Finding Love Isn’t All about Your Looks, Age, Etc.

This is a rare kind of post for me, but I had a feeling someone might need to hear it.

And even with the title of this post, can I admit “finding love” is an iffy expression for me? Sure, I use it to be understood, and I get what it means, but many people give and receive love. Facilitate and nurture love. Cherish and protect love. They acknowledge and recognize love…but they don’t necessarily just “find” it, as if love is something they can hunt for in the woods or locate in the city with the assistance of signs and arrows. “Hey, look—there’s some love for me over here! I just found it.”

But anyhow.

I get the impression sometimes that people think one’s looks, age, and certain other basic or obvious factors are either automatic guarantees or automatic hindrances to romantic companionship.

I figure there’s a lot in society, from many romantic movies and romance novels to the various cultures of different social and religious circles, that makes folks believe or assume that everybody who desires romance is supposed to find the right companion by their early-to-mid twenties or so…

…and that if it doesn’t happen for you by then, something must be wrong. Or something must be wrong with you. Likewise, the further you get away from your early-to-mid twenties, the greater the wrongness must be if you still haven’t met that wonderful someone.

(Granted, I’m sure biology and the window of prime childbearing years has plenty to do with people’s thoughts about love’s appropriate/optimal timeline.)

Nevertheless, as far as physical attractiveness goes, I do want to point out that getting hit on and such isn’t the same thing as having serious companionship, of course, and receiving attention and propositions and offers because of one’s looks doesn’t necessarily make finding the right companion any easier. It can even make it harder, as more incoming attention can mean there’s more incoming pretense and all other kinds of stuff a person has to sort through, question, sidestep, or even run away from on the romance road.

Just saying.

Really, there are people some folks consider to be strange or plain who end up with the love of their lives straight out of high school or college, and there are people who have plenty of positives going for them but are in their forties or fifties, still single and looking. Some folks know who they’re going to marry from the time they’re children, and other folks go through series of prospects that don’t work out before they meet the right person. Some people are grumpy, sloppy, and happily coupled, and other folks are sweet, neat, and still alone.

Now, I’m not dismissing the fact that sometimes there are issues hindering romance besides “it just hasn’t happened yet.” A person may have some learning, growing, healing, or other preparation that needs to take place before they’ll be ready for what it takes to have a healthy romantic relationship.

Still, meeting someone for suitable companionship simply doesn’t happen for everyone at the same time of life or after a “magic number” of tries or dates—no matter who they are, what they look like, what their personalities are like, whether they first meet people online or in person, or whatever the case may be. Just because you haven’t met someone who’s right for you doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. Life unfolds differently for everybody, on different timelines.

And that’s okay.

For me as an author, while romance isn’t my primary genre, I write romances to reflect that real love isn’t all about one’s looks or age, and that being or finding the “ideal” package isn’t necessarily an easy ticket to a Happily Ever After.

Even so, I believe romantic love is beautiful, and I do aim to write stories of hope, even when a couple’s journey won’t be easy.

 

Old Fashioned (2014)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Old Fashioned (2014) from Skoche Films
Rated PG-13. Drama, Romance, Faith Film

1/2

Description (from the film case): Former frat boy, Clay Walsh (Rik Swartzwelder), has given up his reckless carousing and now runs an antique shop in a small Midwestern town. There, he has become notorious for his theories on love and romance as well as his devout beliefs. When Amber Hewson (Elizabeth Ann Roberts), a free-spirited young woman with a restless soul, rents the apartment above his shop, she finds herself surprisingly drawn to his strong faith and noble ideas. Together, they attempt the impossible: and old fashioned courtship in contemporary America.

My thoughts: I don’t think this film’s description does it justice, as I’ve found the story to be so much more than two people trying to attempt an old fashioned courtship. The style of their courtship isn’t the point, so much.

Since I read Old Fashioned as a novel before the movie released, I was already aware that the story isn’t about giving folks pointers or rules on chaste dating. That would’ve made for a noble but likely pretty simplistic, flat tale—and if you watch the movie and only see “chaste dating rules” in it, then you’ve missed the movie.

This story is about a guy and girl who must each decide if they’re going to finally get to the nitty-gritty of their individual fears and deal with them head-on, or if they’re going to continue to use their chosen methods of running and hiding. Neither one of them is completely right. Neither one of them is completely wrong. Neither the characters who’re Christians nor the characters who aren’t Christians are either right or wrong about everything. There’s tension and layers to this story.

Sure, I had to get past the obvious fact that the leading man here is rather, um, mature for the young man he plays. Some parts of the movie are too slow, the bar dancing is corny, and though none of the acting is bad, not all of it is my favorite.

But the writing here is excellent. It ties so many thoughts, points, and images together and doesn’t waste them, no matter how small. And although the leading man may not have been my first choice for that role, the fact that he also wrote, produced, and directed the film himself is nothing to sneeze at.

Old Fashioned is one of my all-time favorite novels, and although I didn’t cry, oh, quite as hard at the end of the movie (I literally wept after reading the novel’s last page), the movie didn’t disappoint me and even exceeded my expectations.

My corresponding reading: Old Fashioned by Rene Gutteridge.

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Hang Your Heart on Christmas by Heather Blanton

christmas-books-3

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Hang Your Heart on ChristmasHang Your Heart on Christmas by Heather Blanton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

U.S. Marshal Robert “Dent” Hernandez doesn’t want to be stuck in the town of Evergreen. He just wants to get back to hunting down the man who killed his father–whoever the killer is. But the arrival of the town’s lovely new schoolteacher, Amy Tate, puts a hitch in Dent’s plans in Hang Your Heart on Christmas by author Heather Blanton.

Here’s a gritty holiday tale if there ever was one. It’s got the danger and rough-edged intrigue of the West, but it still manages to be warm and sweet when it needs to be. I could feel for Dent in all of his social awkwardness, was most pulled in the closer he got to the crux of his soul-deep turmoil, felt a spark of pride for Amy the more she faced her fears–and was quite delighted to read of this heroine who loves books and wears spectacles. Whoo hoo for girls with glasses!

I found an inner conversation or two of Dent’s and Amy’s to be a little redundant but not uninteresting. And I was touched by the message central to the story, that there’s more to life than death. It makes the Christmas theme here all the more significant. And beautiful.

This novella has been a good helping of Christmas in July for me, and I’d recommend it to other lovers of Christian romance, particularly those who’d appreciate taking a little trip out West.

 

The Bachelor’s Sweetheart by Jean C. Gordon

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Bachelor's SweetheartThe Bachelor’s Sweetheart by Jean C. Gordon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

For years, Tessa and Josh have gotten along so well as close buds. But the resurfacing of Josh’s unresolved past and a related, crucial secret of Tessa’s puts their friendship–and possibly more–on the line in The Bachelor’s Sweetheart by author Jean C. Gordon.

A sweet title and cover, this novel has, and a sweet romance it is. But the story also brings quite a mix of characters together to deal with some tough issues (dysfunction, disappointments, disease, distrust) and their effects on the young and old. I could feel my heart sinking at points as a spiral of key conversations and events had me nervous and intrigued to see how Josh and Tessa would handle the truth once it all came out. The story’s themes of serious dependence on God as well as the serious need for other people work well together.

Although this novel is third in The Donnelly Brothers series, it stands alone nicely, and it doesn’t seem to give everything in the preceding books away, for those who may happen to read the novels out of order. I’d recommend Josh and Tessa’s story to fans of romance with faith and redemption.

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Other novels in The Donnelly Brothers Series

Winning the Teacher's Heart  Holiday Homecoming