On the first signs of love….

So I’m reading this book right now, Captivating. I honestly never thought I’d pick up a book like this. I’m not usually one for the churchy, Jesus-y books. They tend to be more than a little cliche, overbearing, and, well, judgmental. At least, that’s my experience with this type of book. But it came on recommendation from someone whose reading taste I trust, so I decided to go for it. I rented it. And now…I want to own it. In paperback. So I can mark the crap out of it. It’s been a pretty empowering read for me.

But a conversation I had last night is what’s really sparking this post. And since we’re less than twenty-four hours from Valentines Day (a day I have come to love and appreciate), this one is about romance.

There are some of us girls that were (and are) very lucky. We grew up with the World’s Best Dad. He’s probably got shirts and mugs and ties and posters and cards from years and years of his daughters thinking that. And it’s not just that we *think* he’s the best. He truly *is* the best. More than a few of us who have this dad probably, between the ages of three and five, asked our dad’s to marry us. He’s the coolest, strongest, smartest, most amazing dad ever, right?! Dad is the first place we really learn what romance is. Pure, uncomplicated, unconditional romance. Dad gave us flowers and took us out on “dates” and twirled us around when we wore our pretty party dresses. Dad told us we were the prettiest, smartest, most special girl in the world. Not because he had to. Not because he wanted something in return. He did it all just because. Because he could and he wanted to. That’s why so many of us girls that have great dads tend to marry men just like him. I see the way my dad is with my mom and that’s a lot of what I want. She’s a powerful woman. A force to be reckoned with, to be sure. And my dad loves every bit of her and just sort of lets the hurricane that is my mother do what she’s going to do…and he’s been known to be disaster relief from time to time. But he loves that woman. And he can fix stuff and make stuff pretty and he’s crazy smart. He’s funny and talented and generous. He’s passionate about his work, his life, his family, his faith. He’s a leader in every facet of his existence.

I remember learning from my dad the way a boy should treat me. He should open doors and bring me flowers and take me to dinner and show. And he should do it all expecting nothing, but hoping for my thanks and adoration in return.

And isn’t that what true love is? Isn’t the act of loving someone supposed to be pure and simple? There should be no conditions. There is something strong and beautiful and unbreakable when love comes to us in its cleanest form. It seems, then, that if we expect nothing in return for love, we’re basically guaranteed to get everything.

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