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Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Ethics of Unrequited Love [Paperback]

By Laura A. Smit (Author)
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Item description for Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Ethics of Unrequited Love by Laura A. Smit...

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 live. Smit fills this void with her book, tackling the universal human experience with intelligence, sympathy and wit. An accessible book, valuable as a tool for youth pastors, singles group leaders, college students, and students of human sexuality, marriage and family.

Publishers Description
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.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Ethics of Unrequited Love by Laura A. Smit has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Library Journal - 07/01/2005 page 92
  • Library Journal - 07/15/2005
  • Foreword - 11/01/2005 page 54
  • Foreword - 09/01/2005 page 1
  • Foreword - 08/19/2009

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Baker Academic
Pages   265
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.42" Width: 5.94" Height: 0.68"
Weight:   0.86 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2005
Publisher   Baker Academic
ISBN  080102997X  
ISBN13  9780801029974  

Availability  4 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 24, 2016 02:48.
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More About Laura A. Smit

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Laura A. Smit (Ph.D., Boston University) is professor of theology at Calvin College and has served in a variety of pastoral settings.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > Ethics

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Reviews - What do customers think about Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Ethics of Unrequited Love?

Excellent  May 23, 2007
This is a fantastic book. The kind that makes you think to yourself as you read it 'I must read this again'. It isn't just about the title matter, but about love and marriage in general. Especially great for single people or people thinking about getting married.
Great Book!  Jan 12, 2007
I began to read this book before i bought it on this site and i loved it the minute i opened it. It is very insightful, but i am glad now that i have it in my library...the delivery was on time and the book was in excellent condition! No problems...I love this
Valiant attempt to shore up traditional Christian Sexual Ethics for young singles  Dec 11, 2005
I found this book fascinating, if troubling. It's a hip book that tries to examine, through scripture, tradition, literature and pop-culture, how romantic love reflects God's love, and the ways Christians can negotiate the challenges of the single life. Don't be surprised that she says that clearly gay people are meant to be celibate, and that chastity is an ideal that Protestants should reconsider as valuable.

But there are a host of problems that ultimately sabotoge such an erudite book. She needs to work on clarifying what really is "romantic" love. She toys with us with her narratives and examples, but they are used mainly to draw limits and establish guidelines for ethical behavior. That's OK, but I think she could have done more.

I was unconvinced by her analysis of scripture, an I would have appreciated a bit more justification of her views about "purity" and the separation of property from sexuality. And I think she might have discussed "chastity" in relation to holiness. She does not, and I wonder if that might explain some of my confusion about what chastity means aside from self-control.

She seems to assume that Christian ethics can be derived perfectly from scripture. In this way, she upholds a common view that scripture is authoritative in a way that it is separated from culture and the cultures of the readers and authors. I think this view is wrong or at least contestable, as exmplified by the recent work of many biblical scholars, including Bert Harrill and John J. Collins.

On the whole, the ethic she draws out is profoundly useful for traditional Christians. I don't think it is philosophically robust, but it will be satisfying for the audience for smart, young, single Christians tryng to sort through their own desires and needs. I appreciated her challenge to Protestants to rediscover self-control, chastity and singleness as part of God's call.

But it is not the final word about how Christians should handle sexuality and sex in a culture that has loosened the connection between sex, property, children and death. She would have benefitted from reading Christopher Lasch's discussion of Willard Waller's work on dating in Haven in a Heartless world for a useful direction Christian courtship could take. She might have also benefitted from a Marxist foil, which could have both strengthened her position and clarified some issues regarding the fetishising of love.

Surely this is an ethic of unrequited love. But it is not the only Christian ethic of unrequited love. It's time for liberals to offer something. Fortunately, Smits offers something to respond to.
"To live a fulfilled life, in spite of many unfulfilled desires."  Nov 26, 2005
Christian relationship books tend to focus on a few tried-and-true aspects: 1) finding the "Right One," 2) becoming the "Right One," 3) avoiding wrong ones and sexual sin, and 4) advocating bullet-proof "Christian" relational methodologies. However, "Loves Me, Loves Me Not" avoids these well-trod paths. Instead, the author takes a unique approach by focusing on unrequited love, better known as rejection. Although Ms. Smit touches on various other parts of Eros, the subject of rejecting and being rejected is the dominant thread.

Rejection is one of life's great humblers, and it almost always leads to introspection. As one who is still single at 39, I've been on both sides of the equation. I'm a sensitive person, probably more so than I should be as a man. Indeed, being rejected has caused me great emotional disruption, especially when the woman initiated contact and expressed interest in me. After a few of these train wrecks, I began to wonder if I was cut out for romance and marriage. Consistent rejection, combined with never "going all the way" despite the pressures of a sexualized culture, has led me to believe that I have the gift of chastity. Therefore, I appreciated the author's endorsement of the celibate lifestyle, both in word and action (she plans to remain single). Celibacy's benefits pop up throughout the book, as when Ms. Smit cites Augustine's realization that excessive commitments to other people and things diluted his commitment to God (pg. 212). That's cool, but another, less prominent man's down-to-earth statement that "when you get knocked off a horse, you learn to stay away from horses (pg. 226)" also applies. If I persistently suck at something, prudence dictates that I look elsewhere for succor. That's especially true if my weakness could drag someone else down.

At any rate, you may be wondering how the book's subtitle, "The Ethics of Unrequited Love," applies in real life. With Scripture as her guide, the author uses various relational anecdotes from her students, popular cultural references, and examples from literature to illustrate right and wrong ways of rejecting and dealing with rejection. For example, we should be firm when turning down someone we aren't interested in. Although it may be flattering to be desired, sending mixed signals defrauds and hurts the other person. And when it's our turn to be rejected, it's important to respect the other's right to refuse our affections. Exemplifying Hollywood's ideal of dogged romantic pursuit is a sure way to arouse anger and earn a real-life restraining order. Either way, when pursuing or being pursued it's critical to treat the other as you would like to be treated. Only then do we demonstrate mature love vs. selfish desire. These are fundamental ideas, but the author writes about them in a refreshing and challenging way.

This review's titular quote from Walter Trobisch (pg. 227) sums up my feelings about "Loves Me, Loves Me Not." Despite my embrace of celibacy, I do have sexual thoughts and urges. I worry about missing out, or winding up like Anthony Hopkins' character in "The Remains of the Day." Some would say that I'm repressed or scared. Others insist that sexual desire means that God intends for me to marry. Perhaps they have a point. But all I know is that I've consistently failed at romance, and the only deep long-term love I've ever had is with God. Echoing Augustine, I may not have enough love for both God and a wife. The idea of loving God first and foremost is central to "Loves Me, Loves Me Not." If we do that, then we can truly and rightly love others, romantically or not. With this in mind, I'd rather "miss out" on romance if doing so drives me closer to Him and prevents me from hurting another.

Maybe I protest too much, like "The 40-Year-Old Virgin." But that's how this book affected me. Every page had something that made me ponder, provoked me to debate, tweaked an inadequacy, convicted me of sin, or affirmed a life choice. In a market too often characterized by superficiality and platitudes, this book is the real deal when it comes to being Christ-like when pursuing Eros love. "Loves Me, Loves Me Not" has my highest recommendation.

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