Sparks of Love

Why do people always say to look for that “spark of love”? It doesn’t seem to be a very good description, since you can scrape a flint a thousand times and get sparks every time but not always a fire. Only with the right tender, conditions, and speed will you strike the flint and light a fire. So it is with love. You have to have the right timing, conditions, and malleable hearts (tender) to have a fire. “Fireworks” don’t last and often are only the result of physical attraction. We mustn’t waste our energy scraping away to make tingling sparks that light up quickly but then fade away. But we should save our energy and wait for the right timing to build a fire that won’t be put out.

This summer while I was at a summer training program with the Navigators in the Smoky Mountains, we listened to a panel of staff answer questions about relationships. One thing they discussed is that fantasizing is a problem too, not just lust, because fantasizing is another form of lusting in wishing for something you don’t have. You may imagine a romantic encounter with someone you think you are attracted to, but if you were to actually enter a serious relationship with them, you would find nothing more than the physical attraction, which could very easily and quickly go away.

Sometimes we conjure up these hypothetical role-plays, giving little effort to look deeper for what is beneath the appearance, which can deceive us in our relations with the other sex. We love the intrigue, the chase, the little games we play to allure, but when the intrigue goes away and games are no longer needed, we will find ourselves either with something stronger and more enduring to depend on or yet another void and cleft in our heart. To continue the analogy, we have to be on our guard that we don’t wear down our flint for pretty little sparks that will never light a lasting fire; for every time we strike at something shallow, we wear down our ability to strike up a true fire.

Something else to be noted is that attraction to other people doesn’t go away once you are married. For some reason I used to think that once people are married their attraction to other attractive people (i.e. lust) magically goes away. Truth is, whether married or single, we will always have to deal with attraction to people we find attractive. The difference is that we have an even stronger obligation and necessity when married to overcome those desires, because we have made a commitment to give our love and body to one person. We will always like to have sparks in our life–things that excite us in our romantic lives, but we should fan and enjoy the sparks of the fire we have already lit.

This is the essence of timing. It’s never the right timing if it’s not God’s timing. We shouldn’t force it. We have to have the right conditions to light a fire, the right tools to maintain the fire, and the right preparation not only to protect the fire from winds but to keep it alive and roaring. Timing really is everything.
“My daughters, I implore you, do not awaken love until its proper time.” (S of S 8:4)