The Artificial Romance Issue – From the Archives

Posted on February 9, 2014 by


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Gentlemen,

(For those who didn’t see my post yesterday to my brothers in Christ)

I am going to change things a bit. I plan to have a number of “Ladies Only” posts – actually, probably the majority of my posts will be this way from this point on. I want the women to have a chance to be able to say what they would like to say and give them more of the floor.  I value your insights, wisdom and perspective as men and as my brothers in Christ greatly. I hope to ask the gentlemen for their opinions on certain topics. And I appreciate all the vigorous discussion we have had. 🙂

If you would like to make a comment or there is an issue you would like for me to address, you may certainly post one, but I may keep it private – and read it myself and prayerfully consider if the points you have are something I could bring up in a post. I want to be sure to keep my focus on my primary responsibility here – which is to my sisters.

Thank you so much for your understanding!

Please pray that God will give me His wisdom so that He might effectively pour through every word I write that my sisters in Christ might benefit.

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Ladies,

This is probably going to sound a bit extreme.  It is certainly up to you what  you do with this area of your life.   I am not saying you must do what I do.

But I am saying – this is something to think about and pray about – whether or not it is wise to consume romantic books/movies/music.

“Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial.”  I Corinthians 6:12

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ROMANTIC MOVIES/BOOKS/MUSIC?

There is not necessarily anything wrong with some of these types of media…

BUT –

If you end up feeling upset, deprived, angry, depressed, hopeless, or jealous of the emotions the character gets to feel and the romance she has in the book… if you start creating expectations that men in real life will treat you like the men in books, movies and songs do … then you are getting yourself into trouble.

This can be an issue even with Christian novels that are rated G.  It can be a problem with Disney movies.  It can even be an issue if you are reading Christian marriage books about what husbands are “supposed” to do.

It’s great to know what a godly husband’s role is. But…

Focusing on what you want a man to do and who you want him to be can easily create great discontent in your heart.

Remember that

“Expectations  are premeditated resentment.”

SO MANY WOMEN EXPECT REAL LIFE MEN TO THINK, FEEL and TALK LIKE THE ROMANTIC LEAD IN THE MOVIES OR IN NOVELS – but these books and movies create an artificial reality – a fantasy. We can easily set ourselves up for wrong expectations and even idols in this area as we think real life should look just like a romantic movie or novel. This can become sin very quickly that creates discontentment in us instead of thankful spirits.

God commands us to be thankful people – to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:18

You want to know God’s will for you?  One part of His will is for you to have a grateful heart in all situations. Let’s be careful to avoid things that create discontentment, anxiety, depression, ungratefulness and idolatry (things that become more important to us than oneness with Christ) and to focus on things that help us to concentrate on Philippians 4:8 things:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Whatever things we consume with our minds, our emotions and our souls – they must be things that fall into the above categories so that we can honor Christ with our thoughts.

NOTE – The only purpose of erotica is to promote very lustful thoughts in our hearts.  That is sin.  Pure and simple.  It contaminates our minds, hurts our fellowship with God and distorts our expectations of what sex and intimacy should be like in God’s design in marriage.

Romantic movies and books teach women to expect men to be something emotionally and verbally and romantically that doesn’t represent real men accurately.  These things set up false expectations and contribute greatly to covetousness, discontentment, lack of gratitude and ultimately  – to disrespect for our men.  Women also have a cocktail of “feel good” hormones that surge when they read about romance or watch something romantic.  We can become so in love with the idea of romance in a world of fantasy that we can’t be satisfied by real romance in real life with a real man.

HERE IS HOW ONE WIFE PUT IT ON MY PEACEFULWIFE BLOG ( I believe this applies to single Christian women, too!):

I think this is a far bigger problem than is acknowledged. It is extremely important for women to guard their ability to be satisfied, to be pleased with what they have. Romance novels feed desires that have no outlet in real life. I avoid them for this reason. In marriage, a wife must learn to feed her gratitude, not her lust. All romance should be owned by her husband, no matter how romantic he may or may not be. Otherwise you are cultivating a taste for other men (real or imagined).

Women complain all of the time about the way porn creates expectations for women that are unreasonable.

Romance novels and movies train a woman’s mind to want a dominant man who can magically guess what will please her and lead her to it before she has to say anything- and he is a top man, wealthy, handsome and he chose her! This is not the way it works in a Christian marriage. This is not the way it works in real life. This does not help Christian women properly value their husbands and the sacrifice and love that they show their wives and families.

Marriage is great at putting things in their proper place. A man gets sex from his one source, not from a constant flow of variety. Women get romance and leadership from one man, but it may not be exactly the way she wants it all of the time. She may actually just get the bare minimum in terms of dominance and romance and that is actually okay- if she can learn to be happy with that.

Romance novels are a way that a woman can be manipulated into feeling her leadership is necessary because if her husband was good at it, like the men in books are, he would be making her feel the way that the men in the books do. Of course this mainly operates at a subconscious level… but when you have weaned yourself from any artificial source of romance, it becomes clearer to you how it massively manipulates your romantic desires.

Supersizing of desire is a real problem.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

This is an issue for single women, too.

First, if you don’t have a man in your life – watching romantic movies or reading romantic novels makes you feel left out.  It is easy to start to want what you don’t have and to complain to God that what He has given you is not enough.  These kinds of media promote jealousy, selfishness, a sense of entitlement and a spirit of discontent.

If you do have a man in your life – these movies and books can help you decide that he is not “good enough” or that he is not living up to your expectations and standards because you do not feel the way that you think you should feel.  Many times, romantic movies/books help women create an idol of “feeling loved” or “feeling in love” that becomes the standard by which she measures men.

Feeling loved and being “in love” are awesome.  But when they become your entire goal – or these things become more important to you than the man you love, or more important than knowing and pleasing Christ – that is a HUGE problem.

APPLICATION:

For me, I personally had to stop watching romantic movies and reading even Christian romance novels that were rated G.  Anything that contributes to a spirit of discontent, jealousy or unrealistic expectations has to go.  I don’t need help stumbling into sin!   I am perfectly capable of doing that on my own without any assistance.

Now, if I do see a Disney movie or something, I am able to filter it and dissect the messages it is sending.  I believe I could read some rated G novels now without stumbling – but you know what?  I have so many more important things to do in the kingdom of God and I want to focus my energy on the real life romance I have and being thankful for my own husband – that I just don’t have the time to spend on fiction.

I would much rather spend my time in God’s Word, and getting to know God better.  That is MUCH more exciting than fictional romance to me now!

What about you?

Ask God to help you see your motives when you read and watch these things.  Ask Him to purify your heart and expectations to line up with His standards instead of lining up your heart with Hollywood.  Ask Him to give you wisdom about if there are things that may need to go from your life so that you can be more prepared to receive real riches and treasures.

If you can watch or read these things and not have any temptations – awesome!  But if you do have temptations to sin, then it is time to evaluate if this is a beneficial and God-honoring activity.

RELATED:

We Want the Fairy Tale!

The Idol of Marriage and Weddings

Soul mates

How to Make a Man Your Idol

Why Wanting to Feel Loved Can Be a Recipe for Disaster

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