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5 Dumb Ideas I Had about Romance

#5: Valentine’s Day is a big deal. Oh, it felt like a big deal. There was heartache and tears when year after year, no boy was slipping me a special card or little present. Now I know that while having a day devoted to celebrating romantic love can be fun, it’s only a day. It’s the things done on every other day of the year, that ones that may seem less romantic but are more meaningful that demonstrate what’s in a person’s heart.

#4: Celebrity crushes can be a precursor to real love. Wow, did I overdo this one! In fact, a whole series of notes and letters passed between a friend and me detailed a romantic honeymoon in Venice with the lead singer of Duran Duran. I kid you not. I won’t say these fantasies were useless as I think those dreams eventually became the daydreams of which novels were born, but they never held a glimmer of reality.

#3: If I don’t find love in high school or college, I’m doomed to be alone. Well, in my defense, again, it felt that way. Many people do marry their high school or college sweethearts, but as I learned, you can go through high school and college, roughly twenty-some odd years – or even much longer – without a single date and still find love later.

#4: If he only knew, he’d return my feelings. This, I think, was the downside of being an optimist and always holding out hope. In some cases, I’d wager that this maxim proves true. But not always. And in my case, not at all. Time after time, when my feelings were revealed by an overeager friend, a slip of the lips, embarrassingly obvious behavior, or a handwritten confession (yes, I went there), my feelings were unrequited. I still have mixed emotions about his one, because feelings aren’t something to be ashamed of and maybe the object of affection is clueless. In my case though, it was another source of heartache. But at least I had resolution, right?

#5: My plans were better than God’s plans. I just knew this guy was the guy. He was the one God intended for me. He’d be the one who would finally recognize all my good qualities and would love me unconditionally. We’d be great together. And so I believed about a long succession of boys—Eric, Mike, Andy, Dan, Nick, Tim, Chris—and that covers only a span of five years. In retrospect, I can see that a relationship with those boys, or any boy, really, may have not been the best thing for me. God knows me better than I know myself. He knows my weaknesses and my gifts and the whole span of my life. He knows best. I should’ve trusted Him more, even when it was difficult instead of grasping at what I wanted.

Are you holding onto some ideas about romance that are silly or even harmful? I’d wager that had someone shared this list with me in high school or college I’d have nodded in agreement, but I’d not have taken it to heart. I needed time, maturity, and more years in the school of life to learn these truths.

It may have helped if I’d had some better examples of romantic relationships between teens outside of sitcoms. I would’ve lapped up Christian teen romances had any been available to me. And while I read books about the kind of romance I craved decades too late, I’m grateful these books are available to today’s teens. Maybe they’ll eventually have a few less items on their list of dumb ideas about romance.

By Carolyn Astfalk

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