Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Death of Romance

Most people are aware of the culture’s fascination with sex. Particularly in the younger generation, sex is the measure of all romantic engagement, the essence of all others-directed passion. That’s well documented. What isn’t often talked about is the death of romance. I am here to say firsthand as a member of Generation Z or Y or whatever it is currently called that the culture has stamped out the fire of romance for my generation. Because sex is so accessible, so prevalent, romance has become an awkward bystander in the cafe of life. Everywhere are couples taken up with sex. Nowhere are couples who hold sex in a sacred light and who esteem romance.

If you have wondered whether this is true for twentysomethings, it is. Romance has not suffered in the current age. It has died. For many, it is an intrusion, a bore, a yawn-inducing precursor to the main event: sex. Romance is antiquarian and amusing to my peers, much like those archaic reruns of "Father Knows Best" and "The Three Stooges." Funny, different, and ridiculous. Those of my generation who do engage in romance are considered somewhat strange, as if they belong to some extremist political group. Why would send flowers? Why would one take long walks? Why would one write love letters? Just get her number, go to the club, and indulge your appetites. Then, next weekend, do it all over again, albeit with a new girl. You’re getting what you want with this process, so why change it?

The reason to change it is that romance is a key part of God’s design for men and women. It is celebrated vividly in the Bible, particularly in The Song of Solomon. God has given us a great gift in romance. Love is not meant to be a sprint to sex. It is meant to be a joyous celebration, a gradual and thoughtful walk through sacred lands. It is not meant to be excessive, but appreciated. It is designed to be sweet, not schizophrenic. Romance is not a bore or an intrusion. It is a privilege given to all the creation and a means for all mankind to experience a joy that does not easily pass. The culture has lost sight of this, and it is to all our detriment. Let us work to situate romance in its proper context, marriage. Let us work to bring it back into the sacred light.


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