This post is the result of a bout of inspiration after reading Jeremy & Audrey Roloff’s A Love Letter Life (:
In essence, the book is an ever-so eloquent retelling of Jeremy & Audrey’s love story, dabbled with some truth bombs, and SOOOOO many little nuggets of relationship wisdom for the single, the dating, the engaged, and the married (that covers everyone, right?).
I should preface this by saying that although I was excited when Jeremy & Audrey announced their book, I wasn’t quite sure if it was for me. Me, the perpetually single 19-year-old reading a book about relationships? Not my thing. Honestly, I didn’t think it would serve me because, as mentioned above, I’ve never even been in a relationship. But, Y’ALL, I was so wrong about that assumption. After reading this book, I can now see how as Jeremy & Audrey mentioned, this book is for anyone and everyone who has the desire to “pursue creatively, date intentionally, & love faithfully.” The foundation of the book is Christian, but even if you don’t consider yourself a Christian, there are so many important lessons you can take away from it.
As the topic of this blog post is a book about love, I feel as if I should give a little background of my love life… or rather, lack thereof. I’ve never been a relationship gal. Perhaps a little selfishly, I’ve always been a little too concerned about myself to truly have the desire or energy to deal with someone else in such a significant wat way. From a young age, I knew that romantic relationships were work (genuinely not sure when or how I found this out. I guess sometimes we just *know* things haha) so I didn’t have much interest in dealing with one.
In addition, I’ve spent a lot of my life focusing on my own problems. I dealt with selective mutism (a rare anxiety disorder) in elementary school, followed by the sudden loss of my dad just before I started 6th grade. Long story short, my teenage self was dealing with far too much emotional trauma to worry about whether or not I should date Timmy (totally made up name lol) from Biology class at the ripe age of 14. I had occasional crushes on guys, but I never wanted to pursue anything. I’d always find at least one red flag that made my intuition go, “GIRL, don’t even waste your time.” So, I didn’t. I’ll admit that maybe I’m a little too reliant on my intuition (also, stubborn), but I’m pretty sure it’s consistently correct.
For most of my teenage years, I’ve felt like a bit of an outcast due to the fact that I had the desire to date intentionally. I’m the first to admit that my standards for men are quite high, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s not that I’m not open to love, but I know that “dating around” won’t serve my heart. I consider it a gift from present (& past) me to future me for not having her deal with heartbreak over guys who I knew didn’t match my standards in the first place.
Okay, back to the book (smooth segue, right?)
As I was reading, I saw a kindred spirit in Audrey’s initial content nature in being single. As do I, she liked that her relationship status didn’t define the presence or absence of her happiness. Additionally, she wasn’t willing to spend too much time hanging out with someone she didn’t see a future with. I found comfort in her words, knowing that although some days it feels like it, I’m not the only girl who has no interest in dealing with guys who I don’t see myself being with in the long-term future. Call it lame or prude, but those are my values.
Back to those truth bombs I mentioned earlier. One of the major points of the Roloff’s book is to prepare more for your marriage than you do for your wedding day. It seems like such an obvious concept, but I’ve never thought of it that way before. Have you? Unfortunately, we live in a society that overemphasizes the importance of the wedding and underemphasizes the significance of the promise being made on that day. Collectively getting back to the roots of what marriage (& dating) truly represents would prevent so many relationships from ending in heartbreak and resentment.
Another point I liked is how important it is to build a strong foundation of friendship before pursuing a relationship. At the beginning of the book, Audrey describes “the blind-love trap” as “hurrying into a relationship, dabbling with sexual intimacy, and becoming emotionally attached” (pg. 41). In that situation, there’s really no time to think clearly about any red flags. At that point when friends and family may start to raise concerns, the individual is already too emotionally invested in the other person to really pay any mind to these red flags. Fast forward a little bit later, and those red flags usually become relationship-ending factors. Being friends first allows you to think more clearly about the person and give genuine thought about whether or not those red flags are deal-breakers. You can get to know each other on a much deeper level and decide if this person is actually someone you see yourself with long-term, or whether it’s just infatuation.
In that situation, there’s really no time to think clearly about any red flags. At that point when friends and family may start to raise concerns, the individual is already too emotionally invested in the other person to really pay any mind to these red flags. Fast forward a little bit later, and those red flags usually become relationship-ending factors. Being friends first allows you to think more clearly about the person and give genuine thought about whether or not those red flags are deal-breakers. You can get to know each other on a much deeper level and decide if this person is actually someone you see yourself with long-term, or whether it’s just infatuation.
I don’t want to give too much away about the book but if you’re intrigued, I would highly recommend buying a copy. As much as it sounds like I’m being paid to say this, I promise I’m not. I just believe in the message of the book so wholeheartedly that I want to share it with my audience.
As I continue in my journey of being single, A Love Letter Life reminds me that I am in the prelude of my own love story. Instead of wallowing in my self-pity because I’m not in a relationship, I’m using this time to work on myself so that I possess the qualities I’d want in my future husband. In my opinion, seasons of long-term singleness are severely underrated. I don’t want to enter a romantic relationship because I’m lonely or bored, but because I know it’s right. I want to write my own love story that I’m proud of 🙂