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.

 

The Desire by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley

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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. Revell provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Four Silver Stars

The DesireThe Desire by Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

They held hands and prayed, acknowledging how big this thing was…
When they were done, she looked up at Jean and felt something else inside.
Hope.

A sweet novel, The Desire is. I hope that isn’t an inappropriate or insulting way to describe a book written by two men, but it is indeed a sweet story. While the characters, particularly Michele, Allan, and Christina, face some tough and complicated situations–unplanned pregnancy, infertility, marital challenges, meeting impoverished orphans–authors Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley deal with these situations with a certain simplicity and grace that eased me right through the novel.

The story takes its time to unfold in what I’d call a Coffee & Cream fashion: you’re not going to rush through what’s happening in this novel, but you’re going to sit down with these characters over coffee and cream and hear them out about what they’re thinking and feeling. The approach felt a bit redundant at points, as though the story wasn’t going to move on to what would come next until each character got to stop, think, and feel about what came before, if I’m saying that right, but overall, the pace of the novel was relaxing, without plodding.

There were quite a bit of tears, especially from the female characters. I think that too many tears in a story weaken their effect, though I can’t say that, considering the characters’ sensitive circumstances, the crying was out of place.

The Desire has the essence of a New Christian’s Faith and Living Handbook, with scriptures and the characters’ reflections on and growth through them, particularly Michele’s. I’ve come away with my own little boost of faith after reading this novel–nothing fancy, but a reminder that while you trust God when things happen that you don’t like, remember that things you do like can still happen, too.

_______________________

While The Desire can be read as a standalone novel, it’s the third book in The Restoration Series. Here’s my review of The Legacy.

The Dance (The Restoration Series, #1)The Promise (The Restoration Series, #2)The Legacy (The Restoration Series, #4)

 

The Bridge Tender by Marybeth Whalen

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. BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

The Bridge TenderThe Bridge Tender by Marybeth Whalen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title for the book description/blurb.)

The combination of the colorful sunset on the book cover, the smell of the pages of my copy, and the descriptions of the evening lights on the bridge are what got me into The Bridge Tender, a simple story that’s simply told. The movement of the plot is on the slow side, much like an evening stroll down the beach.

Emily is by no means perfect, a woman trying to feel her way through the dark to the other side of grief after her husband Ryan dies; a woman having to face the fact that she’s not as happy for her best friend Marta as she wants to be, when Marta seems to be on her way to having all that Emily thinks she can no longer have. I think that Emily idolized her husband, that she pretty much made him her world and therefore didn’t have much of a life of her own without him. “If Ryan were there she’d have plans for the weekend. If Ryan were there she wouldn’t need Marta so much. If Ryan were there…” I couldn’t help but wonder who Emily was and what she did with herself before she was married–and if “happiness” in life would, in her eyes, ultimately boil down to whether or not she had a romantic partner.

Emily does learn some lessons about hoping for the future and where she places her trust, and I found one twist in the book to be a particularly delightful surprise that I didn’t see coming. My favorite quote from the novel: “Maybe, she thought as they waited for their turn to cross the bridge, to grow up was to stop attempting to find sense and just start embracing the nonsense.”

If you don’t mind the unhurried pace of a self-searching stroll at sunset, this book is a nice stroll to take.

 

Waters Fall by Becky Doughty

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 on Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review.

Four Silver Stars

Waters FallWaters Fall by Becky Doughty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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

What a mess!

Oh, no, the novel itself isn’t a mess, but the story is, if that makes any sense. Yet, that’s how life is sometimes–downright messy–and we, no matter who we are or what belief systems we adhere to, have to find a way to deal with it. In Waters Fall, Becky Doughty handles messy subjects entangled within a crumbling marriage, and she does so with honesty, without sinking into vulgarity.

What I liked most about this novel were the uses of imagery, which began right off the bat. You’d almost expect to feel drops of water sliding down your skin, as though you’ve been submerged into the story, which is not at all a light read. There were moments of humor, mostly from Jake and Nora’s children, but then even that reprieve dwindled away as the story got heavier.

I did empathize some with both Jake and Nora in the beginning, but it wasn’t long before I didn’t like either of them, as they were soon showing the worst of themselves, again and again. The constant roller coaster, the couple going spitefully back and forth about who was to blame for what. It’s like I just wanted to scream out, “Yes! You’re both right, and you’re both wrong! Don’t you see by now that all of the accusations and insults get you, your marriage, and your family absolutely nowhere? Unless ‘worse off’ is a destination.” I might have been just as worn out reading as they were living, but I can’t say the roller coaster was unrealistic. That, unfortunately, is often how human beings deal with one another.

It’s a mess.

But, thank God, there’s hope. If a pendulum swings in one direction, it’ll surely swing in the other, on its way to finding the center again, even if you have to hold out a minute for it. I held out for hope with this story, and I first sensed it the best when Nora finally came to the realization of Whom she missed the most.

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love hopes.