Is Your Relationship Just a Business Contract?

relationship business contract.2

No one marries for love anymore today.

Alas, the vast majority of relationships today are mere business contracts.

Huh? Uh…Reagan, I think you need to check your calendar. This is 2016! Love has been liberated in the Western world. Marrying for love is the only reason people marry. People marry for any other reason unless they are part of a cult, and abusively forced to against their will.

When you think of a relationship leading toward marriage that is “just a business contract,” what comes to mind? Well, probably something like what was mentioned above. Either an uber-conservative cult, or maybe the archaic systems of arranged marriage, betrothal, and courtship from days gone by.

We recall from history when marriages often very much were just business contracts. Kings would have their children marry in order to form a political alliance between their two kingdoms. Other families married for status, or land, or wealth. It has become so cliche to watch movies today that take place in the medieval era that feature a romance plot where one person or another is being forced to marry someone against their will.

What a tragedy! “But I don’t love him!” we will hear a character say. “I don’t want money! I want to marry the man I love!” Touching. I wonder, though, just how historically accurate are these plots? If arranged and forced marriages were so common, and marrying “for love” so alien, then probably most people saw being forced to marry someone they did not “love” as normal, and expected, just as today we expect everyone to go to college after they graduate. It’s just what you do. But this is beside the point of this article.

What is promoted in these films, and our culture today, is the notion of marrying “for love”. Marrying for any other reason is generally looked-down-upon in our society. I would agree with this idea…if it weren’t for the fact that our culture has so misunderstood love today.

Now, when people talk about “marrying for love,” they are really just talking about a business contract.

Huh? What? I think you’re stretching a bit here, Reagan!


Love Is Manly

When I was growing up, I always thought of love as girly. Our culture portrays love with big red hearts, warm fuzzy feelings, and physical displays of affection. These are all things girls are generally more easily drawn to. Girls like to draw little hearts on their school books, and more readily enjoy romance in movies or books. “Love” and being “manly” seemed to be diametrically opposed. This is a big reason why my young self vowed to never marry.
Love in our culture is shown as being soft. Being nice. Not hurting anyone’s feelings. This is the kind of love that comes more naturally to females.
Certainly, this feminine side of love is real, and important. However, this is not all love is. Love is also masculine. Love isn’t always elegant, nice, or pleasurable. Love is sometimes harsh, tough, and uncompromising. Love is manly.
This of course doesn’t mean that all women are tender whereas all men are hard and uncompromising. On an individual level, people—men and women—differ and vary quite a bit. In general, however, there is a distinction. There are two sides of love, one side women more readily express, and the other side men more naturally express. We all need both.
However, in the church today—and the culture as a whole—the masculine side of love is often ignored and even demonized. Frequently, this “manly” side of love is criticized as being “unloving” or “un-Christ-like” and this is because we only see the feminine side of love as being legitimate. It’s just fine to tell men to “get in touch with your feminine side,” but you don’t so often hear women being told to “get in touch with their masculine side.”
We need to all embrace the fullness of God’s love, both the masculine and feminine aspects.


Why I No Longer Talk Privately to Girls Online

With my series on “emotional” purity drawing to a close, I think it would be helpful to talk about some practical solutions to maintaining emotional purity. Part 3 of this series—a guest post by Emily Long—I think provided some good tips, but I’d like to go a little bit more in depth, and also provide a couple of my own tips.


I find it sad that many of the arguments I’ve seen leveled against Emily’s post from a couple weeks ago are arguments that I used to make myself. Yes! The beliefs held by many of these critics were beliefs I used to hold; however, it took several difficult experiences for me to finally realize the danger of communicating privately online with the opposite gender, and not striving to be emotionally pure.
However, these experiences aren’t unique to me. In fact, I know a guy who has very similar experiences. I will call him Sam, and he has given me permission to use his story for this post.
Sam had had very little interaction with girls until he joined an online forum full of other homeschooling Christians.  The forum happened to have a girl:guy ratio of 5:1, so by default, most of his friends were female. In the past, Sam had been rather standoffish toward girls, and he regretted that. The Bible spoke of treating each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, so that’s what he would try and do on this forum.
Because of the similarities he shared with so many on that forum, he developed some very close friendships. He became very close with a particular girl who was struggling with boyfriend problems, specifically, her boyfriend was cheating on her. Sam, feeling bad for this girl (Jane), sought to comfort her and provide advice, like any good friend would do. Like a brother helping a sister, right?  Jane told Sam how much she appreciated him and his advice, and how much like a brother he was. Sam’s father warned him that his conversations with Jane could potentially be leading her on, or could lead to her becoming emotionally attached to him. Sam didn’t think so. After all, Jane had a boyfriend, and no one could fall in love merely though conversations online…right? That’s ridiculous. Plus, Sam figured, girls had never shown much interested in him in the past. How could a girl like him? They were just friends. Just a brother and sister in Christ.


What Is Love?

 “What is love? Oh baby don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me. No more.” –Haddaway

Love. This word is everywhere today–in movies, in songs, in books, and in our speech. Our culture seems to be obsessed with it. But what really is “love?” And is the love our culture worships the same kind of love Jesus told us to have for others? The same kind of love He has for us?
If you think about it, we probably use the word love at least once every day (if not more). We say we love things: “I love donuts. I love chocolate cake. I love flowers. I love Lord of the Rings. I love my platypus stuffed animal…” You get the idea. We also say we love people: “I love my mom. I love my dad. I love my date. I love Jesus.” Is the love we have for things the same kind of love we have for people? Often it is.
When we say we “love” donuts, what does that mean? It means we really like them. We want to eat them. We want to consume them. We have strong positive feelings about them. Why? Because they taste good and give us pleasure. In other words, we like donuts because of what they do for us. Is this the same way we love people?
When we say we “love” another person, what do we mean by that? Often, it’s the same kind of “love” that we have toward donuts: the desire to consume or take pleasure in.
It seems today that love is a temporary state of bliss. People “fall in love” and then people “fall out of love.” A boy will tell his girlfriend that he loves her and then “break-up” with her soon later, and vice versa. A couple will get married, then simply fall out of love, and divorce. People are desperately trying to find “true love.” They want to experience love, but no matter where they look, or how many people they date, they can’t seem to find it. What does this all mean?
What people are looking for is the emotion of love–the feeling of love. However, the funny thing about emotions is, they don’t last forever. No feeling is permanent. Emotions are as fickle as the weather. So if love is just a feeling, then love is not meant to last forever. The best we can do is jump from one emotional “love” high to the next. Commitment is not worth it.
If we really break down the “love” we see today, we find that it is actually a very selfish phenomenon. We’re looking to feel something. We want the warm fuzzy feelings. We want the experience of “being in love.” It’s all about us. It feels good to feel strongly about another person, and it feels good to have another person feel strongly about us. “Love” today is just about filling our own needs. We completely neglect the other person. All we think about is ourselves.
We are deceived.


Singles Awareness Day?

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and of course, the internet is filled with quotes, pictures, and memes about love, romance, and relationships. Valentine’s Day is seen as a wonderful holiday…except for those who are single. How about all those poor single people who have to be alone on a day about love? So tragic…or is it?

It bugs me that people seem to treat singleness like a disease (and I’m not just saying that because I am single). Maybe some people find this hard to believe, but I’m single by choice. Our society seems to think that if you are single, you are somehow less of a person, not capable of being liked by the opposite gender, and therefore possessing no merit whatsoever. This is not so.

Then there are those singles who band together and form, “Singles Awareness Day”, on Valentines Day. Those who observe “S.A.D.” really just end up throwing little pity parties/hey I’m available hangouts.
Or, some take things in the other direction, and spitefully scorn the entire concept of love and romance. Their “S.A.D.” day becomes a celebration of the individual, and an abandonment of other people. 
In both these cases, the focus is all wrong, and it’s not about love at all, but on the self. Valentine’s Day just seems to be about celebrating your relationship status, or bemoaning it. 

Singles, seriously. Pull yourselves together. It’s not a tragedy if you’re single. And being single is far better than riding the dating roller-coaster that everyone else does in our culture—throwing themselves away to each new romantic interest. Singleness is a great and unique time of life where you can devote everything solely on God. Don’t be “S.A.D”.

So if singles can’t be S.A.D. on Valentine’s Day, then what should we be?

Well, if Valentines Day is really is about love, then it’s a holiday that is just as relevant to singles, as it is to married folk.

Love—as Jesus taught it—is willing the good of another person. It’s doing good for others even if you gain nothing. Doing good even if it hurts you. Love is sacrifice, and everyone needs to have love, and practice the love that Jesus practiced.

Valentine’s Day is for singles too.

So, this Valentines day, don’t focus on your relationship status, don’t be S.A.D. Instead, focus on Christ and His love. Be reminded of the incredible sacrifice He made for us, and be inspired to sacrifice for others!

Have a happy Valentines Day, and find someone to love!