Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A handsome man walks onto a beach (or into a coffee shop, or onto a train, etc.) and sees a beautiful girl. Their eyes meet and they smile at one another. It’s love at first sight! Cut to a montage of dinner dates, Christmas parties, couple trips, until finally the man gets down on one knee and asks her to marry him. She says yes, and the credits roll.
Our culture is head-over-heels in love with love. We see it everywhere; in books, movies, music, even in our gum commercials! Christians aren’t immune either, just ask anyone who’s ever read Amish fiction. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with celebrating romance, there is a huge difference between real love and the idea of love. Just ask Relevant Magazine’s Rachel Watson, who believes our culture is falling for several dangerous lies about love. She writes,
Lie: You Will Be Happy Once You are Married.
“In other words, tough luck, singles. You’re missing out. Only married people know what true happiness is. But waiting for happiness, whether you are single waiting for marriage, married waiting for children, or married waiting for your spouse to change, is idolatrous territory. When we hold our joy captive until we get what we want, a vicious cycle of discontentment begins. God calls us to be content right now:
“Hebrews 13:5: Be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Lie: Love Fixes Everything.
“In films, love is the answer. Characters' lives could be falling apart, their planet on the verge of collapse, until they meet ‘the one.’ Suddenly problems vanish. Love is all you need, right? Real life is different. Love as he might, a husband cannot always comfort his wife out of post-partum depression. A wife cannot simply hand her husband confidence after he loses his job. When we expect our spouse’s love to solve all of our problems, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. Though it sure makes them easier to endure, love can’t make trials disappear. Love is powerful, not omnipotent.”
“Accepting this leaves less room for disappointment and more room for grace. Because, you see, love does fix everything—Christ’s love. It fixes our ultimate problem of sin and separation from God. Expecting your spouse to be your Savior ensures discontent. Looking to Christ ensures salvation. He alone can remove our burdens and take our blame; and not just temporarily, but forever.”
Watson isn’t alone in her concerns either. Many Christian singles feel the pressures of dating or “courting” have become impossible in today’s relationally-charged climate. Marriage has become an idol within the church, while sexual expression dominates the world outside. Furthermore, there’s a strong philosophy to do what’s right for you (aka. Do whatever makes you happy). Pastor Stephen Altrogge of Grace Church feels this is the biggest mistake we have accepted about love,
Lie: It’s All about You
“Christians pursue community. This principle applies to dating couples, just like it applies to every other Christian. As Christians, we are part of God’s family, and we allow other believers to speak into our lives. Dating couples are called to let other Christians speak the truth in love to them. This doesn’t mean that they hang out exclusively in groups, or only in the context of their extended families. It simply means that they open their lives up to other believers.”
Love, real love, takes work. It requires selflessness and endurance to grow. As scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 13, love is patient, kind, and humble. If we truly hope to have rich, full relationships as God intended, than we must first remember how to cherish one another as He intended.
What about you? What are some lies you believe culture is telling us about love? Be sure to leave a comment in the section below!
*Ryan Duncan is the Editor of Crosswalk.com