Thanks for the nod--I feel like a virus that's creeping into every sector of the Singles forum
(totally kidding! I know what you meant!
I really think CharliRenee really hit the nail on the head with her focus on sacrificial love.
The older I get, as much as I would love to experience romantic "love" that's full of rainbows and butterflies, I believe that God is coaxing me (just from my own perspective, I can't speak for anyone else) to think about what I would be willing to go through for love rather than what feelings or self-affirmation I could get from it.
I was talking to my Mom about how we are the "Sandwich Generation"--caught between both raising children/the younger generation AND caring for aging parents. Many of us long to find relief in the safety of a marriage that would hopefully give us all those warm fuzzy feelings.
But I often wonder just how long they would actually last. I'm not trying to sound like Ms. Doom-and-Gloom, but some of the challenges of the past few years have made me think of marriage much differently than when I was younger.
For instance, what if it got to a point where your spouse no longer remembered who you were and treated you like a an unwelcome stranger, even though you had to care for them like a child?
Long story short--a family friend knew of a situation in which the wife had Alzheimer's and no longer recognized her husband. Her husband , overwhelmed with feeding, changing, and dressing her, hired a full-time female caretaker for his wife. During the process of caring for his wife together, the husband, starved for any kind of affirmation or even recognition, fell in love with the caretaker, and the two were carrying on a relationship while both caring for his wife together.
It's easy to judge from the outside. But it's harder to think about being the one in that situation. Another tough reality I seem to be reminded of lately is that disabilities due to memory loss seem to be happening at younger and younger ages. While scouting out a possible future care facility for relatives, we briefly said hi to a couple who was only around 50 years old and yet one of them had memory loss to the point where they couldn't leave the unit alone.
I also think about my own parents caring for me at various points throughout my life. I had something happen last spring in which I was knocked off my feet for a bit but my parents still faithfully looked after me, even as a grown adult, and for a brief instant, I felt 5 years old again--safe, protected, and as if I had nothing in the world to worry about. My Mom didn't care how sick I got or that I needed help walking--all she cared about was being there when I needed her and helping me get better.
To me, this is love. When we talk about thinking of someone all the time and wanting to do things for them because we love them, I also think about things such as:
* Am I strong enough to be there if the person gets sick? (If that person is vomiting constantly and has to wear a diaper, am I willing to clean up the messes?)
* Would I be able to stand by someone who couldn't remember who I was, even if it was for the rest of my life?
* Would that person be willing and able to do the same for me?
I guess it's a side effect of getting a little older--after seeing the people around me juggling a circus of issues, now when I think about wedding vows, my mind emphasizes the "IN SICKNESS" part more than the "IN HEALTH".
I honestly have to ask myself, "If push comes to shove--and life usually shoves with both hands and feet--am I able to meet that level of giving?"
Maybe God doesn't think I'm ready yet... and maybe that's why I'm still single.