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Dear Friend,

We all have the desire… no, the NEED to feel loved. Studies have been done on the importance of touch and connection with others to prove this, but in truth I doubt any of us really needed these studies to know this. All of us have that need to hear that others appreciate us and our presence in their life, to know that we have a purpose in this crazy world. We find hope in seeing an old couple holding hands, smile at the little kid clutching at their parent for protection, and sing along to the love song on the radio because more than anything we understand the desire to be in a relationship with others.

I have often struggled, as I am sure other women have, with the the possibility that I may be “forever alone.” What if God meant for me to be single? What if I will spend my life as a single woman, never having a family of my own. In this society, single women past a certain ambiguous age in the mid to late 20’s are, in many ways considered deficient. That they must not be “good enough” or “desirable” for they obviously haven’t found anyone willing to put energy into being with them. This, in my mind, is a bunch of crap. But that doesn’t mean that in moments of weakness I haven’t asked myself, “Am I desirable, am I good enough, etc.?”

This semester my suite-mates and some friends from our hall last year are reading the book “Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas. It looks at the question “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” and so far (as in, in the first chapter) I’ve appreciated the direction it’s taking. This last Thursday we discussed the difference between mature love and romantic love. As young adults, we are bombarded with images of romantic love on a daily basis with pictures on Pinterest, the latest book from Nicholas Sparks, whatever romantic comedy happens to be currently playing in theaters… but where can we find examples of mature love? Sure we understand the idea, but how do we find examples of this type of love in our everyday life? The most obvious explanation of mature love is I Corinthians 13:4-8a where we read:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.

Who knows, maybe it’s time for us to go out and ask the older generation, to talk to those old couples holding hands as they walk down the street… What does it mean to love maturely? To be unselfish in loving others? and How do you remember to do this on a regular basis?

I guess the hardest part is that I don’t want just any old relationship. I want to be with someone who will be my best friend, someone I can actually talk to (You’ve heard about my talking problems before), someone who will support me as I support him, someone who makes me smile and there’s no way I’m about to sacrifice that for any cute guy who comes along. So for now I think I shall try putting aside my wish for a hand to hold in order to learn more about love in general. To search for the meaning of mature love, to trust that God will lay out my future perfectly, and find a more comfortable kind of lonely.

Lots of Love, Mandi Jo