Perspective on Love Stories

We become the story we feed on. Marital love satisfies longings like no cheap imitation can. So the Real Story, the cosmic romance, fills us like no other story can.

What story will I feed on? What story will I become?

(Ann Voskamp in "Become the Story", originally at A Holy Experience)

He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” So His merciful and miraculous leading is individual—“Thou (singular) shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee.” The temptation is great to imitate or to expect the same manner of guidance which God has given another. “What is that to Thee; follow thou Me.” His Word abounds in examples of His separate leading of His sheep.

(from the journal of Elisabeth Elliot, quoted in Devotedly by Valorie Elliot Shepard)

God is “the best maker of all marriages,” and I’m convinced that He loves to do it! He brought Eve to Adam. He prompted Eliezer’s prayer for guidance, and then answered it by matching Rebekah with Isaac. He arranged for Ruth to “accidentally” bump into Boaz, inspired Naomi when she counseled Ruth to consider this man who seemed so beyond her grasp, and fueled Boaz’s determination to finish the matter that very day.

This is a picture of God’s heart. This is what He wants to do for all His children. This is what He wants to do for me.

If someday I live out my love story in light of the gospel, who can help seeing the pure and unconditional love of Jesus? That’s an exciting thought!

(Elisabeth in "His Love Stories" at Boundless.org)

"Read the excerpts from biographies of a few decades or a century ago, when dating was unheard of. Read the letters from contemporaries, stories of a faithful Shepherd's bringing two people together. No two stories are alike, for He knows His sheep, calls them by name, and leads them in paths of righteousness."

(Elisabeth Elliot in the introduction to Quest for Love)

When you hear a love story it is the description of something that happened, not a prescription of how to make that very same thing happen in your own life.

(Natasha Metzler in "How to Read Love Stories")

"We can’t take someone else’s story, no matter how much we like it, and superimpose it onto our own life. God writes a unique story for each of us, and trying to figure it out ahead of time is futile at best."

(Jeannie in "Trusting God with Your Happily Ever After")

"If you’re married, reading love stories can be a reminder of when your love was fresh and new. Sometimes, between kids and housework and projects and deadlines and phone calls and bills, I forget those butterflies I used to get when he called. I don’t think about all the little things that lined up 'just so' to allow us to meet. When I read a good love story, it brings back those happy memories, and encourages me to make new ones."

(Jeannie in "Humorous & Authentic Real-Life Love Stories")

When it comes to love stories, there isn’t a perfect way. Every single one of us will walk into every single relationship as a sinner or a sinner saved by grace. That’s it. There is no other option.

(Natasha Metzler in "How to Read Love Stories")

I am always encouraged to read or hear of a love story that truly reflects God's fingerprint, His perfect timing, and the evidence of God in each of the individual's lives. Love stories that were not manipulated or brought about by human scheming; each detail was obviously constructed by our Creator. Love stories that are a picture of Christ continually wooing and winning His bride; loving us when we least deserve it and accepting all of the ugly. Love stories in which the man desires to lead and the woman wants to be led and loved like the church. It helps me to believe that the kind of dreams and prayers that we all should have are not too big.

(Jennifer Langley in "Love Stories: An Encouragement")

"While over-the-top sentimentality and gushy romantic novels aren’t my cup of tea, I do love real-life love stories. They’re unique, authentic, and often humorous. They display God’s endless creativity mixed with the realities of life in a fallen world. They give hope that true love should be highly esteemed."

(Jeannie in "Humorous & Authentic Real-Life Love Stories")

Be careful that your efforts to “be prepared” for whenever God brings you into a courtship don’t leave you with a narrow view of how He will work.  Be careful not to construct a formula in your head as to how a courtship should look.  And above all, be careful to submit every aspect of future romantic relationships to our Father…including how you think they’ll look and play out.  Because as many courtship books remind us, God really does write the best love stories.

-Jessica Telian in "Real life isn't always like the courtship books"

"If you’re single, real-life love stories can reassure you that God works through all different kinds of circumstances. Don’t read with an eye to copying them in your own life, but take note of His faithfulness. Rest assured that He is equally faithful to write the details of your life story, whether or not it includes marriage."

(Jeannie in "Humorous & Authentic Real-Life Love Stories")

"God was slowly just using a bunch of different things to convict me that I had a certain script laid out for how [my love story] was going to go. He just impressed upon me the need to hold my hand more openly and not decide how it was going to look like and how it was going to go—that I would not be so quick to judge and so quick to determine [my husband] was or wasn’t him."

(Lisa Jacobson in "Are You Ready for a Real-Life Love Story?")

Don't follow a formula. While it’s tempting to try and tuck love into some tidy box, it will never work like that. Do rely on the Holy Spirit. Rather than depending on someone else’s “step-by-step”, listen to the Spirit and how He is guiding.

(Lisa Jacobson in "Essential Dos and Don'ts for Courtship and Dating" at Club31Women.com)

"So why read the stories at all? I believe it’s because stories are central to who we are as humans. The Bible itself is one epic story, told in many smaller stories. Stories tell us about Who God is and how He works in our lives, and give us perspective that what is happening today is only a part of a much bigger picture."

(Jeannie in "Trusting God with Your Happily Ever After")

"The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Word made flesh. I like to think that, in a small way, each of us is also the Word made flesh; that each of us has a story in which the kindness of God is made visible to the world. Think how clear His kindness is in your salvation story. And when you listen to the salvation stories of others, don't you see how unique is the way He captures each of our hearts?"

(Elisabeth in "His Love Stories" at Boundless.org)

"I believe love stories touch a place in our souls because they mirror — however imperfectly — the beautiful, redemptive love story that is the Gospel. The story of a Lover Who would risk everything to win His beloved, even His life. The broken bride who was unable to return His love but was healed and restored, fully remade by that sacred Lover. Real-life love stories offer little glimpses of the amazing, magnificent romance that will culminate at the end of time. They are a gift from God that can encourage our hearts as we put our trust in Christ to find our place in the eternal love story."

-Jeannie Pederson on Club31Women

Don't look to the world. The world wants you to think that your happiness depends on finding the perfect guy – or girl. But this just isn’t true. If you are a believer in Christ, then your joy is found in Him. Do look to the Word of God. Read the classic love stories found there, follow the instruction of the New Testament, and don’t forget the wisdom found in the book of Proverbs.

(Lisa Jacobson in "Essential Dos and Don'ts for Courtship and Dating" at Club31Women.com)

When we are reading love stories, we need to focus on what God has done—not on what the people did—because our very best “rightness” is still worth nothing in the Kingdom of God. It doesn’t guarantee us a single thing. Love stories are about how God moved, even when people didn’t have any idea that He was there.

(Natasha Metzler in "How to Read Love Stories")

God can’t and won’t be boxed in by our ideals.

Whether you date or court or just up and marry your best friend one day, God can be working through it. Let all be done for His glory.

(Natasha Metzler in "How to Read Love Stories")

"There could be seasons that it’s not helpful to read the love stories of other people. If that’s the place you find yourself today, my heart goes out to you, because I’ve been there too. In that case, put these aside and spend time with the One Who loves you more than you can imagine, the One Who gave His life to rescue His Beloved: you. These stories will wait."

(Jeannie in "Humorous & Authentic Real-Life Love Stories")

My favorite love stories are true ones. In fact, I've probably read or heard the stories of nearly 150 Christian couples, each one as unique as a fingerprint. Some couples called it "courtship," some called it "dating," and some met and married long before the terms acquired their present meanings. God's kindness is evident in them all.

(Elisabeth in "His Love Stories" at Boundless.org)

"Real-life love stories display the endless creativity of the Author of life. While some are similar, no two love stories are alike, and sometimes they begin with the strangest coincidences, the slimmest chances, the most insurmountable odds. Two strangers seated together on a plane. Attending the wrong funeral. Car breakdowns. Wrong numbers. Or sometimes the opposite is true, and next-door neighbors suddenly see each other in a different light, or the annoying tag-along kid grows up. I’m always fascinated by human drama, and that’s a key ingredient in love stories."

-Jeannie Pederson on Club31Women