Why Love Looks Nothing Like The Bachelor
Nothing highlights your singleness like Valentine's Day. It's the cherry on top of getting wedding invitations in the mail, picking out bridesmaid dresses for yet another one of your friends or smiling as your aunt tells you, in that soothing voice of pity, that your time too will come.
Yet, each night you curl up in bed alone with a cup of ice cream and yet another chick flick where the girl next door always gets the guy.
Valentine's Day is not in any way a holiday for Christians, yet every year I somehow get swept up in all the lovey dovey stuff that happens around me - bouquets of roses delivered to co-workers, proposals shared on Instagram and proclamations of love spelled out for the world to see.
It's like The Bachelor. I can't help it. Every season, I get sucked into watching the premiere of The Bachelor or Bachelorette. It's a terrible habit, yet like watching a train wreck, I can't look away.
It seems I'm not the only one. This season, 8.6 million viewers tuned into watch the premiere episode of the current bachelor's search for love. Studies show that out of 64 reality dating shows, three primary themes are: (1) women are sex objects, (2) men are sex-driven, and (3) dating is a game.
Some people dismiss this as "just entertainment", but as categorized by TV networks, these are supposed to be reality shows with real young men and women putting their lives on hold for a chance at love. As consumers and readers, we drive what the media covers and society deems appropriate. And by watching, we're approving of this behavior.
[pullquote width="300" float="left"]Research cites that young adults who watch reality TV focusing on sexual relationships are more likely to have one-one night stands than viewers who don't watch these kinds of shows.[/pullquote]
Research cites that young adults who watch reality TV focusing on sexual relationships are more likely to have one-one night stands than viewers who don't watch these kinds of shows. Scholars have also found that the more reality dating programs people watch, the more likely the are to view dating as a game and to subscribe to the stereotypical sexual beliefs.
For example, they are more likely to believe that a woman needs to use her body to attract a man, that dating is all about physical appearances, and that men are after only one thing - sex.
These are the messages - unrealistic, romanticized notions about relationships and marriage - that our young people are filled with every single day, because entertainment influences what we believe about love and the opposite sex.
Although today the world around us prompts a Bachelor-kind of approach to love and relationships, the truth is, it's the complete opposite of what a Biblical search for a soul mate looks like.
Can I tell you a secret TV producers don't want you to know?
You don't have to do anything to attract a guy - you don't have to buy that skimpy dress or wear layers of makeup. You don't have to lose 10 pounds or bat your eyelashes in that practiced flirtation. You don't need to tailor your interests and goals to fit the ideal girlfriend or wife requirements. You don't even have to compete with every girl you meet for a guy's attention or dumb yourself or your dreams down in order to not be intimidating.
Because the right guy who will fall in love with you will see beyond the clothes you wear and the acne scars you try to cover up. He'll see Jesus - in the way you talk, the smile on your face, your kindness, the way you spend your days and in the dreams you have for your life.
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. -Proverbs 31:30
I know so many girls who want a Godly man - a leader who is involved in ministry, loves children, memorizes Bible verses, has a good job, and is handsome to boot.
Yet, it's those same girls who wake up every morning at dawn to make sure their makeup is done just so (even if the sweatpants you wear give an air of indifference about your looks), and then in the evening slip into short skirts and high heels to spend hours giggling over some guy's crude jokes.
This kind of behavior is in our churches too though. Girls in Bible studies, Christian campus groups and worship bands - racking up a church involvement resume in hopes that one guy will notice how dedicated you are to God.
I'll be the first to admit that I've been there.
Until God asked me what I would do if the roles were swapped. What if I fell for a guy like that - the one who acts one way outside of church, yet is the epitome of a good Christian guy in church? And even if my path did cross with a true man of God, would the Lord find me a worthy match for such a man?
The Bible tells us not be unequally yoked in marriage with an unbeliever, but I think it also extends to spiritual levels. If I were to marry a man whose life is dedicated to ministry, would I be able to fulfill my role as his helper if I place my value on material things, romantic notions based on the lust of the flesh, and personal ambition?
I've seen so many marriages nearly collapse under the pressure of different beliefs - wives who felt restrained by their husbands conservative values and desire to live by Biblical truths instead of conforming to how the world lives. Some of those marriages thrived, but it took years of arguments and hardships for the spouses to be on the same page. Other marriages went in a different direction, either failing apart, or both spouses leaving the church completely.
They call this the season of singleness. I like to call it a season of preparation.
These are the precious young years of our lives that the Bible speaks so fondly of (1 John Chapter 2) - time we can dedicate to growing in the Lord, strengthening our faith, and finding our worth in the pages of Scripture (not in the passing attention of a cute boy).
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. -1 Timothy 4:12
You don't have to live like everyone else around you. You'll still get married even if you don't go on a single date or wear single tight, short dress. God will find a way.
The hardest part is giving up the husband search and the expectations you have for a relationships... trusting that God has it all under control. Let go.
This is your Jesus time that you can use to get to know Him intimately and learn to love like Jesus does. It might even require you to sacrifice some of your dreams or say yes to an opportunity you might not have pursued if you were married.
As you walk this path with God, somewhere in the world, there is a guy walking another path with God. Each of you is being prepared for a ministry and life you will one day lead together, as one. One day, those two paths will flow into one, but will you be at the crossroads to meet him? Or will you wander away with your friends in search of glitz and romance boasted by our college "experiences" and reality shows?
Someday, the Lord will place an amazing man in your life - who loves God more than anything else in the world, even you.