This post is the second in a five-part series.
SEX LIE #2: Romance is the ultimate love
This sex lie is behind almost every broken heart you’ve ever known, including your own. That means that if you can see through its deception you can save yourself MUCH future heartbreak. You will also be better equipped to begin and build stronger relationships overall.
But to comprehend this sex lie we first need to understand the four different words used for “love” in the Greek. CS Lewis describes these in depth in his book, The Four Loves, but here’s a REAL short synopsis:
· Agape –This is the word used to “describe” God’s (frankly indescribable) love for us. It’s undeserved and sacrificial; which is to say it’s presented freely to the recipient, but at great cost to the giver.
· Storge – This is a love born of familiarity, best used to describe the love between family members.
· Phileo – Best known as brotherly love. In contrast to “storge,” this love describes the relationship between two close, committed friends.
· Eros – From this Greek word we get words like erotic. It encompasses everything from romance to sex.
Now God’s love (agape) is unparalleled and the love of family (storge) irreplaceable, but we need to concentrate on the latter two. If you had to choose between friendship (phileo) and romance (eros), which would you claim to be the most powerful love?
Regardless of your or my personal opinion, the unmistakable message of our modern culture is that the right romantic relationship will make all the puzzle pieces of your life fit together. It will end your loneliness, heal your brokenness and secure your happiness. Only in the arms of your one true love you will finally be complete.
No wonder so many search so desperately for their soul mate. No wonder the proclivity to sexualize close relationships has become so prevalent. Who has time for friends when your truest need is for a lover?
This sex lie alone will undermine the overall success of your dating life, and can even sabotage your marriage before your wedding day.
For starters, it’s a lot of pressure to put on one relationship (though that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from trying to make this completely unreal concept appear not only possible, but to die for). If unmet expectations are the source of much of the world’s unhappiness, then this “soul mate” myth sets you up for inevitable disappointment.
Beyond that, eros love is the result of a chemical reaction, so if your goal is romance and/or sex, you’re really just looking for a feeling not much different from a drug high. When the chemistry has run its course then the relationship is pretty much over.
In contract, phileo is about commitment. (Think Frodo and Sam from Lord of the Rings.)
A man of many companions may come to ruin,but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. – Prov 18:24
Instead of hormones and pheromones, authentic friendship is fueled by qualities like intimacy, vulnerability and honesty. Admittedly, none of those things are quite as entertaining and explosive as romance and sex, but they’re enduring.
Iron sharpens iron,and one man sharpens another. – Prov 27:17
In a healthy friendship you grow in the knowledge and appreciation of one another’s past, personality and (nonsexual) passions.
The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. – Prov 20:5
This basis of relating provides a solid foundation that, not only doesn’t dissipate like the chemistry of romance, but can actually persevere – even deepen – through internal conflicts and intense trials.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. – Prov 17:17
This is why I beg you to pursue friendship over romance. Of course friendships can go bad too, but deep, abiding phileo relationships will fill your heart much more than they will break it. And if romance just so happens to blossom out of a friendship like this, you can know that relationship will have a foundation after the feelings of love inevitably fade.
Don’t believe the sex lie that romance is the ultimate love. If you do, you’ll be forever led by feelings that are fickle and fleeting. Instead seek to establish solid friendships that can last a lifetime.