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“Anne, you have tricked something out of that imagination of yours that you call romance… Don’t toss it away for some ridiculous ideal that doesn’t exist.” ~Marilla Cuthbert in Anne of Avonlea

A while back in Bible Fellowship we were discussing romance for reasons that I can’t possibly remember when one of the guys wisely asked us what we considered romantic. My response was the same as it has been for a decade now. “I want flowers from the grocery because it’s Tuesday and you thought of me NOT a dozen red roses because it’s Valentine’s Day and a commercial told you to purchase them.” He was shocked by my response as I knew he would be. See, in the last decade I have formed a theory about romance and I’d like to share it with you today.

Much like Anne Shirley in regards to Gilbert, we have become confused about what is truly romantic. Social media, movies and paperback novels have convinced us that when being romantic it has to be over the top, high dollar, Hollywood sort of stuff to be good enough. I have seen middle schoolers spend more money and time asking a girl to the Homecoming dance than most of my friends’ marriage proposals. We have lost the true essence of a romantic gesture by cheapening it to what looks best in a social media post. What will get the most likes? What will wow the crowd? And I hate it!

I think that’s why Anne and Gilbert are such an endearing and enduring literary couple. You see him truly care for her and try to woo her. Not with the sonnets and jewels her immaturity believed to be romantic but with those rare intimate gestures that showed he knew her and cared. He truly understood her. That’s what Marilla was trying to explain to Anne when she told her not to throw away real romance for something that only exists in a fantasy world. She reminds Anne how Gil sacrificed for her benefit and how he made sure she was taken care of and safe in ways that Anne didn’t even recognize.

There's a lovely moment of realization in Anne of Avonlea when she's leaving Miss Lavender's wedding with Gilbert.

“For a moment Anne's heart fluttered queerly and for the first time her eyes faltered under Gilbert's gaze and a rosy flush stained the paleness of her face. It was as if a veil that had hung before her inner consciousness had been lifted, giving to her view a revelation of unsuspected feelings and realities. Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one's life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one's side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps. . . perhaps. . .love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath."

That’s the reality of true romance. So, here’s my advice…

Guys... stop believing what you’ve been told by Hollywood. If you want to impress a woman, listen to her. Remember, what is important to her. Tell her you love her. Show her that you find her beautiful all the time and not just when you want something. Chase her soul and not just her body. If you are thinking something loving and positive tell her. Don’t assume she knows how you feel. Just remember, the great men that women swoon over like Gilbert and Mr. Darcy are loved worldwide because they are thoughtful, caring and chivalrous not because they are rich and good-looking. In fact, the more love you show the more attractive you become.

Girls... stop believing what you’ve been told by Hollywood. If you are more concerned by how many likes you will get on your post than by the love and thought put into a moment, you may have a heart issue and you’re going to miss someone wonderful. Pay attention to the thought behind what your man is doing. Does he ask you to ride in the golf cart while he plays? It’s because he wants to spend time with you. Does he warm your car in the morning? It’s because he’s concerned about your comfort. Does he walk on the outside of the sidewalk? It’s because he’s concerned with your safety. Let him know how meaningful THESE moments are to you. Don’t let it go unnoticed. Men deserve to be romanced and doted on just as much as us.

So, in a world that has become easily dazzled by smoke and mirrors don’t miss when the real deal appears. Remember, if you’re looking for a love to last a lifetime then don’t be so easily swayed by the sparkle of a rhinestone. It may shine in the light at first glance but I think you’ll find over time that it will get easily scratched by the basic bumps of life. Don’t settle for something that isn’t built to last.


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