The biggest commercial holiday for love and romance takes place tomorrow and we’ve been seeing decorations for Valentine’s Day since January! Companies are pushing us to spend money on their products for our loved ones, and while I can go in on the commercialization we commonly fall victim to, there’s something else that stirred my heart.
We live in a culture that is saturated with romantic ideals and assumptions, and our environment will either be conducive to healthy relationship-building with ourselves and others, or it will be a hindrance. The problem is that the culture around us isn’t conducive to a healthy view of singleness and God’s sexual ethic and mindset. It is very important that we are more aware of how influential this is on all of us.
If you think about it, what do we revere more in society, singleness or romantic relationships? How quickly would we assume that something is wrong if someone remains single throughout their life, rather than a calling that Jesus says some have? Do you think to yourself that being in a relationship is more important than being single? These are things that you have to wrestle with when you consider why you want the things you say you want.
Please don’t get me wrong though! To desire romantic companionship is not a sign that you’re doing this all wrong. I know I desire it myself. This is just a friendly encouragement from me to you, so that we can all grow in our self-awareness and consider the source(s) of our motivations and desires, as well as see the value of our time as single men and women. Some of us need to change how we approach singleness and romance. This cultural influence can and has hindered how we view and approach relationships. It also seeps into how we deal with sex and sexuality.
Whether you’re a virgin like me, or someone who was sexually active and then committed to abstinence before marriage for Christ, we all have to consider how this environment and climate towards love and sexuality doesn’t help us walk this out. We are inundated with sexual stimuli and romantic expectations that make it harder on us and we have to admit that.
This has influenced the body of Christ in such a way, that the pressure to be “pure” and reach the “prize of marriage” is an invisible burden that affects us greatly. It’s not said that it’s a prize, but it’s shown in our approach to it. Many of us in church have a shallow view of sexuality and marriage, which affects us when we finally do get married. There’s a whole culture that comes out of this, and it’s called “purity culture.”
If we grow in our awareness of cultural influences, as well as grow deeper and comfortable with sexual nature of our bodies, we can process these realities a lot better. God’s idea of sex and romance goes beyond waiting for marriage and seeing your singleness as a stepping stone to what you really want. As we experience Valentine’s Day around us, let’s also consider why we think and desire the way we do.