What Romance Means To Me
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My parents at their 50th wedding anniversary

You may not think that a man who has been single all his life would know about love and romance, but I do. After growing up in the church and over 20 years of ministry I have seen a lot. What I have seen causes me to take love, romantic love more seriously. The media today shows you a shallow love, consisting of  plastic faces, plastic breasts and plastic hearts. I have seen way more than that.

I have stood in the hospital hallway with an 87 year old man, who was crying like a little boy because his wife of 67 years lay sick in the room nearby, close to death. She was his life. They never went anywhere without each other. They washed the dishes together every night because whatever the other was doing, the other wanted to be there. Neither of them ever ran to the post office alone. They went together because they loved being together. I ask myself, am I ready for that kind of love? By the way, the wife did not die. She is still alive, but her husband died a few months ago. She still talks about him all the time.

Marriage is for life. If I fall in love like that, will I one day have to mourn the death of my spouse? Or will she mourn my death? I remember a story about an old man standing at the fresh grave of his wife of many decades. As he stood there, he was overheard saying, “It ended  exactly how I wanted it to. She died first.” Let that sink in. It may not mean what you think. If I fall in love and get married I will not want to lose my wife and hopefully she would not want to lose me. Selfishness would make me want to die first so that I can get out of grieving her death when she goes. A lot of selfless love was behind the old man’s words when he said he was glad she died first so that she would not have to grieve. He grieved instead. That’s love. I believe that’s what Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 13.

I have seen a wife taking care of her sick husband day after day year after year. Because of his sickness it has been years since he was capable of doing anything for her. Even when he was well he was not the most faithful. Still she cares for him night and day year after year. Why? Because she made a vow 35 years ago. In her eyes, his lack of integrity on his vow did not loosen her from her vow. She still makes good on that vow every day. Wow! That’s love. That’s romance.

Being single is such a convenient way to be selfish. I am single so I can say that. I am not saying I am selfish, or all single people are selfish. I have heard it said that God gave us the Sabbath and tithing plan to help us systematically overcome selfishness. The Sabbath helps us overcome selfishness with our time, and tithe, the same with our money. Well I believe you can add marriage as another way to systematically overcome selfishness with both time and money.

I see married men and women spending their time and money unselfishly and making sacrifices every day. I may have never married yet, but I know what real love is. I have seen it, not on the silver screen, but in the daily lives of ordinary people.  Well, ordinary people to Hollywood maybe, but they are heroes to me. Heroes not because of a one-time heroic effort, but life long day after day heroes.

I am sorry if this post appears morbid or depressing. I just want people to know how I think. In my ministry I see things others may or may not see. When I think about romance, and believe it or not I do think about it, I don’t think about William and Kate in a fancy carriage. I think about the man who spends his last dime to keep his wife alive from some rare disease. I don’t think about the rich doctor who shows up at ritzy parties with his cute little perfectly proportioned nurse. I think about the man who works two jobs and comes home every night to care for his wife who is recovering from a mastectomy. That’s the world that I live in and see every day. That’s what love and romance means to me.

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About William Earnhardt

William Earnhardt has been a Bible Worker, literature evangelist and lay pastor in Oklahoma and Texas, before coming to Tampa Florida, where he has been the Bible instructor and lay pastor for the past ten years for the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church. He has also held revivals and evangelism seminars, as well as soul winning workshops from Peru to Connecticut.

Comments

What Romance Means To Me — 19 Comments

  1. What Romance means to Me. That was an awesome piece there, we should Love endlessly and without selfishness, that's Love. May we grow to Love one another with affection and sincerely just like Jesus Christ did to Us on the cross.

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  2. Romance is thoughtfulness, anticipating your spouse's needs, and special touches that mean something to him or her because you know what they like or prefer. It usually doesn't mean gifts; something way more personal than that is time and affection.

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  3. Thank you for your testimony, brother. I've lived more than three score and ten years as a single woman, and I know that God loves me with an everlasting love. One of my "hobbies" is admiring happily married people, and from what I have learned, only God could have invented marriage.

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  4. Dear William,

    A heartfelt and deep perspective of romance and love. Given that the Creator is the origin of Love, the two greatest love stories I personally feel in God's Word are found in Genesis 1 and John 3:16. The Spirit of God "hovering" over the face of the waters in loving anticipation of creating a perfect world, a perfect environment, a perfect situation and a perfect image of Himself in creating man and woman is the ultimate example of God's Love. John 3:16, the other great example of His selfless love for us, His children, His unconditional love and sacrifice, giving of His Son to die for our sins, and thus making it possible for our eternal Salvation. When I think about the depth of God's Love in these two cornerstone events in our history, on a very clear day in my mind, I strongly relate to this "romance and love" feeling when I think about my wife and children and close family. When I am in this state of mind, (and it is often!), I do feel God's warm presence and a closeness with Him where I openly proclaim to Him, my love for what he has done, is doing and will continue to do for me and mine, until He comes to claim us, His children. It is a feeling that is at certain moments, indescribable, but I know it is God given. Thank you God for your Eternal love!

    God Blessings.

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  5. "Even when he was well he was not the most faithful. Still she cares for him night and day year after year. Why? Because she made a vow 35 years ago... She still makes good on that vow every day. Wow! That’s love. That’s romance."

    Well well bravo! 35 years! "Chained or Married? What's the attitude here? I am awfully perplexed. Should one sustain her. Actually nothing is wrong with helping this "canker of marriage oxygen", FOR LOVE IS A PRINCIPLE.
    On the other hand where is the romance in unfaithfulness? Marriage is
    "kiddushin" the rest falls under adultry or fornication.
    Why do some love hoping to be loved? Why play the martyr to a husband who has been a culprit and call it love? Aren't a lot of errors made in the name of love... ?

    "In her eyes, his lack of integrity on his vow did not loosen her from her vow."
    Can one be more Caesar than Caesar!
    Indeed! Perhaps she had all her fingers in her eyes! Whoever Christ sets free is free indeed!
    Make it clear, what this woman did was her choice. I do not praise her.
    She had no obligation.
    We can learn a lot from the "Proverbs 31 woman". The door swings on both sides!

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      • I appreciate your response. The story was more about her love than their love. Forgiveness and love can do so much more than a sense of duty. Her actions may well have wooed her husband to love Jesus, thus leading him to saving grace. This life is so fleeting! Bitterness will get you nowhere; "love never fails!"

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        • Patti, I know that it has been Jesus' faithfulness to me, even when I was not faithful to Him that has caused me to fall in love with Him and serve Him with all my heart, mind and soul. The kind of love you are talking about changes lives!

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  6. Thank you for such a beautiful piece. The ultimate love story is Jesus loves us so much that he was willing to die for us so that we may have an opportunity to have eternal life. I am overjoyed because eternal life and a beautiful home is offered to each one of us (not just to Adam and Eve). Everyone will not have the opportunity to experience the perfect romantic relationship with a fellow human being, but each one of us can experience a love relationship with Christ.

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  7. What a wonderful lesson about love. Not all has been fortunate to get love from fellow human beings. What a comfort we get from the Lord. God is so good. Happy Sabbath to all!

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  8. Hi William may I change your name to Daniel. And keep on ministering for the Lord He will find you a help meet.

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  9. Amen.
    Being a single young person is no easy thing but with God I have been able to remain strong. I have realized that no one will love me like God, no one. And to me that is so comforting.
    What a lovely article.

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  10. William, I admit that part of what Ginger had to say had also crossed my mind as I read your piece. I liked very much what you had to say. I agreed with Ginger's comment (at least as I understood it) that the actions of the wife seem to me as more of an Agape/love is a decision not based on emotions, without any "romance". As I look at my life, and as I look at God's total unfairness to me in lavishing me with mercy and grace and His empowering love, I realize that only as I keep looking to Him will my life and love begin to reflect His amazing love and goodness. This holds true in every aspect of love and romance I believe. God is good, all the time.

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  11. I think I understand Ginger's perspective. Twenty three years ago when I got married, I loved my husband and pledged to remain his wife until death. Although, I knew he had a challenging illness I was not deterred from loving him. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances has become physically and verbally abusive. He still becomes ill and needs my assistance when he becomes incapacitated. The truth is despite of his cruelty, I assist him NOT because of romantic love, but because of agape love. I now see him as a 'child of God' and pray earnestly for his spiritual and physically healing. If I am wrong for having this attitude I pray that God forgives me.

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  12. Thank you everyone for your thoughts and comments. yes love is a principle but it is also an emotion. They don't call Christ's last week the passion week for nothing. He is passionate about us!

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