"You read too many romance novels. And unlike the heroines in all those romance novels who tell themselves the very same thing, and then go on anyway, in typical fashion, to fall for whomever the hero is clearly going to be, you should believe yourself."
I told myself the same thing several times in the many lengthy discussions I had with myself over the year that it took for me to get out of what I now consider an addiction. I always tried to placate my conscience's occasional twinges by reminding myself that I read "inspirational" romance novels, not those cheap, trashy things that somehow pass for books. Funny how infrequently God was mentioned in those supposedly Christian books.
In that year, I learned and realized many important things that made reading those sorts of romance novels no longer seem tempting to me. One of the most important ones was my personal idea of romance. Romance, to me, is NOT "falling in love."
Falling in love is highly overrated in our society; people fall in love all the time, and they fall out of love just as easily and rapidly. It was discouraging for me in my hopes for a life-long love and lasting marriage to read romance novels about "Christians" who seemed to love exactly the same way as the world, with roller-coaster emotions just as out-of-control. As God gently showed me the sin in my voracious appetite for those shallow books, He also taught me that true romantic love is not in the fluttery butterfly feelings of "falling" in love, but in the choice and decision to love that one person "til death do you part."
You see, love is always a choice. If it was just a random feeling, then how could God command us to love one another? Romantic love, brotherly love, Christian love, they are all choices, displayed in our actions. When you choose to help someone, to speak kindness, or forgive, you are choosing to love them. If or when I agree to marry someone, I will be choosing to love him as my husband for the rest of our lives. This should save me the trouble of falling in love over and over again, and hopefully will also let us avoid the divorce that frequently follows the "falling out of love" symptoms.
The other very important lesson I learned was how important it is to seek God FIRST. It seems so simple when you hear it, but how many times have you gone to God in prayer because you wanted something? I prayed a lot during my addiction to romance, but I was praying for the wrong things, and the wrong reasons! The most important thing in every Christian's life should be their relationship with God.
I was obsessed with romance, and intent on meeting that "someone" as soon as possible, so I prayed very diligently for God to bring him into my life. I was even worried that if I relaxed, and didn't pray for it consistently that God might decide to "bless" me with the gift of celibacy, and I certainly didn't want that! How silly I was!
I'm still learning to focus on my relationship with God as the most important part of my life, but I have escaped my romance addiction (I still have a completely healthy admiration for Jane Austen's books and the related movies!) and for the past year have felt the most content with my "single" status as I can remember since I was about 14.
Valentine's Day is coming up soon, and my lack of a special someone usually makes me feel like SAD (Singles Awareness Day) is a much better name for the day. This year I plan to use this opportunity to focus on my First Love, any time I might feel tempted to sighing or wishing. No matter what the rest of my life holds for me, I want my most earnest desire to be God's will, and to bring Him glory with my life.