Spousal Idolatry?


Is it possible to love your beloved too much? Some hearty, sensible words on How to Love a Girl, from Bad Catholic:

"There is a tendency amongst Christians to practice what we shall call the Jesus-First Model. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, some bright-eyed girl wearing a little, silver cross informs you that 'Jesus comes first in my relationship.' Or your friend tells you, 'first God, and then my spouse. . . .' But the idea that God is frustrated that you’re loving your girl instead of Him is ridiculous."

Comments:

Thanks, Rolley! Christina Rossetti is magnificent.

Actually, even when I was a new Christian, it always bothered me that Christian songwriters apparently couldn't write love-songs to their wives, as though this was unsanctified or something.

It struck me as odd, because I kind of thought that God invented the whole thing in the first place (Gen. 2:18, 2:23-24)-- in fact, in the very first Place that ever was.
Cigar for Kevin!
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Kewpie doll if he’s a non-smoker / non-chewer.

Autographed copy of Dorcas and Nimrod’s “Memoirs”* if he’s not into cigars or dolls (which frankly, I rather suspect).

Anyway, great find, Kevin; thanks for sharing!
--
*Excellent for wrapping fish and freezer meats in.
Rossetti sonnet
Just happened to see this one two days ago, and it seems quite relevant to this topic. It's from her Sonnet of Sonnets, 14 love sonnets:

Trust me, I have not earned your dear rebuke,
I love, as you would have me, God the most;
Would lose not Him, but you, must one be lost,
Nor with Lot’s wife cast back a faithless look
Unready to forego what I forsook;
This say I, having counted up the cost,
This, tho’ I be the feeblest of God’s host,
The sorriest sheep Christ shepherds with His crook.
Yet while I love my God the most, I deem
That I can never love you overmuch;
I love Him more, so let me love you too;
Yea, as I apprehend it, love is such
I cannot love you if I love not Him,
I cannot love Him if I love not you.
Clarifying
I want to clarify my statement. Love, as an abstract concept of a pop phenomenon, is not synonomous with God. The love of which John speaks is that which is defined and personified by His very Essence; only His character can give rise to the genuine article. All other expressions are simply the imperfect idols which we create.
You Are All Correct, of Course…
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…but it occurred to me that perhaps the statement

“love is God” (which I agree is false if, by “love” we mean merely the phenomenon of common experience)

*could* be rendered true by capitalizing “Love”, if, by capitalizing it, we signify Love Personified. (I guess I have in the back of my mind Michael Card’s lyric, “Love-crucified arose”).

Anyway, I *think* that works. But I’m not going to be duckmatic about it.
Agree with Ellen
Not all love is God (with or without the capital)...in fact, the "love" of money is the root of all evil! How tiresome it is to hear people say (including people old enough to know better!), "But we looooove each other!" as though the (highly questionable) love they feel for each other trumps God's Holy Law.

God is Love, and as Love, will surely lead us to those loves that satisfy His plan for us. But "love" is NOT "God".
"I'd extend that to marrying someone who doesn't share with you a wholehearted commitmen to following God"

Only one person in history had a wholehearted commitment to following God.
I prefer
But love is not God, even though God is Love.
Love vs. "love"
I agree that the ultimate love (agape) in its truest form is synonomous with the Nature of God. However, we have to work at stressing this, since the precision of the Greek terms has been negated by our generic and sometimes innocuous use of the word (ala Tom T. Hall, years ago). Too often love, like faith, God, etc. are stripped of any content and used to manipulate people.
Good and Valid Points, Kelvin
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Well said.

And just for clarity’s sake, my pithy remark was not intended to imply a position contrary to or incognizant of your excellent balancing statements. (It is exceedingly difficult to cover all nuances of an argument in a bumper sticker-sized formulation).

Speaking of bumper sticker theology, here’s one to chew on:

The statement “love is God” is false, but the statement “Love is God” is true. (“Love” is capitalized in the second instance).

Thoughts?
Instead of...
A healthy relationship will enhance and be enhanced by one's love for God. But if "you're loving your girl instead of" God, God isn't going to look kindly on that. Frustrated? Well, I'm not sure that's the word I'd normally use to describe the situation. But God does have some pretty serious comments about anyone who puts anyone or anything ahead of him.

How might that look? Well, certainly one example is intentionally marrying an unbeliever. And I'd extend that to marrying someone who doesn't share with you a wholehearted commitment to following God in all aspects of life. Because inevitably you're going to be dragged down (or held back) by the less committed partner, and it's going to hinder your ability to serve God.

Marriage is hard enough when you share the same goals. I don't want to think what it would be like to be married to someone who had different fundamental purposes for living.

Love is good, properly placed. But love is not God, even though God is love.
I Have to Agree
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The overarching principle here, I think, is: you cannot fulfill the first great commandment (loving God) without fulfilling the second one (loving others as yourself). Cf 1 John 4:20
Two things must be remembered. One is that every Christian is in a growth stage. The other is that love of God is not as easily butressed by instinctive emotion.




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