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Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Truth About Romance

Today I want to address an open letter (that means everyone can read it) to the three girls that mean more to me than my own life.  Lady and ZeeZee, you are becoming young women.  Blondie, you are a bit young for this, but I want you to pay attention too.  You shouldn't be having boyfriends for many years yet, but you are starting to imagine what it would be like.  I want to make sure you know the truth.

First I want all three of you to know- you are beautiful.  I know me telling you that is like hearing it from your mom.  Inside you’re rolling your eyes and thinking “whatever Jana, you have to say that because we’re family.”  No, you really are beautiful.  Seeing you brightens my day, and when I have trouble sleeping at night, I picture your smiles.  You are the happiest, brightest part of my life.  If you know you’re beautiful, your life will be much better.  You don’t need someone to complete you, and you don’t need someone to make you happy.  I promise you if you can’t be happy by yourself, no one else will ever make you happy.

At your age, you are getting less concerned with what I think and more concerned with what boys think.  You want to know you can be loved the way you see your parents love each other, and the answer is yes you can, and you will be-in time.  Now that you’re teenagers I’m starting to get scared that you won’t understand what real love is.  The books, the movies, the pictures on the internet, they’re all lying to you, my little loves.  If you expect life to be like the movies you see, you may be in for a lifetime of disappointment.  Love is not some instantaneous, magical moment.  No no dears, the truth is a million times better than the movies.

First of all, Lady, you recently told me that boys your age are weird and gross.  Yes dear, they are.  But you have a lot of growing up to do yourself.  When the boys stop being so gross (around the time you get home from serving a mission ;) you will be a lot better prepared for a relationship.  One of the first lies you’ve been told about love is that it only happens once.  I used to believe that.  I thought if ever anyone expressed interest in me I needed to snag him fast, because if I lost that first one I was doomed for eternity.  I’m here now to say you will probably fall in love more than once.  Every time will be different and valuable, but don’t think that any relationship is the last chance you have.  There are more wonderful experiences ahead of you three than you can possibly imagine at this point.

I see so many pictures like this on the internet. 
Pic 3
The truth is, when you start dating, sometimes even the very best man will say things that hurt your feelings.  Sometimes he’ll be a dork and say something without thinking.  And if we’re being honest here, girls tend to get hurt over dumb stuff sometimes.  I remember being very upset with my boyfriend’s insensitivity while he was sitting there trying to figure out what was going on.  I guarantee this will happen to you.  Anyone you date will think differently than you, and understanding one another will take patience and effort.  Please don’t drop someone the first time they say something you don’t like.

This is another big cause of contention. 
Pic 2
Girls, he’s not a mind reader.  You need to tell him what you want.  If you’re crying and he asks what’s wrong and you say “nothing, I’m fine.”  He is going to think you want him to pretend everything is fine.  How would you like your mom or I to get mad at you for not doing things we never told you to do?  It’s not fair to hold him to expectations you didn’t tell him.  Girls, please, be classier than that.

This one is really important to me. 
Pic 8
Darlings, jealousy is not cute.  Jealousy is not proof that he loves you, and it is not proof that you’re valuable to him.  Jealousy is him thinking he owns you.  If your guy has jealousy issues, run the other way as fast as your two feet can take you.  If in the future you date someone with this problem, call me and I will leave work or whatever I’m doing to come get you.  Stay away from jealous guys, they will never treat you as a person-only as another one of their “things.”  There are some men you really should avoid like the plague, but trust me, I'll make sure you can spot them from a mile off long before your first date.

Right now, you are starting to have visions of that perfect man.   The movies you watch and the books you read tell you he should always know the right thing to say, should stick with the relationship no matter how you treat him, and make everything better.  When you do find that someone, I’m telling you right now, he will be human.  He will make mistakes and often he won’t know what to say.  He won’t be able to make your problems go away, but being around him will make them easier to handle.  The important thing is-even when he makes mistakes you will still know he cares about you.  The joy of relationships is in overcoming things together.  Yes, he needs to know you are a princess and you should be treated like one, but never forget that he’s a prince.  Expect respect, but make sure you give it too.

I have one last thought, so stay with me for one more paragraph.  All your lives you’ve been told that 16 is the magical age of dating.  I want you to know that I didn’t go on a single date when I was 16.  I went on my first date when I was 19, and I was 20 before anyone ever asked me out.  If no boys ask you out, it is not a reflection on you.  It isn’t even a reflection on them, it’s just the way life goes sometimes.  I promise you all those romantic dreams you are storing up in your hearts will come true, even if you have to wait for them.  This is something well worth waiting for.  In the mean time, don’t worry.  Become your best, happiest self and draw close to the Lord.  Your teen and young single adult years should be some of the most testimony-building years of your life.  Trust God and learn to love yourself-this relationship thing is something you should be able to look forward to for many years yet.

All my love,
Your beloved Aunt Jana.