- - Thursday, February 13, 2014


Since Valentine’s Day this year comes on a Friday, I’m reminded of the country music hit, “Friday Night,” which states emphatically that routine “Monday morning” love is not enough; Love has to “set you free,” and “take you high.”

Lovers want to be “barefoot in the moonlight” and on a “wide open road in a candy apple ragtop.” In short, rather than to “settle” for less, everybody wants their love to be like “Friday night.”

The recent wedding on “The Bachelor” — between Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici — is contemporary evidence that most young adults still want romance and passion.

Even in this “hookup” culture, where marriage is declining among the poor and uneducated, the ideal is romance and marriage.

Despite being up against the Grammy Awards and the NFL Pro Bowl, the number of people watching Sean and Catherine’s wedding was up by 53 percent in total viewers and up by 60 percent among adults aged 18 to 49 over the wedding of another “Bachelor” couple a year ago, and it ranked second among young women to the Grammy Awards.

The amazing interest in Sean and Catherine, I’m convinced, stemmed from their very public commitment to chastity before marriage. After skeptics doubted their faithfulness to that vow, both Sean and Catherine passed a lie-detector test on the Jimmy Kimmel television show.

The popularity of the Giudici-Lowe wedding attests to the fact that young women, especially, miss the romance of yesteryear and still want passion and marriage.

Many people still think of passion as being mostly related to young romance. An older view, however, is that passion is an emotional response arising from our “lower nature.” The former view is clearly shallow and incomplete.

This amateur theologian wonders if this view isn’t a vestigial remnant of Gnosticism, the heresy that shunned the material world.

The plain fact is that the Old Testament Scriptures picture the Creator as a being who feels strong emotions such as anger and jealousy. (Unbelievers, of course, sneer at this as anthropomorphic thinking.)

In the New Testament, it is stated explicitly that the Heavenly Father loved His creatures so passionately that He gave His beloved Son to redeem them (John 3:16) at the cost of the Son’s suffering and tragic death by crucifixion.

Couple these elements with the Scripture’s teaching that God created us in His own image, and it becomes difficult to see how our need to love passionately is anything less than a fundamental aspect of our divinely ordained humanity. So, who needs torrid “Friday Night” romance and passion?

As long as “torrid” is viewed as, at best, unseemly and immature, couples who are middle-aged and older, experiencing the frenetic pace and relentless demands of modern life, coupled with a growing awareness of the inevitable diminution of physical and emotional resources, may feel indifferent to a gradual loss of intimacy — and the affection it nourishes — viewing it as a normal, natural progression in life.

There is an old and humorous, but fallacious, jibe that says, “Cooking lasts; kissing don’t.” Adopting this mistaken view means millions of couples drift apart, thus depriving themselves of the intimacy that I am convinced God intended to contribute to maintaining the fidelity of the marriage bond.

I believe it is fair to ask, “Is it honest to conceal this element of our humanity?” (Let’s be clear: Although I genuinely enjoy seeing young couples flirting, I have little patience for undignified public displays of affection and absolutely none for aging Romeos sporting younger trophy wives.)

From the multitude of public figures and others whose careers have been destroyed by affairs, is it healthy to pretend that a desire for a torrid love life is not part of who we are?

Look at it this way: It is plainly evident that the conjugal union from which new life comes was designed by the Creator to produce one of life’s most intense pleasures, thereby ensuring that we would want to marry and have children.

In a parallel fashion, passionate marital love contributes to the accomplishment of an enduring bond and is thus an integral part of the Creator’s plan to make lifelong fidelity not merely feasible, but immensely gratifying.

Hence, as I see it, the longing for romance, the capacity for “torrid” and the desire for “Friday Night” passion is not to be disparaged, nor, as bitter experience shows, is it safe to ignore our need for it.

Frankly, lifelong marriage without “torrid” moments is not an appealing picture. Despite the claims of the cynics, celibacy before marriage and a lifelong marriage with “torrid” experience is possible, even if only a minority is willing to make the sacrifice and investment to enable it to flourish.

What experience shows for certain is that a marriage not nurtured and refreshed by exclusive intimacy will not prove the secure haven God intended it to be.

Janice Shaw Crouse is executive director and senior fellow at Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute.



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