Loves Me, Loves Me Not
Smit tackles this universal human experience with intelligence, sympathy, and wit. An accessible book, Loves Me, Loves Me Not will be an invaluable tool for youth pastors; singles group leaders; college students; and students of human sexuality, marriage and family, and Christian ethics.
“Loves Me, Loves Me Not slides easily into an empty space in the stacks of literature on singleness and relationships, explaining the mystery and the misery of why would-be romances misfire. Smit addresses this all-too-common but seldom-discussed experience with wisdom gained from both thorough research and personal insight.”–Frederica Mathewes-Green, author ofGender: Men, Women, Sex, Feminism; www.frederica.com
“Simply smashing! Witty, intricate, and smart–this is the most important, thought-provoking book I have read this year.”–Lauren F. Winner, author of Girl Meets God and Real Sex
“Smit brings a chaste heart and a fecund imagination to the topic of romance and relationships. Society tells us that a love not returned is wasted, but Smit shows us just how much we have to learn from unrequited love. She examines the fragments of our love lives with the skill of a pastor and the gentle encouragement of a wise friend, giving us hope that unrequited love can teach us to turn our hearts to God. This is a beautiful book, weaving together personal stories with biblical theology and challenging insight. In a world of sexual experts and sexual excess, perhaps we have the most to learn from someone who is called to be single. Whatever your station in life, this book will move you as much as it will teach you. Read it and begin to love anew.”–Stephen H. Webb, professor of religion and philosophy, Wabash College
“Smit presents a superb collection of individuals’ experiences with romantic relationships and their beliefs about intimacy. The value of the work is that it shares new, revealing insights for all ages about beautiful, emotional romance–not sexual love–reasoning that romantic love and a moral, godly life are linked constructs. Smit correctly implies that life is a process of maintaining values in the face of a culture that loosens its norms by making love and sex one. This book is a must for any reader who seeks a deep and meaningful love.”–Bob Compton, professor emeritus, Valley Forge Military College
“Smit addresses the uniquely deep sorrow of unrequited love from within. She is a knowing insider, a friend. Smit goes beyond empathy to reveal a path of life–of contentment beyond contending, of hope and emotional resurrection, of a Better Adam who is an unrelenting lover able to make all things new.”–Kelly Monroe Kullberg, editor of Finding God at Harvard: Spiritual Journeys of Thinking Christians
“Unrequited love, a staple theme in fiction and film, has rarely been touched in nonfiction writings and even less often by ethicists or theologians. Smit . . . has written a sensitive and thoughtful book on this seldom-addressed subject, aiming to see the problem from a Christian perspective. She intelligently balances contemporary sociology with Christian spirituality. . . . Highly recommended.”–Graham Christian, Library Journal
“Smit has crafted an insightful, meticulously researched treatise on the ethics of unrequited love as it pertains to practicing Christians today. Topics such as how to reject someone confidently but gracefully and whether or not non-mutual love has spiritual value will offer much needed guidance to those for whom traditional church rhetoric about sexual behavior misses the point. . . . In a refreshing break with mainstream ideology, Smit urges readers to rethink societal expectations about marriage, and champions singlehood as a valid and spiritually fulfilling life choice. . . . In addition to compiling hundreds of pertinent clips from popular music, film, and television, Smit interviewed more than one hundred students and alumni of all ages. These heartfelt, real-life stories, combined with the author’s impressive knowledge of Scripture, make for a remarkable reading experience that is nothing if not divine.”–Aimee Sabo, ForeWord. Read the entire review here.
“For those who do not intend to marry, [this book] will offer a theological texture to their lives. For those who are dating, it offers a practical guide and a great deal of wisdom. For those who are married, it will put a stop to asking annoying questions like, ‘Are you dating anyone?’ I know of no other book that combines substantive theology with practical advice on dating and a whole host of personal experiences … “ — David M. McCarthy, Reviews in Religion and Theology.
“Loves Me, Loves Me Not is a perceptive, deeply thoughtful and rewarding book.” — Alan Cochrum, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“This jewel of a book . . . . is fresh and original, yet tied to precepts of classic Christian theology.” — David C. Walther, Journal of Psychology and Christianity
“Though I have read a half dozen books since by last series of reviews, I have decided to give special attention in this issue to a single book that I thinkeveryone should read. Indeed, Laura A. Smit’s book Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Ethics of Unirequited Love (2005) is one of the most perceptive and meaningful Christian books I have read in recent years.” — Ronnie W. Faulkner,Campbell University Newsline
“As someone who has been single for the best part of a quarter-century, I’ve had my fair share of unrequited love on both sides. I can’t claim to have managed it well, as others would verify. Loves Me, Loves Me Not achieves the remarkable feat of both identifying areas for me to improve (and giving me tools for dealing with problems) and showing me where others’ advice has been off the mark. One of Smit’s achievements is tackling common misperceptions head-on.” — Aropax, July 1, 2006
“This was a really interesting and encouraging read. There can be no doubt that the emphasis placed on marriage in the evangelical community can be disproportionate to the emphasis placed on the legitimacy of and the need for those who have purposed to remain single (which is virtually non-existent). As a twenty year old undergrad, I can personally attest to the existence of the mind-set in the church that says once you hit a certain age you are expected to start thinking about getting marriage. The implication seems to be that if you are not married or looking for someone to marry by the time you reach a certain age, then you are probably living in some sort of prolonged adolescence, one which you cannot escape until you are married. Smit provides a wonderful alternative to this mind-set and equips singles to deal with romantic feelings in a way that affirms them as good and as a means to grow closer to Christ through the love of another person.” —Semper Reformanda, February 22, 2006
In my opinion, Brilliant. She addresses a topic all of us have struggled with, and she deals with it from a pastoral, theological, sociological, and practical perspective. Instead of writing on the dating process, where we dwell a small percent of time, she deals with the inbetween times, where we singles find ourselves most of the time.” — shimmering dawn, April 9, 2006
I really appreciate and highly recommend Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Ethics of Unrequited Love by Laura Smit. Right away, the subtitle lets you know this book is special because while there are countless books on mutual love and our moral responsibilities as Christian spouses, no one writes about our responsibility towards virtue when feelings are not mutual. Smit begins with a “theology of romance” in which she details God’s nature (as love), God’s creational plan (Eden), God’s plan for the new creation (New Earth), sin’s effect on those plans, and finally, virtuous and vicious romance – that is, how sin twists God’s intentions for love and how we can be virtuous by shaping our romantic lives to God’s plans (primarily for the new earth). Smit has some very powerful exhortations for the church that I appreciate on two levels: one, she forces readers to think seriously about New Testament teachings on marriage, family, and singleness (something I’ve been successfully avoiding up to now) and two, she gives singles in the church a voice. — Books I’m Reading, August 26, 2008