Have you ever watched a romantic movie that made you laugh cynically as the leading man professes his love to the woman of his dreams? Maybe these are the thoughts going through your head: I can’t believe she’s buying this sappy load of crap. He’s only known this chick for like, a week. Love is not that awesome.
Do you shudder anytime you hear the name Edward? Do you shake your head whenever you see references to classic Disney princesses? Maybe you’ve seen comments on Facebook of new couples gushing about each other. Things like: “I’m so blessed to have so-and-so in my life! I just love walking our matching poodles on the beach together!” You’re thinking, maybe it’s time to hide this person’s posts.
If these statements ring true at all, I’d like to take some time defending those Facebook couples tipsy on love, those Disney princesses dressed in pink, and that movie with the guy who falls in love with the girl after knowing her for three days. Why? Because love is more awesome than even that.
I’d like to share a line from a song featured in a very popular romantic film called The Lion King. Elton John is singing about love, and he says, “It’s enough to make kings and vagabonds believe the very best” (from “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”). If a king, the most powerful person who has everything, and a vagabond, a person who has nothing, can be inspired by love, then maybe we underestimate just how awesome love is.
One of the critiques about Hollywood is the unrealistic expectations for love: He’s going to be my perfect match with great hair and a Taylor Lautner-esque body, and I won’t have to change because he’ll accept me just the way I am! He’ll see me as the beauty I know I am, and I’ll be his Disney princess, and he’ll be my prince. And we’ll live happily ever after, right?
Love is awesome, but I’m willing to admit that it’s not always happy, easy, or pretty. No one will completely understand us, but that’s because we are looking at the picture wrong if we are looking for a love that is non-confrontational, subordinate and submissive. Imagine a relationship where there is no challenge or disappointment or opportunities to face your mistakes. There is no need to sympathize, and no need for forgiveness. There is no chance to grow. Growing is important if you are going to be awesome at love.
So why am I a supporter of Jasmine and Aladdin, and why do I listen to the same cheesy love songs over and over? Even though Hollywood and Stephanie Meyers have served us a message about love with unrealistic expectations, it doesn’t mean a deep, powerful connection between two people is also unrealistic. I’ve just learned how to separate the fantasy from what lies at the heart: a simple, unabashed love. Although . . . magic carpets and living forever sound pretty nice. Nonetheless, I am aware people will let me down no matter who they are even if they do love me deeply. This knowledge does not crush me, or at least not yet. Still waiting for the moment the husband of my dreams wakes up and says, “Dang girl, grab a breath mint.”
So maybe those unrealistic hopes we have from these stories will not be completely satisfied by another person like being loved forever, seen as a totally gorgeous princess or even recognized for our full potential. That’s okay too, because someone else is there to do that. Jesus Christ is my prince charming, sees me exactly as who I am and who I can be. He’ll challenge me, make me grow, and I hope to meet these challenges. Even if I don’t, He’ll still love me just as much. He’s super handsome, has super God powers, flies on a magic carpet and lives forever. Well, maybe not the carpet part. He is a king who has lived the life of a poor man and He still believes in love. He’s watched all the terrible things I’ve done, and He’s seen what other people have done, and He still believes in love. He’ll “wait a thousand years” for us, and “a thousand more” — Christina Perri. My goal is that I love the way He loves, and if I can do that, butterflies are gonna soar in this stomach, and these knees might get a little weak. And if you think that’s super sappy, then I think I’ve made my point. Love is awesome, and if you don’t know how awesome love can be, then it might look a little silly.