I am a hopeless romantic at heart. I swoon and cry through every cheesy romantic comedy and cheer at the end of a book when the main characters get together. I love love and the beauty that comes from a healthy relationship. For as much as I love fictional couples, I’ve only ever been in one relationship in real life. It was a long-distance relationship and far from perfect. Still, it showed me how amazing it could be to love another person and to be loved in return. It also showed me how heart-wrenching it can be when something you thought would last forever crumbles in an afternoon. And maybe you’ve been there too.
You might have thought that you were going to spend the rest of your lives together. That you’d be sitting on your front porch drinking coffee and holding time-weathered hands. When suddenly, that idealistic future is ripped apart by the words, “This isn’t working for me anymore.”
You’re lost love won’t be your last love.
Maybe you’ve dreamed of building a life and a family together with someone, only to have them tell you that they’re not actually looking for anything serious.
Your hoped-for love won’t be your last love.
Maybe you’ve been on dozens of dates, sifting through profile after profile, only to find the perfect person and have them tell you that they can’t date you because they have to work on themselves first.
Your almost love won’t be your last love.
Or maybe you’ve been dating the same person since high school. You’ve dreamed of a wedding and a marriage, only for them to say that they think you should see other people.
Your first love won’t be your last love.
For me, it was letting my hopeless romantic heart run away with me. I let myself be so blinded by dreaming up a future with someone that I couldn’t pick up on the signs that our relationship was coming to an end. And while it hurt when we broke up, I’m thankful that he was brave enough to end the relationship before it went any further. I worked through the anger, sadness, and disappointment that comes along with break-ups. Two years later I was finally feeling comfortable in my singleness when I go the news.
At the end of summer in 2019, I was told that my ex-boyfriend had died in a climbing accident. No one can prepare you for the tidal wave of emotions that hit you when you receive news like that. I remember hearing the words, “He passed away,” and feeling totally numb inside. There’s no self-help book or podcast for when your ex dies, and I felt overwhelmed by the emotions that were coursing through me. I am forever grateful for the friends who stuck with me, played board games, comforted me, and encouraged me to talk about what I was feeling. It took a long time to sift through what I was feeling, and when I was done I was left with a sticky residue of doubt covering my heart.
I was plagued by thoughts that told me that the only person who could ever love me was dead; there was no one else for me. I spent days wrestling with this idea that I was now the only person left to carry the story of our relationship, even though it had been two years since we had last talked, and I no longer felt any of those old emotions for him. I was weighed down by this idea that I had lost a love and there would never be another. And all those thoughts, lies, and whispering voices pulled me down and wrapped me in hopelessness. I was so used to storylines filled with soul mates and unlikely matches ending up together that I truly felt that I had lost the only person who would ever love me.
Our society gets so hung up on the idea of soul mates that when we end a relationship, we are left with nagging doubts, wondering if that’s the only person who could ever love us. We feel like we’ll never meet someone else. We’ve missed our chance, and we’ll be sad and alone forever. The idea of soul mates is picturesque, but it puts a lot of pressure on a relationship, pressure that doesn’t need to be there. When we’re constantly trying to find out if someone is “the one,” we lose sight of the beauty of the person right in front of us. We reduce them down to an idea or a hope, something that they could never be. This pressure can cause a relationship to splinter and crack before it’s even begun. Your heart is remarkable and worthy of protecting, and so is theirs. Both of you are children of God, and both of you deserve to be loved without unrealistic or unvoiced expectations attached.
The Lord loves you too much to hinge your happiness on a single person or any number of people, for that matter. I’ve learned that when we run around trying to find something or someone to complete us, we end up trading our hearts away to a lot of unworthy causes. We aren’t half a person looking for our matching puzzle piece. We’re sinners who should be looking to God to refine and renew us. By running to the Lord and seeking out His commandments, we are actively guarding our hearts. We are hiding ourselves (our longings and desires) in the Lord. By seeking Him first, we can ensure that we are honouring the people we are in relationship with.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”Proverbs 4:23 NIV
That person that you thought was going to ask you to marry them but then walked away? They aren’t the only person who will want to make a life with you. That guy who promised you that he’d never leave and then ghosted you? He’s not the only one who wants to get to know you. That person who broke your heart and made you question if you could ever be loved again? They’re probably hurting too, and both of you are still worthy of love. Your lost love won’t be your last love. The Lord has more for you than anyone person could ever give you. When we seek the hearts of man, we come up empty every time. When we seek after the heart of God, we are continually refreshed and renewed.
Step out and try new things. Go on the date. Talk to that person. Your story didn’t end when that person left you. Your story continues throughout every glowing experience and gut-wrenching decision. Your lost love won’t be your last love. And the love that stays with you throughout it all is the love that comes from the Lord. So, live in that love, and be brave in your relationships with others.