Today I am going to make an exception and do another “girl post” that is also rather more personal than usual–simply because I was reading something last night that was rather enlightening to me. Somewhere, somehow, I stumbled across a young lady’s post that was encouraging young women to keep their romantic notions, daydreams, and expectations asleep…and that set me to thinking…. It also seems especially appropriate since I just finished wrapping a wedding gift–and the subject of this post has a tangential relation to weddings….
Whatever the exact causes, my own reasons for desiring marriage are not exactly those that I see other girls talking about and addressing…. Romance is, very honestly, not the primary reason I want to get married. It is actually possible to live without “romance” as a young woman, even as it is for a young girl. Apart from commitment and marriage, romance is not desireable to me–it cannot be. Rather, it is the dominion mandate–it is the thought of walking beside a man through his life, not just during the honeymoon season, raising his children, and being his woman (part of which, of course, involves affections and romance–in such a context this latter is quite desireable, but only in this setting). Yet, lasting romance is, in my view, often a “side effect” of a marriage relationship that is submitted to the Lord–so I guess I figure that if a marriage is operating in obedience to God, I don’t need to worry too much about the “romantic” side of marriage–as it seems that many other girls do. People’s daydreams usually reveal one’s deepest longings–and one’s deepest fears…. Our God has ordained romance in marriage as part of his order–so I let desire rest there and neither fret about it nor dwell on it. It seems to me that, instead of preparing myself to be as romantically attractive as possible, what I should be thinking about and concerning myself with is how to live (in any state) as a woman–as a woman with a submissive, humble spirit–as a woman of wisdom, as defined by the word of God–this seems to me to be the way of excellence–hence, this is what I pursue.
(((Just a passing thought here: it seems to me that perhaps the great dearth of real men in this country is a part of God’s judgment on this land–and I am one of those who must deal with the consequences of the sins of my forefathers and foremothers. This is not exactly a comforting thought…but I continue to pray for reformation, both within the Christian community and without! My God is great and does things greater than I can imagine–so I ask with boldness!)))
Anyways, as I said, romance throughout marriage is to a great extent a side effect of a relationship submitted to the Father. But here comes the thought that struck me from a new angle last evening: it appears that perhaps romance, rather than marriage, is really what many girls primarly desire when they are wanting to get married. I suppose that this thought has occured to me before–but it was impressed on me last night that this is honestly not the primary reason that I, myself, desire marriage. It appears that many girls are wanting to get married primarily so they can legitimately indulge their romantic and maternal feelings. Of course everybody (I suppose) would like to be free to indulge these emotions–but these desires are certainly controllable. And these are not my primary reason for wanting to get married. (Yes, I am aware that I am something of an oddball (albeit a very feminine one)–it comes naturally!)
Entertainment probably has something to do with this apparent epidemic of emotional cries for marriage–if I am to believe what I read and hear people saying about themselves. Personally, I have always preferred adventure stories for boys over romances or other “girl” stories…partly because stories that are all about “boy and girl” feelings are honestly less interesting than stories of adventure where the feelings of the girl are not the main purpose of the story…. Furthermore, history and adventure tend to lend a more realistic and, in my opinion, really a more “romantic” air to the “boy and girl” part of the story. Once in a while, I can find a half-way sappy movie actually entertaining, but, usually, I find such “entertainment” rather unnerving. After all, I just need to go grocery shopping if I want to see improper “boy and girl” stuff going on (someone I know calls it “heing and sheing”); so I find close-ups on the screen and in story to be unnecessary, as well as usually only serving to glorify sin of one variety or another.
Now, we really can’t help our emotions running all over the place on us at times–but–here is the real issue–how do we respond to our own emotions? If we fill our heads with sappy (or evil) romantic movies and books and ideas and daydreams, we will respond in our own lives in like kind–we will respond by reacting to our feelings by “letting go” or “surrendering to them” instead of responding to them with self-control. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” ~II Timothy 1:7 By that which you are overcome, to that you are a slave. We are called out to be slaves of God–not of our emotions.
Then add human nature to the teaching and influence of entertainment and contemporary culture. It is girlish human nature to desire to love and to be loved–romantically. But, in Scriptural context, is there not a higher reason and a deeper meaning for romance than merely feeling good about feeling good about someone who may feel good about you? When the glory of God is the aim, the “side effect” of affection is all the greater, for it is not an end in itself. The love of God strengthens our love of what is good (including romance in the proper context) as well as strengthening our hatred of what is evil. When romance is ceases to be one’s god, romance is actually more secure, deeper, and stronger. Just listen to this: “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will quiet you by his love; he will exalt over you with loud singing.” ~Zephaniah 3:17 And this: “For the husband is head of the wife even as Christ is head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ in everything, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” ~Ephesians 5: 23-24 This is the Scriptural context for romantic affections–this is very different from our culture’s view, in which Eros is lord.
Accordingly, as Christians and no longer as slaves of Eros, Ares, or Diana, we must keep our eyes on the goal–we must remember why we were created. For young women in particular, we must remember the reason for our existence as women. It is to follow Christ. It is to glorify God. It is, Lord willing, someday to be a man’s helpmeet. It is not to center our lives and hopes and dreams and goals on feelings. We were not bought by Christ for this! Feelings are side effects. Emotions are indeed interesting–rather like creatures dwelling within us–but, since they are creatures (if I may use that term?), they are, in Christ, under our dominion. This is what true courage is. This is what self-discipline is. This is what love is. One’s self under control–for one’s emotions are merely a mirror to reveal one’s self, body and soul, to one’s self.
But, returning to the theme of this tediously long post once again, whatever the reasons are exactly, waiting for romantic affections is not the greatest struggle that I have–as it apparently is for a great many other girls. I do know that this is one of the reasons that “girl posts” often leave me feeling discouraged rather than encouraged–they are speaking to an issue that I, personally, have dealt with. I am asking, “what next?”–and rather rarely do I stumble across something that really addresses my own struggles…and that is usually in Scripture–and usually something along the lines of this: “Be still and know that I am God.”
With all that said, I am looking forward to the wedding we are attending tomorrow–and then, again, to another wedding sometime later this year…I will go with joy to celebrate with them–even though such is not mine as yet! Soli Deo Gloria!