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Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Discovering True Romance

Danielle Dent-Breen's picture
Husband and Wife Romans vs Selfless Love

In this day of instant gratification, it is easy to lose sight of true love and romance within the context of marriage. The temptation is there to always be searching for the next rush--the next thrill. But what does true, long term Love and romance look like? How can we resist being wooed by the Hollywood fantasy of the "ideal" romance, and see true, self-sacrificial Love within the walls of our own home?


The idea is so alluring, isn’t it? As women, we are more-than-a-little obsessed with love and romance. From the time our daughters are small, we bombard them day and night with stories about Prince Charming, and they begin to dream of their “happily ever after”. Our Barbie dolls get married. Cinderella rides off in the carriage. As teens and young adults, we sing along with music on the radio, with lyrics about love and romance. And every Monday night, women across the country gather around their televisions for the latest installment of “The Bachelor”. We are, it seems, always searching for that elusive happy ending.

But then what?
But what happens after the Ball? What happens when Barbie and Ken are living in their one-bedroom apartment, trying to make ends meet? What happens when the lights go out on the set, and there are no longer cameras following the Bachelor and his Chosen’s every move?

Let's re-evaluate!
It’s time we re-evaluate the meaning of the word “romance”. Truth be told, for most of us, the mention of the word conjures up images of roses, chocolates, and candlelit bathtubs. Maybe we think of the handsome heroes of film. Maybe it’s Patrick Swayze as Sam in the movie “Ghost”, or Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in “Casablanca”. Maybe, if you are a child of the 80’s like me, you even conjure up images of John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler in “Say Anything”.
Here’s the problem, ladies. Hollywood is lying to you. All of that “I’m-dying-for-you, can’t-live-without-you” stuff is not romance. It is nothing more that overblown infatuation and lust--and it certainly isn’t love.

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True Love looks like this:
True love is so much more than that Hollywood lie. True love is a dad who is willing to work overtime at a job that demands all of his physical strength so that he can provide for his family and his wife can stay home with the children. True love delights in his children’s laughter, and celebrates his wife’s successes. Love can sense the days when mom has reached her wit’s end and orders pizza for dinner and declares family movie night, so she doesn’t have to cook. Love stays true, even when the times aren’t easy. Love doesn’t live with one foot out the door, always looking for the next great “romance”.

Does my life always look like the Hollywood “ideal”? Heavens, no! There have been times during our marriage when we can barely stand to listen to the other person breathing, much less have that butterflies-in-your-stomach giddiness. We are human, and full of imperfect flaws. But Love? Love never fails.

The one you marry
When I was a young single girl, I looked for excitement and passion, and always came up feeling empty and disappointed. It was not until I found True Love, several years and a couple of kids into my marriage with a real MAN, that I realized True Love is not the shiny next-newest thing, or the greener grass on the other side of the fence. No, True Love is the one who comes home exhausted from work each night, leaves his dirty socks on my floor, and keeps me awake with his snoring. Because yes, True Love is the one who honors his marriage vows, puts the needs of his family first, and just sticks in there through good times and bad.

This weekend, we will celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary. Twelve years ago, we said “I do," but that wasn’t our happy ending. That was simply the beginning of our Beginning. Happy Anniversary, Babe.