Is Romance Dead?


Pride and prejudice

Is romance dead?  No.  But it seems to be on life support.  Look around.  How many young couples do you witness dating or making plans for a lifelong romance in marriage?  I know there are some.  But in my contact with young people, there are fewer and fewer with each passing year.  Why?  What follows is simply my humble opinion, so feel free to disagree.

Three Things that Can Put Romance on Life Support:

1. Fear.  Yeah.  I know.  You thought I was going to list the “hook up culture” as the number one reason.  Trust me.  I am very concerned about that, but FEAR is something that doesn’t get talked about enough.  Oh, and ironically, fear of true intimacy is also directly related to the hook up culture.  What are young people SO desperately afraid of?  Why are folks in their 20’s and 30’s “hanging out” instead of pursuing dating and marriage? Why are they afraid to go ALL IN emotionally, spiritually, and financially with one person?   Truthfully, there IS something wonderfully frightening about true romance and marriage planning. Note:  I said marriage planning, not wedding planning.  Wedding planning merely requires a tasteful consultant.  Marriage planning requires extreme emotional and spiritual risk and commitment.  But the extreme risk?  Well, that’s part of what makes it all so very beautiful.  Sacred even.  Fear not.

2. Sex before marriage.  I know.  It’s 2019.  Go ahead.  Throw rocks.  I don’t live in a glass house and I can take it.  Sex is a bonding activity.  A oneness thing.  Casual sex by its very nature kills love and romance.  That doesn’t mean folks can’t recover, heal, be made completely whole.  Absolutely.  His mercies are new every morning.  But young people, hear me out.  This may seem old fashioned, but there’s an order to things and it’s actually beautiful.  Go on dates.  Talk.  Get to know one another.  Visit with family members.  Talk about serious things.  Have fun together.  Consult with happily married folks.  Get humble.  Get help.  Get engaged.  Get married a few months later.  Become physically intimate.  Decide to love sacrificially.  Surround yourselves with people who will help you.  Keep loving for the rest of your lives. 

3. Bad counsel from my generation. Examples:   Before you marry, you must become financially successful.  Finish all your education.    Adopt a puppy.   Become well rounded.  Grow up.  Start an IRA.  Build that savings account.  Build a deck onto the back of your house.  You must know each other at least 3.7 years.  Start your own business.  Buy new car mats.  Get the oil changed every 5,000 miles.  Become completely independent.  Wallpaper the hall bathroom (Okay.  Most people consider wallpapering more of an “old people” thing, but still).  You get my point.  The counsel is basically:  Get your life COMPLETELY in order before you marry.  Whew!  I cannot tell you how THRILLED I am that Phil and I did not receive that kind of counsel.  We knew each other less than a year when we got married.  Eventually, we did do all those things (well, everything except the wallpapering) but we did them together.  We grew up together.  We became financially stable together.  We built a life together.  We traveled together.  How thankful I am that neither of us had any money when we got married.  Just some dreams.  And a lot of love.

By today’s standards, ours was a whirlwind romance.  But  it was a lot more than just a tornado of emotions and hormones.  More than three decades ago, we held hands and jumped into the deep water of a lifelong commitment, believing God would sustain us and help us .  And He did. He did more than just sustain us.  He gave us joy!  Young people, fear not.  Jump in.  The water’s fine.