Is your love from heaven or hollywood?

Many people walk away from true love because they think it should look like a Hollywood movie.”He/she didn’t make me happy.” “I didn’t have the feeling he/she was “the one.” Our society says that one day we will wake up with a rainbow over our bed leading us to whoever is “the one.” On the other hand, many times people marry for the wrong reasons. “I know he/she is the one.” “I can’t live without him/her.” These are all amazing feelings to have. But, they are just that … feelings.

Here are some straightforward tips on distinguishing if your idea of love is a Hollywood one, or a Godly one:

Feelings are not reality. The minute the feelings go away, it’s easy to doubt. “Relationships shouldn’t be this hard.” “A relationship should make me happy.” Even Pope Francis said, “You can’t base a marriage on feelings that come and go. But rather on the rock of true love, the love that comes from God.” We should base our decision to marry on solid reasoning—such as whether or not that person challenges us to be a holier person.

Are you in love with yourself? If every action we take is based on our every whim and desire, and if we expect someone to fall in love with our selfishness, we must think again. True love doesn’t mean getting whatever we want. We can’t act how we did when we were single and expect our significant other to fit in the cracks.

What is true love then? True love means self-sacrifice. St. John Paul II said, “Love between man and woman cannot be built without sacrifices and self-denial.” Matthew Kelly added, “Love is a willingness to lay down our own personal plans, desires, and agenda for the good of the relationship. Love is delayed gratification, pleasure, and pain. Love is being able to live and thrive apart, but choosing to be together.”

Every relationship has some disorder. The Catechism says, “[Evil] makes itself felt in the relationships between man and woman… the disorder we notice so painfully does not stem from the nature of man and woman, nor from the nature of their relations, but from sin.” Of course, we must discern the degree of disorder. But, disorder happens even in healthy relationships.

Sin may be the problem, not the relationship. We are quick to think that if a relationship has problems it means the relationship itself is a problem. Sometimes a relationship may not be worth continuing. But, in a Godly and healthy relationship, some “problems” are normal because sin is in every relationship. Every relationship has ups and downs.

Surprisingly, true love includes suffering.  Matthew Kelly asks, “Are you willing to suffer for love? How much are you willing to suffer in order to have a truly amazing relationship? Are you prepared to let go of all your whims, cravings, and fancies, in order to pursue something more…?” Relationships aren’t about being perfect and happy all the time, but being forgiving. Pope Francis said that “Nobody is perfect. The key to happiness is forgiveness.”

“Marriage is work…. and a lifelong commitment,” Pope Francis says. “In a way it’s like being a goldsmith, because a husband makes his wife more of a woman, and she in turn should make her husband a better man.” A common complaint is that the other person is trying to “change” them. Yet, change is good if it makes us holier. For example, asking a significant other to drink less alcohol at a social gathering may be viewed as forcing unwanted change. But, this change is good as it makes us holier.

Why get married if it includes suffering and work?  Marriage helps us become a better person.  “After the fall, marriage helps to overcome self-absorption, egoism, pursuit of one’s own pleasure, and to open oneself to the other, to mutual aid and to self-giving,” the Catechism says.

“Dear young people, don’t be afraid to marry. A faithful and fruitful marriage will bring you happiness.”  Pope Francis says. Ultimately, marriage to someone who is your best friend and shares your love for God will bring happiness, even amidst the suffering and work.

Let’s give ourselves a reality check on love.  Is our viewpoint on true love a Hollywood one, or a Godly one?


Emily7Emily Brandenburg is a Catholic Youth and Young Adult leader in the Diocese of Orange, California.  She hosts a large Bible study and Praise, Worship, and Adoration evenings.  In addition, she is concertmaster of St. Martin’s Orchestra, holds a J.D. from Pepperdine School of Law, and is a full-time attorney.  She enjoys spending time outdoors, fellowshipping with family and friends, making new friends, and always having a good laugh.  You can connect with her on Facebook at and Instagram at @emily_brande.  She blogs at


  1. This article touched me deeply. I feel called to marriage, and Pope Francis’ words of calling us to higher commitment strengthened that call! Thank you for your wonderful composition of words here.

    By Stephanie | 6 years ago Reply
    • Yes, Pope Francis has great things to say about marriage. Thanks for the note!

      By Emily | 6 years ago Reply
  2. Great perspective! Thank you and please continue in your journey. You are blessing others!!!

    By LD | 6 years ago Reply
    • Thank you! Blessing to you!

      By Emily | 6 years ago Reply
  3. this was great! Hope you’re well!!

    By Cayley | 6 years ago Reply
  4. i feel like you were speaking right to me in this article. About relationships, not marriage yet of course. Haha I’m only 17 but I have something that I would like to ask. Well I read the little suffering paragraph you put in there and it’s true but I’m not sure what to do in my situation. So I’ve been talking to this boy who recently and have became pretty good friends with him we established a while ago that we had interest in one another. The only issue is that is most recent ex is a friend of mine. Not a close friend but still a friend. She broke up with him about 3 months ago and my other friends, who are also mutual friends of her and i, don’t like him. They see the bad things that he’s done rather than the good. And when I talk to him and hangout with him I don’t see any of the things they’ve said about him. I want to move forward and see what may come of this potential relationship with him but I’m concerned about how my friends may take it and how they’ll act towards me. I know that if they turn on me they aren’t true friends but is it bad that I’m afraid of that? I don’t want to be seen as the girl who took her friends ex. Plus I’m concerned if it will hurt my friend who previously dated him. What should I do?

    By Cristina | 6 years ago Reply
    • Pray.

      I’ll be saying a prayer for you too. <3

      By GiannaT | 6 years ago Reply
    • Talk to your friend to see if it would hurt her. And be aware, not necessarily suspicious, but be aware that your friends may be looking out for you based on their own experience with that guy particularly if they are legitimate concerns.

      By Gino | 6 years ago Reply
  5. Wow! Such a great article. And you’re in my diocese. I’ll be following your blog.

    By Lissa | 6 years ago Reply
    • Thank you, Lisa! Nice to “meet” you. 🙂

      By Emily | 6 years ago Reply
  6. Very well written article. Greatly enjoyed it. 🙂 Don’t Get It Twisted, Love Is A Beautiful Thing

    By John Estrellas | 6 years ago Reply
  7. Thank you Emily, God bless you

    By Emmanuel | 6 years ago Reply
    • God bless you too!

      By Emily | 6 years ago Reply
  8. this is probably the best thing I have ever read. Thank you for posting this. ive read it over and over

    By Hanna | 6 years ago Reply
    • Thank you for the nice note – many blessings!

      By Emily | 6 years ago Reply

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