2.14.2014

Romantic Interest

 
So I have this problem with movies. Look at a movie poster for your typical “romantic movie”. You’ll see your lead actor or actress smiling impishly, usually in the middle of the poster, with the “romantic interest” smiling at the lead character. And this isn’t limited to just chick flicks. Anymore, any superhero or action movie poster has “the hero”, looking bold and heroic, and “the girl” either looking intently at the lead character or staring off to their left. Now here’s the thing, when you go in to watch one of these movies, it’s a practical certainty that these two people will end up together. There’s no surprise in it at all. In fact you would be a pretty disappointed if it didn’t happen the way you expected.
 
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge movie fan. I think they’re great. My problem isn’t really with the movies themselves, but how we let the fiction inform how we want to live our own lives. For a single person, there’s hardly anything certain about finding a spouse. We can’t just look at the poster and say “Oh there’s the love of my life”.
 
I’ve spent countless hours worrying and agonizing over singleness and when I will meet my wife. I see my friends dating and getting married, seeing the amazing story that their life is unfolding into, then I sit back and stew over how boring my life feels in comparison. It’s far too easy to get impatient and wonder when my love story is going to begin. I’ll be at a coffee shop or strolling through Barnes & Noble, looking around the room and think “maybe she’s in here”.
 
What’s worse is when I start looking around among my female friends and wondering if I’ll end up marrying one of them. Now I do believe that it’s smart for people to hang out as friends before they date (and eventually get married) and I believe that God appoints certain people to play great parts in our lives. But of all the people you know and all the (much as I hate to use the word) “prospects” you might have, the truth is you will only marry one person. The rest are just your friends.
 
It was a little bit like this with the last girl I dated. We had coffee at Starbucks a few times and got along great. As it turned out we were both big movie buffs. Our first real date was watching Star Wars at her house. The best part was when I got her a toy light saber and she completely flipped out (in a good, excited nerdy way). Now most guys like me would say “She likes Star Wars? Marry…her…now!”
 
Obviously things didn’t go that direction. It became clear after a few months that things weren’t going to work out, so, painful as it was, we broke it off. But, oddly enough it we were still able to be friends. It took several months of keeping our distance and healing up, but we figured out that we could be really good friends…just not anything more than that.
 
Sometimes, a lot of times, God puts amazing people in our lives who are just supposed to be our friends. Great Friends. Amazing friends. Friends who treat you like they’re your brother or sister. Friends who help you out of a jam and give us a shoulder to cry on. Friends who you can talk to about anything, even about that one thing that nobody else gets, but you both love. They’ll be that friend that shows up on your wedding day, super excited to see you get married to the person God has designed you to be with for the rest of your life.
 
If you want to take a lesson away from the movies, it should be this: don’t confuse your “best friend” for your “romantic interest”. Just because they’re not your knight in shining armor doesn’t mean they won’t save your life once or twice. God will put men or women in your life who will have a huge part to play and if you try to make that friendship more than it’s supposed to be, then you’ll miss out on something great.
 
After all think of what would have happened if Mary Jane Watson had settled for her high school flame Flash Thompson and never fell in love with Peter Parker. What if Aragorn had given up hope of marrying Arwen and decided that the Lady Eowyn would be the next best thing. And of course let’s not forget the awkward debacle that would have ensued if Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker had gotten together.
 
Just remember that you’re not the one writing the story. I genuinely believe that God puts the desire to be married in our heart, and He wouldn’t do that if He didn’t have a plan for how to satisfy that desire. So hang in there. Our Father in Heaven is quite the storyteller and He is turning your life into an amazing story. Just buckle your seatbelt, because like any good storyteller He likes to throw in a few plot twists. Just roll with punches and…please do what you can to stick to the storyline, because you’d hate to end up accidently kissing your brother.
 
 
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Andrew Swearingen is an aspiring writer and a graduate of Southern Illinois University. He currently lives in Carbondale, Illinois. For a "real job" he works in landscaping and occasionally works as a substitute teacher. He attends Vine Church in Carbondale where he serves in the kid's program as well as various other service areas.