My name is Christina and I am a closet romantic.
I blame it on my Grandparents who smile together in black and white photos and the way my parents gravitate around each other like orbiting planets every time they walk into a room. I blame it on that kiss at the end of the second Spiderman movie when Mary Jane turns up in her wedding dress, and on Jake who fell in love (and stayed in love) with my best friend in our high school science class.
Romantic love, I think, is one of the most fascinating, beautiful things there is. And not just the big, dramatic scenes of it. It’s more powerful to me the way couples grudgingly find each other again after really big fights, and when they hold hands without really thinking about it.
The view from the cheap seats
I’m also very single, so I don’t talk about romance much because then people think I’m unhappy and things just get awkward. I don’t want to be seen as that girl – the one who’s waiting around for someone. Because I’m not. I’ve been having a very good life without much of a romantic subplot: an exciting, adventurous, and challenging life that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
No, I’m not going to go down the slightly creepy, “Jesus is my boyfriend so I’m good” path, because he isn’t. Jesus is much bigger, grander, closer and dearer than any of that. And he isn’t supposed to fill places in our lives meant for other people (although he does sit with us in those places when they start to ache). It’s not fair to anyone to think that “drawing near” to Jesus (as if he weren’t always closer than a heartbeat) will automatically heal every injury left by a broken or absent human relationship.
It doesn’t work like that.
So I’m not an expert on romantic love, just an observer. But maybe there’s some benefit to being on the outside. After all, who enjoys a play more: the audience, or the cast that’s been putting on the same costumes and saying the same lines for two weeks and just want to sit down and stop playing their parts for a while?
So as an audience member, this is my quiet standing ovation.
Someone smarter than me could probably explain the draw of romantic love with biology. But to me romance looks like God fingerprints - like sunsets and thunderstorms and all the other beautiful things that feel a little deeper than the science behind them; those things that catch us and whisper that there’s something far better just behind the curtain - someone all that beauty is shining out of and pointing back to.
Because I think sometimes in our efforts to counter a culture that seems to preach “Finding romantic love will complete you” – especially to women - we end up missing the beauty that came before that message shrouded it in shades of selfishness and sexism.
Of course the idea that a person needs romantic love to be complete is silly, but need has never been the point of the truest romance.
The triune God in love
One of my favorite quotes about the nature of God is by C.S. Lewis:
“In Christianity God is not a static thing—not even a person—but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.”
What Lewis is getting at is that the three persons of the Trinity exist in loving relationship to one another. Therefore, God is fully fulfilled in perfect relationship within himself (the theological term for this is ‘perichoresis’).
God is and always has been relationally complete within himself. He has his own community, purpose, perfect love and acceptance completely apart from us. He is not lonely or lacking in any way, but he turned his back on all of that for a moment to be with us. Which means there is not any part of God’s love for us that is self-seeking; he has no need of us, he only wants us.
I think romantic love is supposed to be more like that. Because while we need community and other people around us to be healthy, we don’t actually need romantic love. In fact, I’m convinced there are easier ways to find love and belonging than to pay the price of being in love.
So the thought that someone would willingly pay that price when they don’t need to is powerful.
This is why romantic love is so important to people. It’s why we keep writing songs and telling stories about it, and getting it wrong and trying again.
Because while this desire to be loved so unselfishly is ultimately fulfilled in God, we look for his reflection, even in its imperfections, in each other.
Tale as old as time
Being a closet romantic, I’ve seen the new ‘Beauty and the Beast’ movie twice. Unlike so many Disney romances, the love story in Beauty and the Beast is surprisingly like some of my favorite real life love stories.
Belle, the heroine of the story, is brave and selfless out of love for her father. From her the Beast learns to be brave and selfless too, and in one of my favorite scenes, eventually lets Belle go even though doing so seems like it will cost him any hope of being human again. And it is this decision, this act of real, selfless love, that actually (spoiler alert) earns Belle’s love and saves him.
My favorite real-life romances are far less dramatic, but in a thousand small ways they whisper the same message of courageous selflessness. As they choose each other, not because of their own needs but simply because that is what love does, they echo back the song of an eternal, courageously loving God. And that is a song I never get tired of hearing.
Christina Jones is recuperating from graduate school by watching far too much TV and ignoring the many very good books waiting to be read and re-read on her shelf. She recently moved to Spokane, Washington where she works for a nonprofit preparing for and responding to natural disasters. She is usually running late and has a background in international relief work, which has led to an adeptness at sprinting through airports. When not watching TV, reading, working or running through airports, Christina enjoys Latin dancing, solitary evening jogs, old buildings, too much ice cream and long conversations with good friends.
Christina Jones’ previous articles may be viewed at
Christina Jones is a Press Service International young writer from the USA.