As a teenager, I was obsessed with entertainment media. Television series, movies, songs – I would consume them all endlessly.
And as love is one of the most common and popular themes in these forms of entertainment, my adolescent mind thus unknowingly absorbed many false ideas about love.
Thankfully, God has debunked the major misconceptions I had, which has led me to have a healthier perception of romance today.
3 MISCONCEPTIONS I HAD ABOUT LOVE
1. Love is dramatic
The predominant depiction of love in entertainment is that it’s dramatic.
We see it in fantastical shows like The Vampire Diaries, even more “realistic” series like Awkward and pretty much every Taylor Swift song.
All of them portray romance as a rollercoaster ride. In their view, love is about overcoming painful conflicts to feel indescribable happiness.
It’s a game of guessing, pulling, pushing, over-analysing and obsessing. A passionate, intense and thrilling out-of-this-world adventure!
As someone who studied scriptwriting, I now know that all this drama is there to make things engaging. But back then, I truly believed this was what love looked like.
My views only changed after I was exposed to healthy long term relationships within my church community which were honestly kind of… dull.
Don’t get me wrong, those couples still had their fair share of conflict and excitement, but nothing like what I had been conditioned to expect.
Instead of big gestures, they usually solved problems through honest, open-hearted communication.
Their relationships weren’t fuelled by intense emotions 24/7, but guided along by quiet choices of mutual commitment and care.
I expected love to be a raging, stormy sea. In reality, it looked more like a steady river with occasional twists and turns!
2. Love conquers all
Another unrealistic message is that human love is so powerful, it can conquer anything.
Popular Disney films often depict this idea: In Beauty and the Beast, it is Belle’s love that resurrects the Beast and turns him back into a human being.
It’s also shown in superhero shows like The Flash, where Barry’s love for Iris allows him to overcome mind control and memory loss.
Even the songs I listened to subtly conveyed this sort of idea through their lyrics.
- “Someone told me that love, love has no limits.” (Fleurie, Love Has No Limits)
- “It doesn’t matter if I’m not enough for the future or the things to come. Cause I’m young and in love.” (Lana Del Rey, Love)
Of course, I didn’t believe human love could literally conquer everything.
But this portrayal of romantic love as the ultimate power made me believe that as long as you had love, a relationship would always succeed.
Unfortunately, that isn’t true. I’ve come to realise that some relationships don’t work out no matter how much you love each other.
For instance, incompatible beliefs, values, life goals and personalities are some other important factors that may result in an unsuccessful romance.
3. Love is better
The third (and biggest) misconception I had about love? Being attached is better than being single.
This was an idea I believed in for the longest time. It is one my heart still struggles with, even though my mind knows the truth.
Scenes of couples experiencing pure bliss when they’re together, stories of how someone’s bleak life became vibrant after falling in love, every song about yearning to be with a special someone… all these made singlehood feel inferior.
So, I found myself chasing this fantasy of dating and getting married. Thoughts like “When I get married I’ll never feel lonely again” and “If I find a girlfriend I’ll be happy” were what filled my mind.
However once I became more serious about my faith, these ideas slowly faded away.
As I read the Bible, I realised Jesus wasn’t married! How could I believe a single’s life is “lesser” if that’s the kind of life my Saviour lived?
Paul also states that both marriage and singleness are gifts from God in 1 Corinthians 7, directly contradicting my view of singleness as a burden.
So, I’ve come to see that being single doesn’t mean I’m doomed to do life alone! Indeed, there are many singles in my church who experience meaningful companionship and fellowship within our spiritual community.
Last but not least, I learned that the thing I wanted most out of a romantic relationship – true happiness – is actually unattainable on earth.
There’ll be happy and unhappy moments in marriage, just like in single life. A woman can’t make me happy forever, no earthly thing can.
A HIGHER FORM OF LOVE
If you feel somewhat disappointed at this point, I get it.
I, too, felt let down about love when I first found out it wasn’t what pop culture made it out to be.
It took some time to accept the reality, but I’m thankful I did. If I had entered a relationship with unrealistic expectations, it would likely have turned toxic and be short-lived.
These days, I still enjoy my fair share of K-dramas, Western romance films and love songs. But I now see them for what they truly are: works of fiction.
Agape love is unfailing, unconditional and everlasting. It’s encapsulated in Romans 5:7-8.
Because of this truth, I can be grateful this upcoming Valentine’s Day – even though I’m single.
It sounds clichéd, but it’s true. Instead of endlessly fixating on earthly love, I’m going to pursue God who is love (1 John 4:8).
After all, that’s what truly matters in this life.
- Define love.
- What does Scripture say on love? How do those truths line up with your definitions?
- How might that challenge or reshape your approach towards loving others in your life?