I was writing another post, and suddenly this thought struck me, so I put it on hold and decided to tackle it. I think romance may be the death of sexual attraction. My generation, as well as one or two ahead and behind mine, have been raised on this notion of romance being what keeps a relationship healthy. But, instead, I think romance is designed to level the playing field by allowing one spouse to try and siphon off confidence from the other. It seems to function as a mechanism for allowing those who don’t want to grow emotionally to avoid that growth and instead bring their spouse down to their level, so that it’s not so obvious.
As Christians, we are called to be complete individuals prior to getting married. It is God who completes us, not our spouse. Then, when we get married, two become one. Two complete individuals join to create one shared life. It’s bad math, but it’s supposed to be that way. It’s a mystery after all, according to the Bible. It’s a living metaphor for our walk with God. The concept of romance makes the equation more logical. A half plus a half becomes one. Romance leverages the idea that we aren’t complete without the other, an idea borrowed from Greek mythology and popularized by Plato’s Symposium in direct opposition to the Bible.
Men are supposed to acknowledge that they are incomplete without their “better half”. Most of us know the famous “You complete me” line from Jerry Maquire. It was considered one of the most romantic lines at the time of it’s playing.
Women are supposed feel incomplete without gifts, grand gestures, flowers, chocolate or the like. If their husband doesn’t provide the materialistic trappings they are told to expect, well, then something must be missing from the relationship, and so they are incomplete.
And most of the world accepts this concept of romance. They accept that they are incomplete. We even hear Christian sources talking about finding a soulmate, spreading myths about soul-ties, and the like. We see marriages fall apart because they weren’t “the one”. Their spouse failed to complete them. Surprise surprise. And we want to believe it. We want to believe in romance, in being incomplete, because if we’re all incomplete … well, then we don’t feel so bad about being incomplete. We don’t feel so bad about being so far from God in our walk with Him. We feel okay at being less, because we aren’t alone.
If we accepted that the concept of romance is here to distract us, well, then we might actually need to start looking at what’s missing. We might actually have to turn to God to fill the hole in our life. We might actually have to grow into a spouse that’s worth being with, instead of coercing our husband or wife to be with us so they can feel complete. What if we rejected this notion that we’re incomplete. What if we become complete individuals with God’s help, not trying to do so with another fallen human’s help? What if we were whole before approaching our spouse? I think that might be a lot more appealing.
Because who really wants to have sex with someone who comes to them as incomplete, as inferior? Who comes to them with a plan to make us both feel better about our incompleteness? No complete person. In fact, I’d argue the only people who want someone to come who’s inferior or incomplete are those who are incomplete themselves. For some, it makes them feel more whole, or at least less weak. Temporarily. But, it’s only temporary. It’s a salve on an open wound that’s going to need to re-applied.
Instead, we should find our completeness in God, and then approach our spouse with that. For some of our spouses, it might scare them a bit, but, scared or not, it will inspire attraction, because people are attracted to completeness, because completeness brings confidence. It brings assertiveness.
However, in some cases, the fear of being left alone in their incompleteness drowns out the attraction. In some, the drive to drag you back down to their level outweighs the draw of being complete. For many people, we’d rather both be in sin than go through the trouble of growing closer to God. But, don’t let them. Don’t let them stand between you and God. Don’t let them stand between you and completeness. For some, it might mean sacrificing sex until they wake up. It might mean sacrificing sex forever. I have friends who have sacrificed their marriage in order to grow closer to God. They don’t regret it. They only regret that their spouse wanted to stay incomplete.