Three Biblical Ways to Dispel Cultural Love Myths
by ChristianCrush Team
Hollywood lied to us. Romance doesn’t solve all of our problems, and fighting doesn’t mean that you are doomed as a couple. In fact, the whole world has lied to us about the things that do and don’t work in relationships – Hollywood just happened to provide the bandwagon.
A lot of what we consider to be a natural part of a relationship is actually a social construct. There are bits of truth in many romance myths, but not all of them are 100% true. One of the biggest romance lies is that the dizzying puppy love stage is the only one worth living for and that it should last forever. Think of the number of couples that have called it quits simply because they didn’t get butterflies when they looked into their spouse’s eyes in the morning. Love can be wildly passionate, yes, but it has many other, deeper stages, too (Phil, 2014).
Some people live their entire lives forcing their romances to fit into the boxes provided by society. They beat themselves over the head trying to share every single hobby, or they jump from relationship to relationship looking for the perfect partner. Soon a date stops being a fun night out with an interesting person – it morphs into an audition with someone’s heart as the prize.
I have to admit that I have also fallen prey to many of society’s relationship myths. It’s easy to do because I am, after all, a romantic. And part of a relationship myth’s lure is that it presents a perfect, cut-and-dried world of romance. Think of it this way: one of the most widespread themes in chick flicks is finding The One, right? Finding that One True Love means that deep in our fabric there is order and meaning. If finding The One is all it takes, then we know where we should spend all of our time and energy. It’s a way to get answers out of a crazy, messed up world.
Sadly, there is no perfectly right or terribly wrong way to go about being a girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife. I’m not sure I would want a true Hollywood romance – the protagonist has to go through a lot of pain before they get their happy ending. But I do know that The One we all yearn for isn’t just another person – it’s a love story. Our minds are wired for stories, and we seem to adore love stories most of all.
When I talk about relationships, I love to look at Hosea. If you haven’t read his book of the Bible, I suggest you check it out. It’s fourteen chapters and a lot of it is poetic and symbolic, but the little nuggets of story you find in those chapters reveal a love story that is both terrible and beautiful.
God came to Hosea and told him to marry a prostitute, Gomer. She ran away again and again, and Hosea kept going after her and bringing her home, all because God urged him to. It was a symbolic relationship; Hosea played the part of God, and his wife played the part of Israel (you and me, for modern readers). If Hosea had listened to his peers about how a relationship is supposed to go, you can bet he would have divorced Gomer in a snap. But God had a bigger plan.
How did Hosea do it?
1. He didn’t hesitate to follow God (Hosea 1:1-3)
If the first thing God said to you was, “Go marry a prostitute so I can teach Israel a lesson”, would you do it? Hosea didn’t question God. In verse 2, the order is given. In verse 3, Hosea does what he was told. So when you're dating be sure to pray often for God's discernment and direction. Also, ask your close family and friends for their feedback on who you're dating because God may be speaking through them as well.
2. He persevered (Hosea 3:1-3)
Gomer brought a lot of baggage to the relationship – she slept around, hung out with the wrong people, and deserted her family more than once. God was doing something bigger than writing a whimsical sonnet. His goal was requited love, both from Gomer and from Israel. If Hosea had bailed even once, he never would have seen God’s plans fulfilled. Therefore, when your relationships get difficult don't jump towards terminating them right away. Instead, see if God is trying to grow and strengthen you.
3. He dreamed of the best
A large part of Hosea’s love story is redemption and healing. We never truly hear the end of the story. One day, Hosea brings Gomer home for good. Maybe she runs away again, or she takes time to heal where she is. All we really know is that Hosea’s dream lined up with God’s, and what we read in his chapters describe a fervent, passionate love story about God’s care for us: “Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go?...My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows. No, I will not unleash my fierce anger...for I am God and not a mere mortal. I am the Holy One living among you, and I will not come to destroy. For someday the people will follow me” (Hosea 11:8-10). When you commit to someone in marriage, be relentless in your devotion, love, and sacrifice towards them just as God has been with you.
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What other cultural myths on love are negated with Scripture?