Keep the Grey out of Valentine's Day

I promised myself I wouldn't fall into the trap of opining on "that movie." But this morning I was listening to a news program where several conservative women were discussing the pros and cons of living together before marriage. And let's be clear: living together means enjoying sexual intimacy as husband and wife without a marital commitment.

One woman pointed out the obvious financial advantages to sharing expenses, but was quickly reminded that breaking up was actually harder since there was no formal marital agreement, and thus, no legal process for splitting assets. It gets messy. 

There were several other suggestions as to why living together before marriage was a good thing. In fact, one woman couldn't believe anyone would becoming legally bound with another person until they had first lived with them long enough to be sure it would work. 

I was pleased to hear the majority of the women speak against living together, however. They cited the insecurity of becoming so emotionally involved without a real commitment. They went on to list several other reasons why cohabitation just wasn't the way to go.

Here's what pained me: Not once did anyone make mention of the moral issue surrounding pre-marital physical intimacy. No one mentioned God's view of marriage. Not one word was spoken about the morality of living together much less how God views such an arrangement.

Here's what I learned: Those who still think America is a moral nation are socially sleepwalking. What's more, Christianity it no longer even close to be the majority view in our country. Face it, we are in the minority, and it is time we understand this will mean a different strategy than the "let's bring America back to Jesus." What is needed are strong, courageous, and winsome voices that don't assume the high ground, are intelligently prophetic, and are unafraid to meet dissenting opinions in the marketplace of ideas.

Here's where I live: It's Valentines Day once again, and I will be spending it with my amazing wife, who also is my best friend, dearest companion, and the one who completes me beyond anything I could ever imagined. We played by the rules before marriage, and we continue to believe that what God has for us down the road of obedience is still our best option. We celebrate 38 years later this year, and every year has gotten better and better. 

Here's what I know: Marriage isn't about compatibility. It's about covenant. It's not about chemistry, or sexual heat or anything else that our world seems intent on bringing in as a suitable substitute for loving commitment. 

Marriage is a solemn covenant we enter into before the face of the God who invented it in the first place, and now invites us into a union that can't be manufactured without him no matter how much chemistry and physical attraction we can work up. 

Over the next few weeks America will be asked to believe that degrading sexual adventuring can satisfy the hole in our souls when it comes to relationship. "That movie" is to covenantal love in marriage what salt water is to a pure, fresh alpine stream. Both promise to quench your thirst, but one actually increases a desire it can't meet while slowing rotting your insides. 

So, as I celebrate Valentine's Day with my sweetie, I will also mourn for those who think physical pleasure can ever satisfy the spiritual longings of the heart. We were created by God to bear his image in this world, to live in relationship with one another reflecting his love and truth, and so to find contentment, purpose, and hope. In short, our lives are meant to sync with God's grand design.

Sadly, those who prefer to live outside the lines God has drawn will never find real peace. Their lives can't sync up with God, and while they know deep down something is drastically wrong, they refuse to admit life isn't grand. They will fight to live on their own terms, ever chasing new levels of unrighteous excitement as the current ones fail to satisfy their longing. And so they will run after the newest thrill, demanding larger and larger doses of it until they are forced to indulge themselves in the outrageous, degrading and soul-emptying corruption hides in the shadows of our culture. 

Only now it is on the big screen, and it is so sad that our neighbors will flock to watch two young people do what we all pray our sons and daughters will never, ever attempt. 

"That movie" takes our national shame and puts it up in lights. It projects onto the big screen our national dysfunction. It shouts down any thought of moral decency while championing sexual deviation. And it is brought to us by the same Hollywood elite that hypocritically claim to be leading the fight against the degradation and exploitation of women. 

Yes, this isn't Kansas anymore. And the Dorothy days of America are long past. But there is good news. Our lives can find real meaning. Our story can sync nicely with God's story, and we can know love and forgiveness that comes wrapped in purity, faith, and hope. It's found in Jesus. He is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. And certainly no grey. 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at