Did God create passion? If he did, does it have a place in a Christian marriage?
Is Passion In Marriage Godly?
In Christ we see a passion that is both guided and guarded by love.
“Christian marriages are supposed to be like a fireplace that’s carved out to host this fire so that this fire can give warmth and light to those around it – that being the children and the greater community.”
Topics & Timestamps
0:20 – Romantic love
0:25 – What romance may look like for different people
1:33 – Where did Romance originate from?
2:55 – How different generations perceive romance
4:16 – Is our culture overly sexualized?
6:54 – Has God not made us for passion?
7:53 – Why marriage exists
9:00 – Songs of Solomon
10:12 – Passion is a gift from God
Top Quotes: Is Passion In Marriage Godly?
“God is not against passion in marriage- he encourages it because he knows the glueing effect that results from this intimacy.”
“Passion without God is a reckless fire that’s really going to do a lot of damage.”
“In Christ we see a passion that is both guided and guarded by love.”
Other Content On This Topic
Welcome back to this short video series where we are exploring how our culture interacts with love. We want to look at critical expressions of this truth but most importantly see how the Bible speaks about love.
So today we are talking about romantic love. If you show genuine interest in something that he’s passionate about, say for example like sports, and that one day you’d probably watch a full match with him, he might consider that to be romantic. Or, you might be a guy who opens the door and pulls out the chair, acts very kindly towards your female counterparts. And in her head that is probably the most romantic thing. Or we can step it up a notch and say that if you just genuinely take an interest in who the guy is and not his passions or his interests but him, he might find that romantic. Or we go big and not go home but instead we would send our spouse a text at work while she’s working and while she’s still caught up in the moment of realizing that you’ve been thinking about her this whole time, she suddenly gets a call from the front desk saying that there’s a big beautiful bouquet of flowers waiting for her. And all she’s thinking in her mind is, “Romance, romance, romance.”
The Origins of Romance
According to the Merriam-Webster website the origins of the word romance has a very long history but we don’t have space and time to get into all of it. So, we’ll try and shorten it just to give us an understanding of where this word comes from. In the 5th century there was a group of people called the Gauls who lived-in modern-day France and they had a language that came from Latin called Romanus and it was actually taken from the Latin word ‘Rome’. At the end of the century a lot of other smaller groups collaborated to take this one group down. But interestingly their language never died out – it remained and in fact, then it was changed from Romanus to Romanis which was the Latin adverb. But later on in old French it just became romance. And it just did not refer to the language alone but it actually spoke about the collection of work that was produced under this language. Narratives about honourable knights who would perform acts of love and chivalry. And right there that’s where the English definition of romance comes from.
Different Generations – Different Perceptions
Every generation thinks that they have done romance correctly and therefore accuse the subsequent generation of being more sexualized and less romantic than their predecessors. In fact, this is pointed to be true because Nick Cannon who is an American media personality was on an interview recently where they asked him about the state of R&B music and he says, I paraphrase that, “R&B is a bit soft nowadays. In fact, it needs to be more raw.” Here’s somebody who is a leading voice in the entertainment culture advocating for more X-rated content in the music, really playing into this accusation that subsequent generations or younger generations tend to be more sexualized. In fact, I can remember in my own country about 2001 there was a big song called Summertime produced by the late Mischief and Mavusana and that song was such a big hit everyone was anticipating the music video. When the video came, it was explicit. And so, there was an uproar in the country and people were calling for the song to be banned, for the music video not to be played ever again. But fast forward to 2022 and those old explicit music videos pale in comparison to the music videos that grace our screens every single day. Now we can say that there is a degree of fairness in this accusation but it would be an over simplified assessment if we don’t think that there’s other contributing factors to this thing. In fact, there are but we don’t have the time to explore all of them. But there’s one particular major contributing factor I think that we can spend some time talking about and that is the internet. Before you think I’m here to demonize the internet not at all. In fact, I think it’s a great invention; it has brought people closer together, it has exposed ideas and things that people previously would actually not be exposed to because of special limitations but now with the internet we can go to worlds that we had never been before. But on this highway of information, there’s still lanes that are open for unwholesome content. So, here’s a good thing – the internet but as sinful beings we can easily corrupt anything. In fact, in Romans 1:29-31, Paul paints this picture of people who are adamant to give themselves to their sinful desires. In fact, Paul in Romans 1:30 uses this phrase to describe the state that these people are in. And he calls them inventors of evil. So here are people who have a God-given gift to create, a God-given gift to reflect the grand architect of the universe as they use their gifts but instead, they build, they create, they have architecture that sets itself up against God and wants to rebel against him.
Is Our Culture Overly Sexualized?
So yes, our culture is overly sexualized. In fact, I was driving down the freeway not long ago and I saw a billboard of a paper manufacturing company – selling paper obviously but they were using a model who had no business to be on that billboard. And I just thought to myself, how many parents drive down this freeway every single day driving their kids to school who will be exposed to that? But if we’re honest it has become white noise so much so that we need to be extra aware and swim upstream because if we stay, we’ll definitely drown.
Passion in Marriage
I really like the illustration of fire to speak about the God ordained passion that’s supposed to exist in the context of marriage. I think this illustration gives us a very clear picture of what it would look like if that God ordained passion stays within marriage and the benefits thereof but equally so, it does give us a clear picture, a grim one though of what it would look like when we take that fire out of its prescribed context and we’ve seen the havoc that it wrecks on the horror that it leaves behind.
Reasons For Marriage
In Genesis 2:18 after the Lord had made the heavens and the earth and all that’s in it including the man, he looked at the man and said, ‘It is probably not a good idea for him to be alone.’ Therefore, God made him a companion. This is the first marriage that we see in the scriptures and the Bible gives us many reasons for why marriage exists. But let’s cite two here for the sake of this video. Well, the first one that we see in that Genesis passage is that marriage is created for companionship, for this deep friendship, for this intimacy that is supposed to exist between the husband and the wife. And the security and safety of the marriage relationship is supposed to provide an environment that makes the man and his wife vulnerable to each other, exposed to each other, transparent so much so that they could mature and become the people that God intended them to be and therefore glorifying the same God who created them. The second reason that marriage exists is because God intended for the world to flourish with image bearers – people who would reflect his glory, people who would do what he intended them to do. Cultivate this world, enjoy it as they enjoy him forever. And so, in marriage, we see the man and his wife being commanded to be fruitful and multiply.
The Songs of Solomon is a book in the bible that really gives us a clear description, candid but a very poetic one about this passionate love that’s supposed to exist between the husband and his wife. In fact, this is a celebration of the safety found in God honouring marriages. This book is also about the joy that envelops a person because of the love that they receive from and give to their spouse and because of that the sense of peace that is created, that calms the raging waters of one’s insecurities. In Songs of Solomon 1 we are introduced to the bride, the bridegroom and the others. This suggests that there’s a communal involvement in this marriage union. The couple just does not come together and run off into the sunset doing their own thing. But they belong to a community that wants to love them, to admonish them, to care for them, to spur them on on this journey that they’ve embarked on because all of us want to see this relationship succeed to the glory of God.
God and Passion
So, God is not against passion in marriage. In fact, he encourages it because he knows the glueing effect that’s gonna come as a result of this intimacy shared between the husband and the wife. And those are things that are gonna carry them long in this journey that they’ve embarked on. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 7:5 Paul tells married couples not to abstain from the marriage bed. The only time that they can abstain from the marriage bed is upon agreement and that they are using that time to dedicate themselves to prayer but shortly after that he strongly encourages them to come back together. So, the abuse of this verse would only suggest that one does not understand what this passionate love within marriage is ultimately supposed to point us to. And this is the unrelenting, passionate, leave heaven to come find your lost sheep type of love that we see from Jesus as he expresses that to us his bride, his Church. Another comfort we get is knowing that God will deal harshly with the man who mistreats his bride. As he clearly states in 1 Peter 3:7, Christian marriages are supposed to be like a fireplace that’s carved out to host this fire so that this fire can give warmth and light to those around it – that being the children and the greater community. But we know the devastating effects of what happens when we take the fire outside of the fireplace and put it where it’s not designed to be; it burns, it damages and it leaves a lot of horror behind. The trap that we’ve often fallen into is this weird separation between passion and God. So much so that any form of passionate expression would even be deemed as irreverent. But God is a passionate God and we cannot separate him from his passion. On the other hand, though, the world really embraces passion but they do so blindly separating passion from its stabilizing force – that is love. Passion without God is a reckless fire that’s really going to do a lot of damage. But passion with God or passion in God really gives that passion direction and it stabilizes it and using it for more good.
Jesus and Passion
Finally, it is in Christ that we see a passion that is both guided and guarded by love. Jesus lived passionately in how he taught, in how he argued with his opponents with reason and logic. We see his passion and how he calls his disciples, undoubting but with much authority even knowing the kind of men that these disciples are. He was passionate in his rebukes even towards his own family and his own mother because he passionately sought out to expose truth. He was passionate about prayer and spending time with the father. He was so passionate all the way up to the cross adamant to fulfil his mission all the while being moved by nothing else but by love.