The Death of Romance

The love of a man was never meant to be a woman’s greatest hope.

Life is filled with grave disappointments. One of my favorite comedians is accused of tragic sexual violations. A pastor I greatly admired steps down because of moral failure. And now, one of the greatest modern authors of love stories is leaving his wife of 25 years.

While I’m not a huge fan of romantic novels, I enjoyed The Notebook and a few other Nicholas Sparks books. Men who tell stories like Nicholas Sparks give hope to women that true love is actually possible. Unfortunately, his marriage appears to have bumped into a reality that he couldn’t write his way out of.

Nick Sparks isn’t the only love expert to fail to save his own marriage. Ironically, John Grey and Barbara De Angelis, both counselors and authors of marriage books, were once married to each other and then divorced. For a biblical example, look no further than King Solomon, the author of Proverbs and Song of Songs whose personal love life was a disaster.

This is not a “gossip” column, and I have no desire to dig into the details of anyone else’s failed marriage. But I would like to use the opportunity as a “teachable moment” to ask, “What does this show us about love and romance?”

The primary lesson I am reminded of is this: We can never guarantee a love story. Even if you find your “soul mate,” read all the right books, and maintain a positive attitude, sustaining a life-long love story is no guarantee. Sparks writes about what we long for in romance, not about the realities of love.

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Juli Slattery

Juli Slattery is a TCW regular contributor and blogger. A widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional, she co-founded Authentic Intimacy and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?

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May 25

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