Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Marriage goes further than romance

In Western culture, what is love?

If we let the films, books, TV, newspapers, etcetera, reply, then then their answer is: "It is the chase - the getting, the initial thrill of crossing the boundary from acquaintance to romantic intimacy". Quite a difference from the stories and tales of childhood, where the goal was marriage, followed by "and they lived happily ever after".

Now consider real life. All being well, the "chase" happens once, and lasts something from weeks to months, or perhaps even a year or two. Whereas the marriage should last until death separates - perhaps 50, 60, 70 years.

And that's not 50+ years of chasing and discovering romantic intimacy for the first time. That would be like taking your driving test again every week, or starting primary school again every September. It isn't meant to work that way, and if you take it as your model then you'll find it doesn't work that way.

Western culture's holding up of "the chase" as the ultimate, important, central part of love is a sign of Western culture's slide back to infancy. Marriage goes further, deeper, better than simple romance. It goes that far, and then goes much further. But holding up the first stage as if it were the final goal is a recipe for frustration, and ultimately unfaithfulness, family and societal breakdown... which is what we've actually seen.

The task for Christians is to completely ignore the cultural nonsense and do the task as it is meant to be done, guided by Scripture and not passing cultural fancy. Show a better way, build a better model for our children, be salt and light, and a city on a hill that cannot be hid. When the final standing walls of the decaying culture crumble, that which is built on better foundations will remain. You'll enjoy it much more too.

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