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Is it love at first sight?

Is it love at first sight?

Posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 11:03 pm

The Messenger 02.08.12

Valentine’s Day is soon approaching. It’s a wonderful day for some and a depressing day for others. People who are in love buy cards and chocolate. People who aren’t in love skip the cards and go straight for the chocolate which they will single-handedly consume at 9 p.m. while watching a chick flick on the Lifetime channel. Or at least that’s the way I remember it.
Then there’s that group of people who determine to ignore Valentine’s Day and feel neither happy nor sad on Feb. 14th. Yeah, Hallmark and Hershey don’t feel much love for that last group.
A college girl once asked if I believed in love at first sight. I had to pause. I mean, all of us have heard an old man say, “When that gal walked into the church social 57 years ago, well, I knew right then, at that very moment, that I would spend the rest of my life with her.” Most of us feel hesitant to question his words. We all know that 56 years of happy marriage is a hard thing to deny.

But there’s another version of love at first sight. Remember when your cousin met a guy on the Pop-Tart aisle at Target and she just knew they would love each other for the rest of their lives? Yeah, it was painful when he didn’t even show up for Thanksgiving dinner a month later. What happened on that Pop-Tart aisle may have been a lot of things. But it wasn’t love.
Here’s the way I see it. I do think the old man had a special feeling for the gal who walked into the church social all those years ago. It was a spark of emotion related to her appearance. It may have even been something about the confident way she walked. But it wasn’t love. Not right then. He got to know her. He found things they had in common. He saw the way she treated others and he trusted her. I want to believe that the man would have changed his tune if he had discovered that the beautiful girl treated her parents badly, was mean-spirited toward her friends and spent money like water.
As for your cousin and the Pop-Tart aisle scenario, well, that was flawed from the beginning. Every woman knows that a man who eats chocolate fudge Pop-Tarts is not to be trusted. OK. Not really. I’m just grasping for straws here.  
Years ago, my husband and I saw a poster we loved. It showed an older couple sitting on a bench with four simple words written near the bottom. “Love is a decision.” I doubt that phrase will ever be found on a Valentine’s Day card. But we both understood the power of those words.
Romantic sparks are a beautiful thing. Attraction is a gift from God. But as precious as those wonderful feelings are, those feelings are not love. Love is far bigger than that. Love cares for a spouse tenderly when he or she is sick in the middle of the night. Love asks questions and listens. Love makes sacrifices. Love sits on a park bench and looks at a woman whose hair has turned gray and whose face is wrinkled and sees real beauty. Love is a decision.
Editor’s note: Lisa Smartt’s column appears each Wednesday in the Friends and Neighbors section of The Messenger. She can be reached by e-mail at
For more information, visit her website,