Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Romantic Love - like sugar - is sweet poison

The conversations in our household about romantic love have intensified and for good reason, our daughters are at that age. Combined with being at that age is increased attention from guys and the visibility of other girls at that age in short term exclusive relationships.

Romantic love - is it real? Well, there certainly are real feelings that go along with it, but is it reliable? Is it something a young woman should want (before a commitment to marriage)? Is it something she can guard against? Protect herself from? Are there decisions she can make to avoid it?

As our daughters are navigating this new stage they are in, they've been able to witness some examples that, thankfully, they have learned a lot from. One young woman was in an exclusive boyfriend/girlfriend relationship for over a year. The young couple made the decision that many do and had sex. She told our daughters about it and, as expected, appeared to have a great sadness within her. That sadness turned to embarrassment and deep regret when the guy broke up with her just a short time later. Our son knew the guy and when we were all talking about the situation, let us know the conversation that went on with the guys at the same time this girl was crying about the breakup. One of the guys asked what happened that they broke up. Our son, before the guy could answer asked, "Hit it and quit it?" and the guy said: "Yep!"

Another friend of theirs was in a parent condoned, exclusive boyfriend/girlfriend relationship for over two years (she's now 14). The unthinkable happened, he sent her a text message that read: "I don't like you anymore." Our oldest daughter learned of this and said, "If I were her, I would feel like I had wasted two years of my life."

So, if romantic love and exclusive relationships that aren't being geared toward marriage fail, is it a waste of time?

We've talked with the girls about the conditioning that takes place with these consecutive exclusive relationships. When something goes wrong...someone quits. There is nothing to prevent that person from quitting, there was no contract or covenant, it is socially acceptable, and often times is praised, supported and encouraged. Sadly that conditioning does not turn off when a couple gets married.

Talking to them from the girl's perspective, we listed some of the real feelings and thoughts a young woman has at the beginning of such exclusive relationships; she feels validated, complimented, special, "he chose me!" pedestalized, elated, giddy etc.  All seemingly great feelings right? However, she'll feel this in the beginning of the next exclusive relationship too. And the next, and the next. So are these feelings reliable? No. They are feelings but they don't indicate a single thing about the guy she's feeling them from/about. If these feelings can be felt in the beginning of any exclusive relationship these feelings must be all about her and NOTHING about any guy in particular.

So is romantic love something a young woman should want? In other words, is it good for her? Well it wouldn't be right for me to not tie in my other focus right now - sugar. Is sugar good for you? No. Does the taste give you pleasure? Yes. Is there something artificial that goes on in your brain when you consume it? Yes. Does that artificial reaction desensitize your brain from natural, healthy reactions? Yes. Is it addictive? YES! And, of course, in the long run, feeding the addiction is very bad for your health.

So, how do you guard against romantic love? How do you avoid it when you are not on a course to get married?

There are a few individuals out there who can just not eat sugar. Others, like me, must replace it with something else until our brains are done screaming for it. Sugar can be replaced with fat which then helps the brain to receive proper messaging from Leptin which silences the cravings and allows the brain to experience natural and consistent dopamine.

Is there something a hormonal young woman can do to quell the craving for romantic love?

As parents, we are genuinely more interested in our teenage children making wise choices on their own rather than following set rules with consequences for disobedience. I don't believe the proper lesson will be learned or wisdom gained if I ground my daughter for falling into romantic love. We do tell them they are welcome to use us as a fallback if they are in an uncomfortable situation and can't think of the right words, for example, "My parent's don't allow me to date." But that will only work for so long.

We were very happy with our daughter in one of her exchanges with a guy who has been persistent with her. She wouldn't give him her contact information for a social media account telling him she doesn't communicate with guys that way. When he asked why she said, "I don't want to lead anyone on or have any guys in the friend zone, I think that's cruel." To which he responded that he just wants to be friends. For the record, this is not a guy a young woman like my daughter could manage to just be friends with (AMOG in most situations). He's still in pursuit, of course. For now I just keep praying for her and talking her through these things.

The answers are found in the Word. Trust in, faith in, and reliance on that Word is what it takes. Trying to talk our daughters out of the desire to get giddy over a guy on its own might ward them off for a little while, but those cravings are powerful. They are going to have to pray on their own, seek wisdom in the Word, and trust in God above their own hearts.

 Proverbs 4:23 - Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.

Proverbs 28:26 - He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But whoever walks wisely will be delivered. 
 Proverbs 23:17 - Do not let your heart envy sinners,
But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day;

 1 Kings 8:61 - Let your heart therefore be loyal to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day.”

2 comments:

  1. hi Sarah's Daughter,
    i've recently discovered your blog and love what you write about! thank you for sharing all that you do. i find myself agreeing with pretty much all you say and fist pumping and sending links of your work to a friend who also needs to hear this!
    i'd love to ask your advice about something - but don't want to take too much of your time or 'hog the comments'! is there an email address i can use or do you prefer not to?
    warm regards
    Clarie
    claire@ourpond.net

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  2. You're welcome to email me at sarahsdaughterblog at gmail.

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