This is a dangerous message. Romance touches our deepest longings for intimacy, connection and lasting love, but it is a worldly concept that urges us to follow our hearts, not our heads, implying that the two are mutually exclusive. True love, Christlike “agape,” on the other hand, is far more passionate, exciting and enduring than any “eros” portrayed in romances.

In the end, it may well have been Lon who was Allie’s “true love,” but it is Noah whom Allie chooses, and Noah she ultimately commits to. And it is here, in this portrait of lasting love, that “The Notebook” nevertheless shows itself to be a worthy film. For, despite their incredible differences (which likely would have meant a life of financial hardship, instead of a plantation home), Allie and Noah choose to love one another “in sickness and in health.” Noah, who succumbed to romantic idolatry without Allie, commits to his wife with wholehearted abandon and yes, definitely “agape.” So, even birthed in sin, their relationship is nevertheless redeemed through love and grace.

Sam Shepard, who plays Noah’s father, said this: “Love is exterminated all the time; it’s turned over; it’s discarded; it’s thrown away. But I think there are still possibilities of love that endure not only through our time, but beyond that. It’s this enduring possibility, not just a temporary fling, but something that goes for a long, long time, and has reverberations down through the generations.”

This is what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote, “Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Despite its distracting detours into the bedroom, “The Notebook” gives us a portrait of that love, which is a model for us all.

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