Per your quote…
This is not a forum dedicated to Christian relationship advice, nor was such advice asked, do not turn this into something it isn’t.
…this is not what I intended, however, since we are Christian writers here, we do want to consider the messages we are sending even in our fiction. It is time we stopped flirting with the world’s ideas of romance and took a good look at the real thing. I have been married for twenty-one years. I do think we need to take a look at what makes lasting relationships work from people who live it rather than just pontificate on the subject. I know we need to reframe the lenses that have brought us to the point where more people shack up than are married in this country. I think it has damaged a lot of people trying to follow the notions of romance that popular movies offer, instead of getting back to a relationship that puts God in the center.
We do need to get those things straight if we are ever to hope to offer something different and positive to the world, we are accountable to reach. Many young people in the churches of our country do not seem to know what the model of a God-honoring courtship is. Look at the level of compromise out there that ends in infidelity, divorce, and so many other problems.
If we are going to include romance, let’s look at it from God’s point of view. Not opinion. Look at the love story in the Song of Solomon. Do you think that was included as an afterthought? Why does Jesus compare His relationship with the Church (the Bride of Christ) and courtship and marriage, if we are not to learn from that model? Romance can no longer be compartmentalized into the secular model if it is to endure. Husbands are charged to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it.
One cannot woo and esteem another as more important than themselves if they do not first honor the One who gives them the capability to love that way sacrificially. You want to know why so many marriages fail? Selfishness. Plain and simple. In courtship, the two lovers seek the good of the other, in marriage, too often the spouses forget that and figure that they each “have” the other to serve their needs and passion. This is what leads to dissatisfaction in so many marriages. The two no longer feel wanted, cherished, and appreciated by the other, as they did before making the vows. The attitudes change to reveal the selfishness, they no longer have to hide. This is what is so frustrating about romance writers, even well-meaning ones. They are caught up in the idea that “human love conquers all”. It doesn’t. It fails miserably. If a man, however, loves the Lord first, He becomes empowered to love his mate in such a way that honors her, raises her, and leads her in love by his example, rather than waiting for her to services his desires. When she feels cherished, you will find that her love blossoms as beautifully as any rose, and she can trust the man who loves her and keeps her secrets, and endeavors to bring her good through his labors of love.
We can no longer compartmentalize our secular life from our spiritual life and remain consistent in either or even sane.
God wants unity and consistency. Word and deed should match. God didn’t make a secular world and a spiritual world to be mutually exclusive. He wants it to unify in Him. The tragedy of the Garden of Eden was man’s separation from God. Let bring romance back into His model again. He created the wonders and beauty of it.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. [Ephesians 5:25-27 NKJV]
Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
I was born in war.
Fighting from my first breath.