It all goes back to fantasy. One of the biggest—if not the biggest—driving force behind the worldwide cultural obsession with romance is the genre. While fantasy does well as a genre, not a lifestyle, romance is better left to the mundane. Rising divorce rates at the dawn of the second millennium were just too high to say otherwise.
So much money and emotion goes into the marriage rituals that families start out with a pocket too light, just to meet the expected norms. If a fraction of the resources for the performance went into dedication and loyalty through the boring normality of life, the divorce rate might also be a fraction of what it is.
My sister got married across the country and held the reception at home. Mom said, “I wasn’t there for the wedding, but I was here for the marriage.” Sadly, not many married couples can say the same.
Marriage can’t be strong and lasting if it is worshiped as a false deity. But, the movies and stories and lyrics in pop music push a cultural expectation that so glorifies relationships that are, in actual life, nothing that we romanticize them to be. Romance itself has become romanticized.
When one makes a promise, one must envision the hardship of statistical obstacles and determine to keep going with neither reward nor pleasure, merely for the sake of keeping the promise being made. If it’s not worth it then don’t make the promise. But, it’s hard to envision the granular features of any rocky road when hypnotized by dreary, starry-eyed songs about a fake fantasy.
Love is much more than pop culture’s expression of it could ever be. The Bible’s most recurring illustration for the human relationship with God is that of a man and woman in marriage. This isn’t literal; it’s illustrative, the most-used illustration in the Bible. Consider Song of Songs, Hosea, John’s reference to Jesus as bridegroom, Jesus’s parable of ten bridesmaids, and the Book of Revelation closing with the words, “The Spirit and the bride say come!”
The Biblical concept of undying, sacrificial, there-through-it-all love is the standard for actual romance. Marriage was invented in Heaven, not Hollywood.