First: a moment of mourning for the Pats since my dad was from Massachusetts.
Second: It struck me over the weekend that Christian media is often accusing mainstream media of peddling an unrealistic romantic fantasy for women that causes women to become dissatisfied with the men available to them in real life and to not look for godly standards. But doesn’t Christian media peddle the exact same unrealistic romantic fantasies (while looking for overly godly standards)?
I mean, you’ve got Christian media on the one hand warning that (essentially) Titanic is bad for you, Reese Witherspoon romcoms are bad for you, romance novels are bad for you, etc. Unrealistic expectations of beauty, don’t you know that life isn’t a never-ending date?, and (DUN DUN DUN) these people have sex outside of marriage! Okay, fair enough.
But then that same Christian media turns around and foists Rebecca St. James’s “purity advice,” True Love Waits, Joshua Harris and kissing dating goodbye, and Stasi Eldredge’s Captivating (which includes chapters titled stuff like “Romanced,” “Beauty to Unveil,” “Arousing Adam,” and “Warrior Princesses”) on readers, and we’re supposed to believe that Christian media is peddling wisdom because it’s, like, Christian and stuff. How is the “Daughter of the King!” industry not setting up women for the exact same problem of an unrealistic romantic fantasy? You’ve got Rebecca St. James, whose entire adult life has been spent in the entertainment industry where the vast majority of males (and therefore the guys in her social circle) are well above average in looks and have success in a way that the average man will never attain, advising young Christian women on
how to find her male peers lacking in romantic worthiness staying pure until they marry The One. You’ve got True Love Waits telling horny teenagers not to have sex until they’re married, which in this culture may not be for another 15 to 20 years, and expecting that signing a card is going to be a meaningful deterrence in the heat of the moment. Joshua Harris scared a generation away from dating because some guys in dating didn’t have lofty enough goals. And then you have people like Stasi Eldredge writing dreamy prose about how God can romantically and emotionally satisfy women. Here is a quote from Eldredge’s book Captivating:
We long for romance. We are wired for it; it’s what makes our hearts come alive. You know that. Somewhere, deep down inside, you know this. But what you might never have known is this…
This doesn’t need to wait for a man.
God longs to bring this into your life himself. … He wants to heal us through his love to become mature women who actually know him. He wants us to experience verses like, “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her” (Hos. 2:14). And “You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride” (Song 4:9). Our hearts are desperate for this. What would it be like to experience for yourself that the truest thing about his heart toward yours is not disappointment or disapproval but deep, fiery, passionate love? This is, after all, what a woman was made for.
HOW CAN A NORMAL, FLESH-AND-BLOOD MAN COMPETE WITH GOD FOR A WOMAN’S SWOONS?
[Insert obligatory Fireproof mention here.]
And yet it’s the mainstream media that’s to blame for setting up unrealistic expectations, tsk tsk.
It seems to me that Christian media sets just as high a bar a fantasy for Christian women as the mainstream media does, if not higher just due to the fact that a staunch Christian woman is far more likely to hold out for “God’s best.” I feel like we are constantly assured that God is going to give us his Best if we just have faith and wait for it. This especially includes marriage. Don’t settle for less than God’s Best. Do you want to have a good, God-honoring marriage? Then hold out for His Best. You’re 25? You have time. You’re 30? Keep praying for God’s Best. 35? Keep trusting God to bring you his Best. 40? God’s Best doesn’t have a timetable. 45? Nothing is impossible for God, who is writing your love story. God will bring his Best to you in his perfect timing. 50? Sometimes God’s Best doesn’t include a husband, but that doesn’t mean it’s not God’s Best for you.
The main difference I can see between Christian and mainstream romantic fantasies is that the former causes people not to get married at all, and the latter causes break-ups after the wedding. In Christian terms, it’s better to be forever alone than to get married and then divorce because you’re not happy. But for every woman who can’t find someone to meet her expectations, another guy has to remain single, so…..