What Romance Means to Me

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

You may not think that a man who has been single all his life would know about love and romance, but I do. After growing up in the church and over 20 years of ministry I have seen a lot. What I have seen causes me to take love, romantic love more seriously. The media today shows you a shallow love, consisting of  plastic faces, plastic breasts and plastic hearts. I have seen way more than that.

I have stood in the hospital hallway with an 87 year old man, who was crying like a little boy because his wife of 67 years lay sick in the room nearby, close to death. She was his life. They never went anywhere without each other. They washed the dishes together every night because whatever the other was doing, the other wanted to be there. Neither of them ever ran to the post office alone. They went together because they loved being together. I ask myself, am I ready for that kind of love? By the way, the wife did not die. She is still alive, but her husband died a few months ago. She still talks about him all the time.

Marriage is for life. If I fall in love like that, will I one day have to mourn the death of my spouse? Or will she mourn my death? I remember a story about an old man standing at the fresh grave of his wife of many decades. As he stood there, he was overheard saying, “It ended  exactly how I wanted it to. She died first.” Let that sink in. It may not mean what you think. If I fall in love and get married I will not want to lose my wife and hopefully she would not want to lose me. Selfishness would make me want to die first so that I can get out of grieving her death when she goes. A lot of selfless love was behind the old man’s words when he said he was glad she died first so that she would not have to grieve. He grieved instead. That’s love. I believe that’s what Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 13.

I have seen a wife taking care of her sick husband day after day year after year. Because of his sickness it has been years since he was capable of doing anything for her. Even when he was well he was not the most faithful. Still she cares for him night and day year after year. Why? Because she made a vow 35 years ago. In her eyes, his lack of integrity on his vow did not loosen her from her vow. She still makes good on that vow every day. Wow! That’s love. That’s romance.

Being single is such a convenient way to be selfish. I am single so I can say that. I am not saying I am selfish, or all single people are selfish. I have heard it said that God gave us the Sabbath and tithing plan to help us systematically overcome selfishness. The Sabbath helps us overcome selfishness with our time, and tithe, the same with our money. Well I believe you can add marriage as another way to systematically overcome selfishness with both time and money.

I see married men and women spending their time and money unselfishly and making sacrifices every day. I may have never married yet, but I know what real love is. I have seen it, not on the silver screen, but in the daily lives of ordinary people.  Well, ordinary people to Hollywood maybe, but they are heroes to me. Heroes not because of a one-time heroic effort, but life long day after day heroes.

I am sorry if this post appears morbid or depressing. I just want people to know how I think. In my ministry I see things others may or may not see. When I think about romance, and believe it or not I do think about it, I don’t think about William and Kate in a fancy carriage. I think about the man who spends his last dime to keep his wife alive from some rare disease. I don’t think about the rich doctor who shows up at ritzy parties with his cute little perfectly proportioned nurse. I think about the man who works two jobs and comes home every night to care for his wife who is recovering from a mastectomy. That’s the world that I live in and see every day. That’s what love and romance means to me.


  1. It’s all in the “little” things of life. I have found that touch, a basic human need, is lacking in a lot of relationships. Those of us who are married have to remind ourselves that it’s not about us — it’s always about Jesus. We need to share Jesus’ touch especially with those we are closest to. We need to continue saying kind words and showing our love through our actions. Oh how much this world needs Jesus in relationships so we wouldn’t have all the brokenness, all the divorce, all the separations —

    If you have Jesus in your heart William — and I believe you do — then you are ready “to love like that.” Peace my brother!


  2. Other-centered love is true love -its so rare in this world today. Thank you for this beautiful blog posting.


  3. you don’t have to be married to know about romance. once you have the love of jesus in your heart that is all that matters. romance comes in all forms. people just need to show it
    and it would make people more happy.


  4. William you have come a long way. From that young man I use to know. I can see the wisdom God has given you. I lost Jerry Sr in Sept of 2009 and I lost my Mother in Dec of the same year. We were married 48 years. I married when I was 16 years old. Jerry was 19. We had a good life together. Our boys and their families are doing fine. William, I would not have wanted Jerry to go through what I have had to face without him. I am thankful God gave him to me as long as He did. Everyday is a challenge and some days are more so than others. I am so glad I can hang on to God to carry me through. He is the only reason I have made it this far. I have brothers and sisters that help me. And Jerry Jr now leaves near me. He has a very special wife. Thanks for your message. Love ya, Marilyn


  5. Hi William I enjoyed the stories. I agree with Susanna “you don’t have to be married to know about romance. Romance comes in all forms”. Romance is a gift from God. He made us all that way. Some people have had the opportunity to experience it with another close to them in the marriage relationship, others through close relationships. The question is what is romance? I think its a form of love, expressed one to another. Hence, its not only for married people. God expressed romance in that He gave His only Son to die on our behalf.


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