Finding true love: It’s not as flashy or simple as The Bachelorette

Emily Becker

The Bachelorette may seem like trash TV to some, but to others it is a guilty pleasure that goes beyond reason. I jumped on the bandwagon this season and watched the journey of JoJo Fletcher as she sought after true love amidst 26 guys.

The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are reality TV dating game shows in which 25-30 men or women compete for one’s heart for a chance at lasting love.

Last season on The Bachelor, JoJo spent eight weeks falling in love with Ben Higgins along with 28 other women, only to be turned down on the final episode because Ben loved the other contestant just that much more. “I told this woman [JoJo] I love her, and I do. But I love somebody more,” Ben said when deciding to choose Lauren.

JoJo’s resilience brought her to what may have been the most emotionally confusing season of her life, having to say goodbye to 25 men in hopes that she’d find true love with one.

During this season’s premiere of The Bachelorette, JoJo expressed, “I cannot wait to find the person that I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with. And be done. And be happy.”

But is it really that easy?

We may never find ourselves in a house full of men or women competing for our love, but where are we searching? And what is true love, anyway?

By the world’s standards, it is finding the one person who completes you, who you are attracted to and get along with, and who you feel such a strong connection with that you can’t imagine your life without them.

What is a Biblical View of True Love?

The greatest commandment in the Bible is: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39).

This verse may seem cliché because it’s referenced so often — but that doesn’t mean it can’t teach us something important about love that’s stronger than romantic attraction. Take a closer look at this verse again. If you love our God “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” that means your focus is fully on Him. This leaves little room, if any, to focus attention on yourself.

Finding true love is not about fulfilling our own selfish desires through another person.

Finding true love is not about fulfilling our own selfish desires through another person. If that’s what it is all about, we could find true love in anyone who promised to meet our every need (which will never happen).

When we focus fully on God and pursue Him, loving others above ourselves becomes a little more natural. The second greatest commandment, to “love your neighbor as yourself,” is practically how we demonstrate our love for God above all else. True love is about putting the other person’s needs before our own, just like any other healthy relationship. In a committed relationship like marriage, love is a mutual decision to pursue each other and put each other first.

How Do We Practice True Love?

Maybe this concept of love is new to you. That’s OK! God offers guidance in the Bible to help us understand the popular topic of love that reality TV hasn’t quite nailed down.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” (Romans 12:9-13).

This is love in action. If you’re wondering if you are practicing true love — whether with your friends, family, or romantic partner — ask yourself:

  • Am I being sincere?
  • Am I clinging to what is true and good?
  • Am I being devoted, honoring another above myself?
  • Am I serving the Lord?
  • Am I practicing hospitality?

Evaluate your relationships with these in mind. Even if others aren’t extending that kind of love to you, continue to hold on to those principles of sincere love. You can only change your own actions, and oftentimes, others will follow.

Love is a Choice

In the end, Ben chose Lauren on The Bachelor, and JoJo chose Jordan on The Bachelorette. Maybe it is tempting for them to consider what life would have been like with one of the other contestants if they had chosen differently. And maybe it is tempting for them to doubt their own decisions that were made based on such a short time span around the others. The fact is, their decision to love doesn’t end at the final rose ceremony. They must continue to choose to love one another if that love is going to last.

In the same manner, if we find someone whom we love and choose to marry, the decision to love doesn’t end on the wedding day. We must choose to love our spouse every day, even when it doesn’t feel like a happy ending. You may not get to choose from a mansion full of men or women, and it might not be the most dramatic season of your life, but you can make the decision to love one person above yourself and give them the final rose every day of your lives together.

Find more on love, relationships, and marriage. If you want help finding the truth about love and healthy relationships, talk to someone in the Care Room after a Sunday service.

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