Many Christians have Idealized and Disneyfied romantic love (and life in Christ) and set it up as a type of “Everything is Awesome!” existence.
So the happy, smiley, outgoing Believers who Don’t Have Sex Before Marriage are the Ideal.
Why do I insist on picking on christians?
I know, I’m sorry. I’m not picking on christians. I’m picking on a christian culture that values Plastic over Real.
Most of this is culture. If we lived in a culture where fourteen year olds went on a massive hunt and got married upon their return, that’s what we’d do.
So the american church culture that determines the Ideal for Young Couples is what I’m picking a fight with today. Because it’s not helping; it’s hurting.
Young people are hearing that They’re Sweet & Awesome & Amazing, and they haven’t lived long enough to question it. But they haven’t been prepared. They haven’t been in the trenches of life with someone when your guts are oozing out and you’ve got to let someone hold your guts in, throw you over their shoulder, and carry you out before you get yourself killed.
And those of us that have lived through that, we want to train the new recruits. And we feel sick when we see unexperienced young recruits sent to the front lines of marriage without so much as a manual in their back pocket. It’s like the american church thinks they already navigated the minefield: THANK GOD THEY MADE IT TO THE ALTER WITH THEIR VIRGINITY INTACT.
My advice: put yourself in grueling situations where you have to love people when you don’t have a shred of self-strength left. Learn how to Love, really love, like this:
Love is patient & kind
Love is not jealous & does not boast
Love is not proud or rude
Love is not selfish, not easily angered & keeps no record of wrongs
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth
Love always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres
Love never fails
Practice loving when you haven’t showered. Practice loving when you’re exhausted. Practice loving when you need space. Practice loving when the people around you are driving you up the freaking wall.