Who Wrote the Book on Love?
I’ll be humble: it wasn’t me. Oh, sure, my first novel for teens, Ten Commandments for Kissing Gloria Jean, explores what love means to a fourteen-year-old—or at the very least, it equips her with the faith and wise judgment to figure it out.
But really, I had no actual clue. I drafted the novel while I was single. My author approval of the PDFs came two weeks before I went on my last first date. That date is now my fiancé.
Looking at love from the engaged side, I see how much I didn’t know. And how much more I want to know and teach our hoped-for children.
Here are five mysteries; if you will, that I hope my future husband and I will ponder deeply with our children when the time comes:
God is the author of love.
God created us out of love, to love him and others, and to fulfill a mission of love. When in the dating world, I acted very much as if love arose because I had dated “correctly.” But it wasn’t until my relationship with my fiancé unfolded that I realized we weren’t just suddenly “in love,” but especially picked for one another to love each other as husband and wife as God’s vocation for us.
Mary is the mother of love.
My fiancé and I have a special devotion to the Virgin Mary. We met on the Feast of Mary, Untier of Knots; heard the first “I love you” on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception; and got engaged on the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. What I didn’t know years ago—or more accurately, didn’t trust—was the power of intercession. We truly believe Mary acted as our patroness during our relationship—modeling grace, humility, and gentleness: all key parts of loving one another.
Jesus is love incarnate.
Until I met my fiancé, I did not know what it meant to love sacrificially and what that looked like in the real world, in a real relationship. As we discerned, the person of Jesus, being created for love and having given his life for love, helped us understand.
Scripture is the greatest love story.
As a writer, words speak to me. Going through the wedding liturgy planning booklet, I have new appreciation for the Scriptures and how they reveal not just the story of God’s love for us, but an outline for how we can love one another as Christians. We definitely will help our kids understand that the Bible is the best depiction of love—and what’s more—it’s true.
The saints can teach us to love.
From the sermons on the Song of Songs by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux to Blessed Mother Teresa’s urging to “do small things with great love,” these holy men and women demonstrate the ultimate love. My fiancé and I are hoping to include the Litany of Saints in our wedding Mass and call upon those who continually model the love we are called to seek.
Britt Leigh is the author of the teen novel The Ten Commandments for Kissing Gloria Jean and the foreword for Teens Share the Mission. Both books are published by Pauline Books & Media. Her writing has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Middle School, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Getting into College, and kidsfaithgarden.com. She holds a Certificate of Catechesis from the Theological Institute for the New Evangelization (Boston) and a certificate in chastity/abstinence training through the Center for Relationship Education. She blogs at brittleighbooks.com and for young women at proverbialgirlfriend.wordpress.com.