- Ardent, passionate, fervent.
- Displaying or expressing love or strong affection.
- A preoccupation with or idealizing of one’s beloved.
- Dominated by idealism, desire for adventure, chivalry.
- Fanciful, impractical, unrealistic.
This is how the Dictionary describes the word “romantic.” I find it somewhat amusing that these definitions move through the full spectrum of the word, from the classic romance we see in the movies – passionate, fervent, displays of affection, a preoccupation with one’s beloved – to what many of us cynically think of it – idealist, fanciful, unrealistic.
Yet romance is so important to us. It’s what we look for in our relationships. It’s why nearly every movie recorded and book published contains at least some thread of a romance. It’s what teenage girls whisper and giggle about at sleepovers. It’s why Valentine’s Day is a multi-billion dollar holiday. It’s how my husband can convince me to watch an old war movie with him – “because there’s a love story in it.” It’s why marriages fall apart after the honeymoon phase ends. Fanciful or not, romance matters to us.
I love how John and Stasi Eldredge beautifully describe not only our longing for romance, but how God – the Lover of our souls – has been romancing us all along:
“As women, we long to be loved in a certain way, a way unique to our femininity. We long for romance. It’s what makes our hearts come alive.
God longs to bring this into your life Himself. His heart toward yours is not disappointment or disapproval, but deep, fiery, passionate love. Faithful obedience to God is vital, but it is not all God draws us to. It is not sufficient for our healing, no more than doing the laundry is sufficient for a marriage.
What were the things that romanced your heart as a girl? Was it horses in a field? Was it the fragrance of the air after a summer rain? Was it a favorite book like The Secret Garden? The first snowfall of winter? Those were all whispers from your Love, notes sent to awaken your heart’s longings. Every song you love, every memory you cherish, every moment that has moved you to holy tears has been given to you from the One who has been pursuing you from your first breath in order to win your heart.” (from Captivating)
We need romance in our relationships and our marriages, certainly. Marriage doesn’t stay all red roses and candlelit dinners for long, but it’s vital that spouses keep pursuing one another, that husbands keep romancing their wives, that in the midst of the day-to-day, year-to-year routine and stress, we keep the flame kindled. Romance is a gift from God to men and women, to enjoy as we lavish upon each other. It plays an important role in keeping our marriages fresh, welcoming, and thriving.
But don’t you love the idea that God romances us, too? It can be a difficult thing to get your head around, but it’s true. Our God is a God of passion, beauty, creativity, and pure love, and He loves each of us in ways that are unique to the beat of our own hearts. Like a man leaving flowers on a woman’s doorstep, He whispers “I love you” through starry skies, a beautiful song, a free cup of coffee, powerful poetry, unexpected laughter. Little blessings that, though He has no obligation or special purpose to give you, He does just because He cares.
If you think about it, this is one of the ways humanity reflects the image of God – in our longing for romance, in our desire to bless the one we love with something special and unexpected. When a man knows you deeply enough to know what would delight your heart, then spares no effort to lavish that on you, it’s not only a taste of human romance, but a reflection of the extravagant, selfless way you are loved by God.