This is what “love” meant for me: I was on the lookout for a person from whom I would find fulfillment. And I thought fulfillment would arrive in terms of attraction, emotional connection, and long-term compatibility, among other criteria, including but not limited to: green eyes, a shapely face, talent, and a sparkling personality. She would need to like music, but not the wrong type; be smart, but not the wrong type of smart, and so forth. Love meant finding someone with the right attributes and ticking off the ol’ checklist.
This was not the same as Christ’s love. Christ’s love had little to do with my checklist and seemed to focus more on the poor, the weak, and the people least likely to be wanted. Christ didn’t say spouse checklists were wrong, but He did love a lot of people who wouldn’t have satisfied mine.
On one side, then, I had romance; on the other, the love of Christ. The two weren’t exclusive, of course. There was no dichotomy, and I didn’t have to choose one or the other. But they were different. And I almost always prioritized romance. I poured incredible effort into finding
The One, and indeed, even my notion of Christian marriage owed more to romance as an influence than it did to Christ’s example of love. I might have said otherwise in a pious moment, but if I looked at my actual life, I couldn’t deny it. Before I had thought about what it meant to love my neighbor, I had thought extensively about whom I would choose to love.
Excerpted from Altared by Claire & Eli
In what ways have you made romantic love, or the idea of romantic love, the focus of your life? In what ways has this overshadowed loving your neighbor and the others around you?