Wednesday, 29 April 2015

I Think I Should Buy You Some Cowboy Boots

I am a sucker for a good love story. What can I say? I love love. I am the weepy, happy ending, feel good for days after type. And so, when my mom asked me to go see the newest Nicholas Sparks’ movie, The Longest Ride, I couldn’t say no! (Really, with it being out for a few weeks, I’m shocked I hadn’t seen it already!)

Last night we ventured out, popcorn in tow and tissues in hand, to watch what we knew would be a tear-jerking love story. I mean, that’s what we have all come to love and expect from Nicholas Sparks.

Typically I am a big reader but for some reason I hadn’t cracked into this story before so I didn’t know how it all came together. After a bit of a cheesy start, I was impressed by the intricacies of the story line and the weaving together of the characters. I laughed, I cried and I was certainly caught up in the romance of it all.

As the movie drew to a close, my mom leaned over and started to tell me of the true love story she had been witnessing beside her. A couple seats down sat an elderly couple. I noticed them as we shuffled past, trying not to step on any toes or trip over a bag. As my mom began to share I realized that this was the best part of the night.  

Throughout the movie these two were whispering. As the screen flashed images of cowboys and bull riders, the man leaned over and said with teasing in his voice, “I think I should buy you some cowboy boots.” As she lost her place in the storyline he leaned in close and caught her up. And as they walked down the steps and crossed the front of the theatre, he caught up to her, putting his arm around her shoulder and squeezing her in close.

A true love story wrapped up in the quiet of the theatre.

And isn’t this what we all want? Someone who will joke with us, be considerate of us, and show simple affection?

I am sure though, that throughout this old couples’ love story there were some unexpected turns, some loss, some fiery arguments. I’m sure there were times that they wanted to throw in the towel. I’m sure there were situations where she shrugged his arm off of her shoulder.

Ira, the older gentleman in the movie, stopped himself from sharing his story at a crucial time to give some of the most potent advice to the young Sophia. “Love requires sacrifice,” he said, “always.”

This element of sacrifice is something that many people can often forget. It seems obvious and yet can so easily become distorted. You see true sacrifice is not self-seeking. It is not stating the times that you have loved sacrificially and yet he hasn’t. It is a continual process, a focus on putting the other first.

It can be easy to have this wonderful list of what you are seeking out in a romantic partner. Young girls are often told to create a list of ‘non-negotiable’ things that they want in a man someday. And yet, too often we create this list without enacting these qualities ourselves. We want someone who is kind and generous, yet we are often selfish. We want someone with committed morals yet we act immorally. Sometimes we are fed this idea that we deserve to have all of our expectations met. But the question that is often forgotten is the one that we need to ask ourselves. Am I the type of person that my ideal partner would be looking for? Am I living a lifestyle that I am looking for in a future spouse?

As I drove home last night I was thinking about these romantic love stories. They tug at our heart strings because they demonstrate what most women desire. We want a man who will love us despite our short-comings, despite our issues, despite the things we can’t stand in ourselves. But are we willing to love him in spite of his humanity too?  

You see, if we believe that we deserve for our partner to exude every quality on our list, we will fall into a dangerous place. We need to remember our humanity, and his. This is not to say that if you want to be in a relationship but are single that you are doing something wrong. I encourage you to continue to lead a life that reflects what you are seeking out in a partner. The right person will come!

I have been restlessly reminded that we need to reflect on what we bring to a relationship and how we are willing to sacrifice. Life is a journey that will have many bends in the road. I certainly encourage you to seek a man who will teasingly buy you cowboy boots. Seek someone who will love you unconditionally. But even on the days where the sweet sayings and close squeezes seem far from the reality you see, I encourage you to remember that love requires sacrifice. It requires commitment. It requires a willingness to face the trials, challenges, and set backs knowing that true sacrifice, true love, true commitment brings true fulfillment. You can chase happiness and fulfillment your whole life, but most often, it is found in the opportunity to sacrifice and commit, an opportunity that may be right in front of you.

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