Another season of the Bachelor concluded with an engagement, and that engagement ended rather quickly. Bachelor contestant Chris Soules ended his television romance with no ex-fiance Whitney just 2 months after the finale aired. I think it’s easy to see why. Nothing which is cultivated in such a short, emotional, and hormonally charged environment can be expected to last. And yet we bombard our children with the same media romance over and over again, whether it’s the Bachelor/Bachelorette or some other venue.
The idea of “the one” permeates the romantic side of both young and old. The narrative is, “I am the way I am and one day I will find someone who doesn’t want me to change and will fit perfectly with who I am.” This, my friends, is absurd.
Romance is wonderful and falling in love is one of the best (and worst) experiences a person can go through. However, we must be ready and willing to change as it happens. No, I am not saying we need to force it. What I am saying is that both parties will naturally change and grow as individuals, as a couple, and even compromise at times. My wife and I are into our fifth year of marriage, and it keeps getting better! Am I the same knuckle-head I was when we started dating? No! If I was the same guy we definitely would not have gotten married. Is my wife the same person? No! We have both changed, matured, compromised, and grown together. Life is better now. Don’t force it, don’t rush it, don’t put pressure on it.
Many individuals find self-worth and identity in their romantic relationships. “She’s the one,” or “He’s my everything, my life,” are common phrases that betray the fragile nature of romantic relationships. Romantic relationships should provide some of that, but to build your self-worth and identity on such shaky ground will inevitably lead to collapse. The need for deep connection, love, and acceptance can only come from one source – Jesus. Christ lowered himself from the throne-room of heaven to become like us and to die. This is not a theory, it’s a historical reality. Our worth and identity as Christ followers comes from our Master, the one who truly loves us, the one into who’s image we are being transformed.
Love like The Bachelor is entertaining and unfulfilling, but love like that of Jesus is enduring and transformative.