Loves Me, Loves Me Not

The Ethics of Unrequited Love

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"A sensitive and thoughtful book on [the] seldom-addressed subject [of unrequited love], aiming to see the problem from a Christian perspective. . . . Highly recommended."--Graham Christian, Library Journal

It hurts when the one you love doesn't love you back. It's hard to be the object of someone's desires when you just don't feel the same way. How should Christians deal with these situations? There are hundreds of books describing how to build lasting relationships or how to lead a chaste life as a single person. There are very few books, however, describing how to deal with unrequited love. With Loves Me, Loves Me Not, Laura Smit fills this void.

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.

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"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

"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 of Gender: Men, Women, Sex, Feminism;

"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 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

The Author

  1. Laura A. Smit

    Laura A. Smit

    Laura A. Smit (PhD, Boston University) is professor of theology at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She has served in a variety of pastoral settings and is the author of Loves Me, Loves Me Not.

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"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 her 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

"Loves Me, Loves Me Not is a perceptive, deeply thoughtful and rewarding book."--Alan Cochrum, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Smit does an excellent job of discussing how individuals are to handle their sexuality in both mentally and physically responsible ways. . . . Smit has done an excellent job . . . of bringing a gospel perspective to relationships as well as providing a reminder that the gospel is to infiltrate every area of one's life. . . . Smit is to be applauded for venturing into the discussion of relationships. . . . . [The author] provides a healthy challenge to readers in thinking through how to best prepare and expect the coming kingdom of Christ. . . . A beneficial read to scholars and laypeople alike who desire to think more deeply through the issue of singleness and the kingdom of God."--Elizabeth A. Lockwood, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society