Wanted: True Love
By Brenda Black
Some say love it is a river; some say love it is a razor. Others claim love is a hunger or a flower. Opinions vary, hinged on personal experience. If you've drowned beneath raging, rough love- waters or felt stabbed in the heart, you may hold to the river/razor analogies. If you've been dismissed, jilted or forsaken, you could think love just leaves you gut empty. But if you've found the seed that makes you blossom, most likely you liken love to a fragrant, long-stemmed beauty.
Scientist say that kind of love doesn't have to fade. A university study in New York discovered a small number of couples respond with as much passion after 20 years together as most people only do during the early throes of romance. Researchers scanned the brains of couples together for 20 years and compared them with results of new lovers. About 10 percent of the mature couples had the same chemical reactions when shown photographs of their loved ones as those just starting out. Before such findings, the common belief held that romantic love fades within 15 months of the wedding and, after 10 years, it has gone completely.
In colonial America, marriage was less about romance and more about men finding a woman who could bear children to help share the heavy frontier work. By the mid-1800s, a shortage of women out West forced men to place ads for capable companions. One ad read:
“Any gal that got a bed, calico dress, coffee pot and skillet, knows how to cut out britches and can make a hunting shirt, knows how to take care of children can have my services till death do us part.”
Doesn't get much more romantic than that!
Not only cowboys were looking to lasso a lady, city gentlemen petitioned through the papers as well. Their focus tended to be more on the financial worth of the woman rather than her work ethic. The Matrimonial News, a San Francisco matchmaking newspaper of the late 1800s carried such notices. “Aged 27, height 5 feet 9 inches, dark hair and eyes, considered handsome by all, his friends unite in saying he is amiable and will make a model husband. The lady must be one in the most extended acceptation of the word since the advertiser moves in the most polished and refined society. It is also desirable that she should have considerable money.”
His competition got even more specific: “I am 33 years of age, and as regards looks can average with most men. I am looking for a lady to make her my wife, as I am heartily tired of bachelor life. I desire a lady not over 28 or 30 years of age, not ugly, well educated and musical. Nationality makes no difference, only I prefer not to have a lady of Irish birth. She must have at least $20,000.”
Ah, love was in the air!
This is the one that tugged most at my heart and made me wonder just how desperate and lonely she must have been. “Young lady of good family and education, considered handsome, would like to correspond with some gentleman of means, one who would be willing to take her without a dollar, as she has nothing to offer but herself.”
And the man who wisely selected her, surely got the best deal!
Love isn't a river. It is not a razor. It has nothing to do with the stomach and you can't grow it in a rose garden. Love can't be measured by brain scans or bought through want ads.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)
If you want true love that never fails, check your heart instead of your brain waves. Look to feed the soul of the other instead of demanding they meet all your needs. Genuine compassion and courtesy are precursors to life-long passion and romance. Ladies and Gentlemen, it goes both ways, if you expect to find true love on Valentine's Day and twenty years and beyond after the wedding.