In my last post we discussed the utter fiction of what I’m calling Reformed Romance. The idea and mindset where we take the secular culture’s idea of romance and chivalry and combine it with Calvinism.**
Today I want to talk about some of the price we are paying for this. I can’t cover it all in detail as that would be more of a book than a blog post. But there is a cost to getting all of this wrong, not only for those of us in the western Christian culture but also for the rest of world that we live in.
Here are few of the ways it costs us as Christian singles:
- The idea of the one puts immense pressure on making sure that I choose THE one that God has for me.
- It makes me constantly question if each person I date is THE one.
- It forces delayed marriage because people are waiting for THE one that God has for them. At the right time of course.
- It enables me to rule anyone out for marriage at any time by simply saying that they are not THE one.
- Since there is THE one it means that THE one must be perfect for me. Who decides that standard of perfect? I do of course.
- It makes it so that I don’t have to do anything different or work on my own issues that may be preventing me from attracting a spouse.
- It can lead me to not actively working on getting married since God will just “bring me THE one” at the right time.
- It ignores all of our current cultural constructs that are working against me getting married.
- It ignores that we live in a fallen world.
- It ignores the theology of celibacy.
- It tuns God into the Great Withholder. If I haven’t met THE one He has for me, well then He is obviously at fault. It’s not me . . . It’s God.
Here are a few of the ways it costs us in Christian marriage:
- It takes our choice out of the equation. I didn’t choose my spouse, God did.
- It gives me an out. I thought that this person was THE one, but I see now that I missed it. I did not choose who God has for me. He must have someone else for me.
- Or we can reverse it. God gave me this person. It’s not my fault. I’ll make the most of it, but I’m not responsible.
- I waited all this time and did what God wanted but my marriage isn’t what I was told it would be. That makes me mad at God.
- It makes romance central to sex and marriage at all times. In other words rather than marriage itself sanctifying sex and sexual desire, romance now sanctifies married sex.***
But the costs don’t stop with us. It also hurts our ability to lead in the world. Other than our moral efforts to not have sex outside of marriage (maybe) we end up looking pretty much like everyone else.
What we should be doing is leading. We should be teaching a whole theology of singleness and marriage. We should be able to talk about the options of celibacy. We should be talking about what marriage is. With a right view of marriage and celibacy and how they both point to the Kingdom we could be standing out. If we were to actually help people walk in both, including helping people who are not called to celibacy get married, we would have ground to stand on when contrasting ourselves from the secular romantic culture.
Instead of offering the spiritual platitudes that necessarily come out of Reformed Romance, a different deeper theology of singleness and marriage would enable us to better care for those who are hurting in both, lead people towards a fuller walk with God in marriage and singleness and even Celibacy for the Kingdom.(Not to mention celibacy due to the fall). Our unmarried would be less desperate, our marriages would be stronger, and the celibate would be supported. People would see that and notice the difference.
When I give talks in many different settings one of the things I like to say is that there are four areas of our life that if we live them biblically will give us a platform to share the gospel. Those four are: what we do with our time, what we do with our money, how we handle sex (marriage, singleness, and celibacy) and how we do reconciliation. Do those four things biblically and people will want to know why. Do them the same as the secular culture and no one will care what you have to say about Jesus because you will look just like them.
Reformed Romance is just a Christian version of secular romance. It’s killing us. It needs to die.
** I’d like to also suggest here that Calvin would not be very happy with this arrangement.
***H/T Dalrock – where I first saw this spelled out in this way.