Friday, October 17, 2014

True Love in a Romanceless Marriage

Why did you get married?  If you aren't married, what are the reasons you would want to be married?

If you read Nicholas Sparks books(please please don't) you would probably answer something about love, romance, fate, etc.  The common dream is that we find some perfect person who will give us continuous butterflies in our stomach and satisfy our deep desires for romantic intimacy.  If you can only find that perfect Prince(or Princess) your story book life will begin and you can live happily ever after. 

Marriage has become a strangely one sided affair.  Yes, I know it involves two people.  But the basic assumed premise of a successful marriage is that YOU are in some way satisfied by the person you are married to and the circumstances you find yourself in.  And when either one person or both individuals no longer feels this way the marriage comes to an end. 

While many may bravely soldier on under these conditions for a period of time the foundational narrative of personal satisfaction overrides other senses.  In my relatively young life I know a number of my peers who have been divorced.  In not once instance were there occurrences of abuse, infidelity, criminal behavior, etc.  They were all cases of, "We(or I) are no longer in "love" with that person". 

No wonder people keep waiting longer and longer to get married!  When you are contemplating committing your life to another person against the backdrop of a culture that says marriage is about love alone when we know how fleeting such emotional feelings can be, the risk seems too great.

In Ruth chapter 3 we have the story of Ruth basically using cultural and religious obligations to convince an older man(Boaz) to marry her.  Our modern sensibilities balk at this story.  Where is the love we ask?  The romance?  The passionate kiss in the rain after they both discovered how much they truly needed each other!!?!?!

The book of Ruth is a foreshadowing of the story of Christ and His Bride(the Church).  The picture of what a marriage is in Ruth is a radical departure from our modern concepts.  Yet it is a picture of the most important love we can ever observe and experience. 

Marriage is not based on "romance", but Love.  These are wildly different concepts.  Starting with Love can, and often, develops romance, romance is not a natural step on the progression to Love. 

Romance is something you feel.  Love is something you do, regardless of feelings.

Romance is an outflow of attraction.  Love is not based upon attraction.

Romance is a temporary event or condition often sourced in impulse.  Love is a permanent act of the will.

Romance is conditionally offered.  Love is unconditionally provided. 

The message of the Gospel is that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  And the maintaining of our relationship with Christ is not dependent upon us, or, our actions, but completely based upon the character of Christ. 

How would it feel to know that your Eternal destination was dependent upon your "wining and dining" God through your own "appeal".  And, if for whatever reason, God grew tired of you, or you were no longer up to snuff, He said, "You know, it's not you, it's me.  We have just grown apart.  Sorry".............

The True Love Boaz and Ruth experience is not trying to find some perfect person to compliment their personal preferences, but to instead commit life to service to the other.  This is an act of the will, not the impulsivity of feelings.  Christ offers us the Gospel not because we satisfy some sort of romantic need in His life, but because He has chosen to be our Agape Lover and Guardian Redeemer.  Our appearance, intelligence, personality, etc, have no bearing on the stability of our marriage to the Lamb. 

Ask yourself, "Am I looking for a romantic marriage, or, am I looking for sacrificial Love that serves the other, and not the self?"  When the years go by, the kids and jobs come and change.  When the decades tire you out and exhaust your patience.  Which will sustain you?  A whirlwind trip to Paris, or, a spouse who is committed to give the best of themselves to you regardless of the circumstances?

The modern marriage is not a picture of the Gospel.  The Gospel is a picture of Marriage! 

Old couples don't get there because of how many romantic dates they took, but how many unromantic days they stayed.

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