I have a confession to make: I occasionally(more often than not) watch the hit TV show “The Bachelorette” on Monday evenings with my wife. Last night was no different as we rushed to get the kids into bed before the show came on at 8 o’clock. We knew that there was going to be something ‘big’ taking place on the show with Frank, but we were not sure just what.

Let me clarify one point: I do not always find the depiction of love nor the behavior of the participants on this show to be a good example to follow. At the very least this show provides mild entertainment and at the very most it provides a picture into our society’s skewed view of love. This will become more apparent in a minute.

So last night on The Bachelorette Frank finds himself as one of the top three guys contending for Ali’s love and affection. But he has a conflict brewing; he thinks he is still in love with his ex-girlfriend Nicole from Chicago. So, instead flying to Tahiti to spend the night with Ali (does she actually sleep with all these guys night after night before making her decision?) Frank instead flies to Chicago to see if he still has feelings for Nicole. Once he is there and sees her, his emotions come flooding back and he realizes that he has made a huge mistake by leaving Nicole. So what does he do next? He flies to Tahiti to tell Ali that he is breaking up with her. They both get all dramatic and weepy and ratings on the show soar higher than ever.

My question is this: what is love? Frank did not know that he was in ‘love’ with Nicole until he saw her in Chicago. Once he saw her again however his love returned. While he was on the show he was falling in love with Ali. This does not sound like love to me; instead it sounds like a crush or at the very least and worst it sounds like lust. This is because love is more than a feeling or a magical and mystical emotion that controls us from the inside. While love may begin this way and be carried along by feelings, love is just as much a decision and a commitment to another person! This is why I find Frank’s situation somewhat perplexing. Pick a girl and commit to her Frank, but do not blame a magical force called love (er, lust) for your indecision.

Newsflash Frank, it is likely possible to fall in ‘love’ with the ugly stepsister from Cinderella if you travel the world’s most beautiful and romantic cities with her. The substance love will be tested in day to day life when you get to be you and she gets to be her and you decide that you still want to stay committed to her because real (true, genuine, mature) love compels you to do so.

Am I the only one who thinks this way? On Breakfast Television this morning they were praising Frank for what he did. They were perpetuating the notion that love is this mysterious force that drives us to do all kinds of difficult things that we have no control over. Does love control us? If it does it sounds a little more like lust or some addiction that we need rehab for. I was once immature and thought of love this way…but I grew up. I had to. My wife made me (and thank God for her:)!

Let me take this one step further and then I am done. I was recently told of a couple that I know who has moved in together. The person who was telling me this story said that this would be a great way to find out if they are compatible together and should perhaps get married someday. This frustrates me because it once again reflects an inaccurate view of love. Two things come to mind: first, if you are living together why would you even bother to get married? As someone said to me, if you are getting milk for free why would you buy the cow? Secondly, if you are afraid that you will find out something by living together that will cancel your love for this person (like maybe they are cranky in the morning, have terrible nighttime snoring, or perhaps they are less attractive with their clothes off) what kind of love do you have anyway?

Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t the best at love either (just ask my wife). But I think we need to think a little longer and try a little harder before we leap in and out of this thing that we call ‘love’. Is there anyone brave enough to challenge the culture?

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