Leah’s life was controlled by the hope that she could somehow make herself lovable. She was desperate to find a way to earn her husband’s attention. Her broken heart and desperation to be loved, teach us a deeply personal truth about our own search for true love. We inevitably all feel the crushing weight of trying to earn it.
Marketers sell us the idea that if we were just a little bit more attractive, a little thinner, and a little better dressed, then someone would finally take notice and we would feel loved. But we do not. Culture pressures us to set aside our prudish reluctance and instead give-away our bodies; it promises us intimacy leads to love. But it does not.
“Honestly, true love has never really been about romance or passion at all. It is about truth and value. It is about vulnerability and acceptance.”
The harder we try, the more desperate we become to find the magic potion. We believe that with the poison-tipped arrow of Cupid in our hand, we need only hit our target and watch as love and intimacy explode into a vibrant life of confidence, fulfillment, and passion. But, that is not real life. So, we end up settling for watching it play out in movies and dreaming about it in novels. Our own experience feels more like crawling our way through the dunes of the Sahara Desert, desperate to find an oasis with water. Just when we think we have finally found true love, we are crushed with the reality that it was just a mirage and we have nothing to show for it.
Leah helps us realize that most of what we call love and our search for it, is really a desperate expedition for evidence that we are valuable enough to be loved in the first place. We want to feel like our life is worth something to someone. We are desperate to be known, not just as a body, but as a soul. We want to be vulnerable and in that vulnerability to be accepted. We want to be loved unconditionally.
This is where we find the great struggle of looking for true love. As one author puts it, “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear.” Each of us wants to find a way to open up our hearts and lives and know that in that moment of honesty we will be accepted and not rejected.
We all know the risks, so we tend toward pretending. Too nervous to share the truth, we morph into whatever seems most desirable. But that is empty. We know it and we just do not know what else to do. We feel like we have to keep the show going. After all, what is the alternative? If we open up with the whole truth, we face the risk of being ridiculed, rejected, and thrown away.
Honestly, true love has never really been about romance or passion at all. It is about truth and value. It is about vulnerability and acceptance. It is about wholeness and finding peace. It is about discovering a foundation on which we can build our lives and on which we can place our hope and confidence. It is about feeling like we are worth something. It is about sharing vulnerability and in the midst of it, feeling loved unconditionally.