Monday, July 29, 2019

Biblical marriage vs. Hollywood romance

I post this not to join in ganging up on Josh Harris, who must be going through hell (his wife of over 20 years loses her faith, he loses his wife, he loses his faith, and he's probably trying not to lose his kids), but because this is a well-written critique of his earlier work ("overly stringent, slightly heretical sexual prosperity gospel") that made him famous.

Bad religion, "churchianity" as the evangelicals in the Christian manosphere say, as a wise monastic acquaintance described to me: God's like a vendor you make a contract with. People who conjure demons are the same way. You obey all the rules, you do the ceremony right, and God or the demon owes you one, such as riches or blissful married sex. You don't have those? Your fault: you weren't faithful enough!

The money quote:
The idea of "the one" or a person's perfect "soulmate" is not biblical or Christian - it actually originally comes from Plato's dialogue "The Symposium." This is not to say that some couples are not more compatible than others, but the key goal of romantic relationships should not be to find "the one," but to find someone you can love and be faithful to all of your days - and make yourself into the kind of person who can be faithful.
Not to be confused with pickup artists' putting down "one-itis" in favor of using women, even though it sounds similar.

My life and at least one other's would have been much better if I'd known this Christian truth. Like many others, the entertainment industry sold me a bill of goods.

Also, from another conversation about this subject: our wicked society's destruction of family and community, of a support system, puts an unrealistic emotional burden, unrealistic expectations, on a husband or wife to be someone's be-all and end-all, such as an intellectual "partner in crime." More harm, breaking up couples.
I often say the reason my marriage has endured so well is we did not marry for love. We are in love, but that is not why we married.
One of the best systems is semi-arranged marriages in cultures set up to do them, such as the revived self-sufficient Catholic towns run by "mafias" of big families that I imagine. They work because while the boy and girl have a say, veto power, it's about uniting and continuing two families. And it works because there is no marketing-fueled generation gap. Rupal's and Sanjay's families know Rupal and Sanjay very well, and everybody shares a religion and culture, so if the families think Rupal and Sanjay would be a good match, they often are. No soul-destroying years of "hooking up" nor platonic nonsense.
My wife and I married more tired with being alone and directionless in life. Mind you I was but 22 so that tells you something about my generation vs. today's. Anyway, after 21 years of marriage I love her more than I can express. It's a love that we both grew into gradually.
Dump the secular world's junk about a soul mate and you realize it's a perfectly good reason if the other person is a good person. And as you found out, it works.

Romantic painting: Tom Lovell (1909–1997), "Back Comes the Bride."

1 comment:

  1. I know a lot of single young Catholics who seem to keep shopping around for "perfect" spouses, apparently incapable of pulling the trigger. They don't ask my advice, but if they did, I'd tell them what I've learnt being married: "Your eventual spouse will be just as crazy, irritating, and dysfunctional a human being as you are. Can you honestly look in the mirror and say you deserve Mr. or Mrs. Perfect?"


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