centered on making connections at the swipe. You can message, or call, a connection in minutes. This creates good and bad situations. It creates expectation. It creates options. Options, if they don’t work out, can be catalysts for defeat and shame.
We devalue what we have to offer.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.“ 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
You probably recognize the verse. Paul sets a high bar here with his description of love. Let’s break it down:
Patience: No one is perfect. Keep that in mind as you head out to meet people.
Kindness: Throw off the fronts and be genuine. Be yourself, your complicated, genuine, funny, deep, real self. Be kind and, no matter how much you’ve been hurt, keep a sliver of your heart open. Your connected soul is out there.
No Envy, Boasting, Pride, Selfishness, Anger, Deceit: I’ve combined his list of negatives. I’m sure you can imagine people who fit each one of these descriptions. They could be a YouTube compilation of failed dates. The point here is the opposite. True love is selfless. Check the Cross for an example.
Protects, Trusts, Hopes, Perseveres: Love creates hope. Love lasts through the tough times, the struggles with money, with kids who don’t sleep at night, noisy neighbors, health issues, work problems, and all the other fun of the world. Love is trust. Say that again and hold it in your heart because it may be the biggest challenge you face from your past.
Love Never Fails: You may be going to bed alone tonight. You may be wondering if it is your future, if you can ever recover from the latest break up, fight, or bad date. You may wonder if your heart can heal enough to love again. It can. It will. You can overcome the past and make a soul connection. You are worth it. You will survive. You are beautiful and valuable and a key to the progression of this Universe.
You are never alone.