February 03, 2021
At one point, most of us have idealized romantic relationships. Who wouldn’t? At the core of our beings, we have always longed to be loved and wanted.
We admire couples who seem like they’ve got it together. We adore couples on social media and peg them as our #relationshipgoals, especially when we see them doing one of these things:
They post photos with sweet captions of each other on their Instagram.
They remained together even long after they graduated from high school or college.
They share their “Magkaibigan noon, magka-ibigan na ngayon” photos.
They surprise each other with special gifts like bouquets or a pair of shoes and Shopee deliveries.
They wear “couple” things, like shirts, shoes, face masks, or even tattoos.
These things that we see in movies or on social media usually make up every young person’s fairytale fantasies about romantic relationships.
We grew up with the idea that love is about how we feel about another person, or about how that person makes us feel. We describe love based on emotions and sensations, like butterflies in the stomach or like walking on cloud nine.
Oh how life-giving it is to feel such admiration towards a person! It energizes you to do a lot of things, doesn’t it? But is this all that romantic love is about? Is it all that it offers?
While emotions and attraction are truly part of the journey, these things are really just the tip of the iceberg. Romance isn’t always romantic. Relationships aren’t always about the kilig and the late-night phone calls. There is more to relationships than what gets posted on social media.
God was the first-ever matchmaker in history. The first book of the Bible tells us of the original love story that God himself has orchestrated.
And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
The first time Adam saw Eve was like a moment of relief and fulfillment. He finally found someone equal to him. And his attraction led to action.
Shortly after God has brought them together, He commissioned them with a specific charge: to rule over creation and to subdue the earth by multiplying over the land.
God brought them together not just to enjoy each other’s company but to fulfill a mission. God gave them to each other so that in being together, they might be able to experience fruitfulness.
There is beauty and power in seeing two people love each other deeply, but it is even more stunning to see how their relationship makes an impact in the lives of others.
Being in a romantic relationship should strengthen our individual sense of calling, not diminish it. It should inspire us to be more God-centered and others-oriented, not self-centered. Romantic relationships serve a meaningful purpose that involves others.
Sadly, we have watered down the beautiful purpose of romance to mere feelings, emotions, and online flings to satisfy our temporary, selfish needs. Thus, resulting in more hurt, unnecessary pain, a distorted view of love, and broken relationships.
But there is hope. When we let God get the center stage of our stories and focus on Him, there will be hope. The question is: Are we willing to trust Him?
Married couples who have been together for so long know that the feeling of being in love is not enough. What truly keeps a romantic relationship strong is not the attraction, but their willingness to keep their commitment to God and to each other.
A couple should agree, among other things, to stay together no matter what. This means that even if the other person doesn’t fulfill his end of the bargain, you will still faithfully fulfill yours. This is what a truly committed relationship looks like. This is the way God has displayed His faithfulness throughout history, with us as the promiscuous other party.
After having known so many couples, we can already say that every love story is different in every way. It is interesting how God writes love stories—some are filled with a lot of twists, while others are seemingly ordinary yet unique in their own ways.
But, regardless of the love story, one thing they all have in common is that those who understand the God-given purpose of their marriage were able to fulfill their calling and to experience joy and satisfaction in their relationship.
If you are a student and you are asking, “Is it okay for me to enter in a romantic relationship?” This article might be a good read for you. As for figuring out romantic relationships in a nutshell, we believe the question is:
We should not let others define what our concept of love and happiness should be. Sometimes, we let the world define if our own story is acceptable or not. So then we ask, what are romantic relationships all about anyway?
Let us start with the truth: love—the kind of love that we need and should want for our lives, is by itself romantic. Love is selfless.
Love is about sacrifice. Love does not need “spice” for it to be romantic. When we feel the peace of true love, we do not need anyone else to validate the serenity and confidence we get from knowing we have experienced it.
And sometimes, we can experience love without ever having to do anything to deserve it.
Many of us have come into this world already being loved. For many of us, we were brought into this world by our parents who love us just because we are their child. For all of us, we are already loved and cared for by our Father in heaven who knew us and formed us while we were still in the womb.
Romance alone can never contain or communicate the fullness of love, for it isn’t just the sweet things or the romantic gestures that tell us we are loved.
Love was best seen when Jesus died on the cross: When the hero died for the villain, and the Prince came not for the beautiful princess, but for people who have been disfigured and made ugly by sin—to restore them and to bring them back to the Father who loves them fully and unconditionally.