I’ll further confess that after almost three decades of life, I don’t have heaps and heaps of personal experience on the “man-woman-romance” front— which I’m more than okay with, since I’d much rather have the majority of my experience take place with the right one, instead of seeing all my time get spent on no-go’s. But, hey, as far as I know, I’ve got a lot of life ahead to live, and the experience I’ve had up to this point is enough for the point I mean to make now, which is that LOVE SHOULD BE HAPPY.
Where does love come from, anyway? God. He is love. Oh, sure, anyone who’s walked with Him for a nice length of life knows that there are some trying periods during the walk, but when it came time for a specific term to express His essence in His Word, it wasn’t written that “God is anger,” “God is agony,” “God is sickness,” “God is abuse,” “God is frustration,” or “God is hate.” It says that “God is love.”
And love is patient. Love is kind. It isn’t jealous, arrogant, rude, or selfish. It isn’t irritable, it doesn’t hold grudges, and it doesn’t rejoice in injustice but in the truth. Love is full of faith, hope, and endurance, and it never fails. Patience, kindness, faith, hope, and endurance don’t come from unhappy places, nor does their presence create unhappy environments. Even when you’re patient, kind, and hopeful with yourself, the environment of you— your heart, your soul, your mind— is a happy place, no matter who else or what else may be determined to make it otherwise. Yes, we do have sadness, grief, and letdowns, but if God is love and love produces happiness, then our lives, overall, should be happy ones. Our relationships, where God/love, love/God is present, should be happy as well.
My goodness, I had a great, heart-throbbing, earth-shattering summer romance this year. You may ask who the lucky man was, but, admittedly, there wasn’t one. I’ve been calling fiction writing my “first love” for years, and when I tell you that writing my seventh book, Love & Eminence, was pure ecstasy, I’m not exaggerating. Indeed, there’s intense passion and joy when I’m in the middle of my purpose and genius like that, doing what I was born to do, and the experience is invaluable. Irreplaceable. And as I was writing the book, developing the characters, I was convicted and convinced afresh that love should be happy.
Bad experiences and broken relationships can make us forget that. We get to walking around with a steady pain in the pit of our gut, however new or old, sharp or dull the pain is. We get so used to the feeling, so accustomed to being tired and jaded, that our outlook on love becomes contaminated. We still desire romance and closeness, we still want to admire and be admired, we still want to be with a good somebody we can be good to. But, subconsciously or even consciously, our thought of romance is sticky with accompanying painful or nasty sentiments, expectations of soil and disappointment. We may or may not realize that while we’re looking or waiting for love, we’re looking and waiting for our next hurt, our next dissatisfaction, our next regret. Who will be our next victim, or who will be the next to victimize us?
Well. Love is not hurt. Love is not dissatisfaction. Love is not regret.
Love is God.
And, no, clever as we are, love and romance weren’t carnal inventions of clever humankind’s, but they’re God’s idea for us.
So what should one’s approach or attitude toward romance be? It should be the determination to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Don’t step into romance with a bundle of unresolved pains, grudges, or pessimism burdening your soul. Love yourself enough to seek healing and wholeness, to be at peace in and with yourself first. Yes, you’ll very likely need a little assistance or counsel from another human being or two for that, and a brand new boyfriend or girlfriend mayn’t necessarily be the individual to help with that weighty process. Chances are that a passing fling of some sort won’t do much to bring peace to your soul either.
Instead, share your heart with a trusted person you have some life history with. Don’t be afraid to reflect, to evaluate, to forgive, to take stock of yourself and what you’ve been through. And don’t think it will take forever for you to be healed and okay. If you believe you’ll be healed, you will be. Simple as that.
Moreover, let me venture to say that if you don’t want to be alone for the rest of your life, it isn’t the wisest thing to keep telling yourself and other people, “Psh, I don’t need a man” or “Psh, I don’t need no woman.” Conditioning yourself with an “I don’t need anyone” attitude can make you an uninviting individual. You might wind up repelling good people who want to be a part of your life, as the “Humph, I don’t need you” aura around you pushes folks away or prevents them from ever trying to get close to you in the first place. People do need people, people do need to be needed, and oftentimes, when people get the impression that their presence isn’t needed somewhere, they’ll leave and take what they have to offer elsewhere. If you have a desire for a romantic relationship, acknowledge and be secure in that desire. Having a need doesn’t make you weak or pathetic. Needs are natural. We’re not human if we don’t have them.
In that vein of being secure with your desire, don’t shy away from passion and your human impulses. Embrace them! Thank God for them. They’re proof that you’re alive. Don’t use that proof to idly sit burning or pining away inside, but, being aware of your own energy, become an expert at directing your energy into action toward your purpose. You’re far more attractive when you’re intensely passionate about doing what you were born to do.
Then, when it comes to beginning something romantic with that next wonderful somebody, you won’t knowingly or unknowingly be looking out for a sad state of affairs, or something sure to be headed in that sad direction. You won’t wind up sabotaging a good relationship, finding a way to mess it up because you’re scared it’ll eventually get messed up anyway. When you determine that you’re going to be happy in a romantic relationship, it won’t come from a selfish place, but from a healthy and generous one. You’ll be a happy person, looking to make another happy person’s life even happier, which will make you happier too.
Not to drive the “happy” concept into the ground here, but I’m serious: decide that romance is going to be a happy environment for you, and that when you love someone, you’re going to be happy doing it.
If you’re interested in where I got some of these love ideas, take a gander at I John 4:7-21, I Corinthians 13:4-8, and Matthew 22:35-40 in The Holy Bible.