Romance is an important part of the human experience that involves feelings of love, attraction, and desire for intimate relationships. As Christians, our view of romance should be guided by biblical principles of love, purity, commitment, and honoring God.
The Bible affirms romantic love between a husband and wife in marriage. Song of Solomon beautifully portrays the intimacy and passion between a married couple. Marriage is the only appropriate context for romantic love and sexual intimacy (Hebrews 13:4). Dating couples should pursue purity and save sexual intimacy for marriage (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
Christian romance must be rooted in godly love. True love is patient, kind, unselfish, forgiving, and protects (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a). It mirrors Christ’s sacrificial love for the church (Ephesians 5:25). Thisagape love seeks the highest good of the other person.
Our culture overly romanticizes love and often neglects commitment. Biblical romance involves covenant commitment. God designed marriage to be a lifelong, exclusive covenant between one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4-6). As Christians, we pledge faithfulness to our spouse in sickness and health, for better or worse.
Romantic relationships should draw us closer to God, not become idols that pull us away from Him. We must guard our hearts and not let romance consume us (Proverbs 4:23). Our greatest satisfaction comes from an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ (Psalm 16:11).
Christian romance also requires wisdom and balance. We should enjoy romance and desire emotional intimacy with our spouse. However, we must keep romance in perspective. Passion fades, but commitment remains. The mundane moments of life often reveal true Christ-centered love.
In summary, a Christian view of romance recognizes both its beauty and dangers. With Christ at the center, romance can foster intimacy, joy, and commitment in marriage. But we must also guard against idolatry, lust, and idealism. Biblical principles such as purity, selflessness, and faithfulness should guide Christian romance.
Purity in Christian Romance
Purity is an essential component of Christian romance. God designed physical intimacy to occur only within the covenant of marriage between a husband and wife (Hebrews 13:4). Romantic love before marriage should honor God by preserving sexual purity.
The Bible speaks strongly against sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). Sex before or outside of marriage is sin. Dating and engaged couples should set physical boundaries and not awaken unfulfilled sexual desire (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). Modesty in dress and conduct is important.
Purity encompasses both our bodies and minds. We must take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and avoid sexually explicit media that inflames lust. Our thought life impacts our actions. Christians should meditate on whatever is honorable and pure (Philippians 4:8).
Maintaining purity requires God’s help and accountability within Christian community. Temptation is inevitable, so we must flee from it (1 Corinthians 6:18) and ask God for the way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Accountability partners and mentors can encourage wise decisions in dating.
While virginity before marriage is God’s ideal, He offers grace, forgiveness, and redemption to all who repent and believe in Jesus. Those who have failed to maintain purity can still honor God in future relationships.
In summary, purity allows romantic love to flourish within God’s boundaries. It involves our whole being – body, mind, and spirit. By God’s grace, single Christians can pursue romance in a way that honors Him.
Selflessness in Christian Romance
Christian romance should be marked by selflessness, not selfishness. As Scripture teaches, “Love is patient, love is kind … it is not self-seeking” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). Romance often focuses on personal happiness, but godly love considers the other person first.
Jesus exemplified selfless romantic love by sacrificing Himself for His bride, the church (Ephesians 5:25). We follow Christ’s model when we lay down our lives for others (1 John 3:16). Selflessness also entails preferring our partner above ourselves (Philippians 2:3).
Selflessness manifests through listening, compromise, and seeking to understand rather than be understood. It forgives quickly (Colossians 3:13). Selflessness is not based on feelings but is a conscious choice motivated by God’s love.
Dating requires balance between appropriate self-care and care for others. However, marriage calls for greater mutual sacrifice. Spouses must nurture intimacy while also caring for children, managing a household, and honoring commitments.
No one loves perfectly selflessly all the time. Thankfully, God’s grace helps us learn greater love and humility. His Spirit empowers us to serve our spouse sacrificially (Galatians 5:13). As we yield to Christ, our love grows more selfless.
Selfishness poisons romance, but selflessness cultivates mutual joy. Christian romance should reflect Christ by esteeming others as more important than self.
Commitment in Christian Romance
Commitment is vital for Christian romance. Our culture exalts feelings and often neglects the hard work of maintaining relationships. In contrast, the Bible presents marriage as a lifelong covenant.
God designed marriage to be permanent and exclusive between one man and woman (Matthew 19:4-6). He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). Married couples commit to choose one another daily through all circumstances until parted by death.
Dating couples should also pursue commitment, not casual relationships. They should ensure spiritual compatibility for marriage (2 Corinthians 6:14). Wise couples seek premarital counseling and mentoring to build a strong foundation.
Within marriage, prioritizing intimacy fosters greater connection. Couples must set aside regular time together without distractions. They should give their best emotionally, spiritually, and physically to their spouse (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).
Growing in commitment requires effort and God’s help. Couples must communicate honestly, quickly resolve conflicts (Ephesians 4:26), and extend grace during struggles. They confess sins against one another and make Christ the foundation.
Christian romance thrives in the rich soil of covenantal commitment. With God at the center, marriage relationships can reflect the depth of Christ’s love for the church.
Honoring God in Christian Romance
Most importantly, Christian romance must honor God. Our Creator designed marriage and romantic love (Genesis 2:24). We honor Him by following His principles and keeping Him first in all relationships.
We honor God by avoiding idolatry. Feelings of romance can become idols if they replace God in our hearts. We must find our primary identity and satisfaction in Christ (Psalm 16:11). Married couples can gently help one another keep God first.
Honoring God also means recognizing romance as His gift. Like all good gifts, we are stewards of this gift (1 Peter 4:10). We nurture our marriages while acknowledging God as the giver.
Additionally, we honor God by rooting romance in agape love. As mentioned, this love is unconditional, faithful, and sacrificial like Christ’s love for us. It moves beyond fleeting emotions to selfless service.
Christian marriage should ultimately point to the gospel. The love between husbands and wives reflects God’s covenant with us. Mutual service models Christ’s servant leadership. Honoring marriage honors God’s redemptive work.
Romance has great potential to glorify God. As Christians, we must ensure our view of romance is grounded in His Word. All human relationships find their best meaning in relationship to the Creator.
Dangers of Overly Idealistic Romance
Our culture often presents an overly idealistic view of romance. Romantic movies and novels portray relationships as perpetually blissful. This unrealistic perspective can negatively impact real-world marriages.
Overly idealistic expectations set couples up for disappointment. No spouse is perfect, and no marriage is constantly exciting. Viewing small flaws as deal-breakers or abandoning relationships over boredom often stems from unrealistic ideals.
Idealistic romance also fosters an entitled attitude. Some expect to be perfectly fulfilled without doing their part to love selflessly and grow intimacy. They feel owed happiness without sacrifice.
Additionally, idealistic perspectives neglect biblical principles. The world calls restrictions like purity before marriage oppressive. But God’s ways bring true fulfillment when followed with wisdom.
An idealistic view tempts people to seek romance with many partners. It frames love as merely a feeling instead of a committed choice. In contrast, Scripture presents faithfulness in marriage as crucial.
A biblical view of romance offers freedom from the treadmill of chasing fleeting emotions. We can find contentment in steady covenant love. Wise Christians recognize realistic expectations lead to deeper intimacy.
Cultivating Strong Christian Romance
Building a thriving Christian marriage with deep romantic bonds takes prayer, wisdom, and effort. Here are some principles that help cultivate strong romance:
Spend regular one-on-one time together without distractions. Set aside a weekly date night. Take walks together to talk. Protect space for friendship and fun in marriage.
Keep growing intimacy through open communication, vulnerability, and undivided listening. Go beneath the surface to understand one another’s feelings and needs.
Maintain physical romance through non-sexual affection like hugging and cuddling. Enjoy sexual intimacy according to God’s design. Remember that emotional and spiritual intimacy enhance physical connection.
Seek to meet one another’s needs before your own. John Piper says to treat your spouse as your most important ministry. This requires selflessness and sacrifice.
Pursue spiritual intimacy through studying Scripture, praying, and attending church together. Christ at the center binds hearts closer. Confess sins quickly and extend forgiveness.
Infuse everyday life with little acts of love and a spirit of gratitude. Leave affectionate notes, help with chores, speak words of affirmation. Remember romance continues amid daily stresses.
Christian marriage offers the opportunity to grow romance, intimacy, and fulfilment for a lifetime. Following biblical wisdom cultivates strong relationships that reflect Christ’s covenantal love.