Thursday, October 04, 2007

Choice and Romanticism

Quaker Wedding by J. Walter
Quaker Wedding

“Love is a choice.” The first time I heard that I recoiled. Initially my romantically trained, fairy-tale fed imagination failed to provide any circumstance under which a choice-love could be satisfactory. What about starry moments, and love’s first kiss, and that breathless moment when you don’t just know or decide you’re in love; you feel it in the depth of your being?

Again my romanticism was being refined, sheared of its secular, humanistic trappings and built up strong and more penetratingly captivating than ever by the gentle, beneficent truth of God.

No one would ever accuse Elizabeth Bennett of being unromantic, she who in the movie (do I even have to say which version I mean?) swore, “I am determined nothing but the very deepest love will induce me into matrimony;” who could never dream of marrying simply to secure her own comfort. Oft lost among the multitude of offenses described in her rejection of Mr. Darcy’s marriage proposal, we find this stinging quote, “I might wonder why with so evident a design to offend and insult me you chose to tell me that you liked me against your will…”

A generation of passionate Americans believed that they usually loved against their will, that they “fell” in love, as though it were a snare or an unstoppable force like gravity. In his book, Family Driven Faith, which I am presently reading, Voddie Baucham writes, “What value is there in being told that someone is with you because they can’t help it?”

No wonder there is so much divorce. Not only did men and women get married because they believed it was simply the next step in falling in love; many who ended up getting divorced never experienced true love, the kind that cannot come without choice, at all. Imagine their emptiness. Without being able to express it, so many couples were internalizing the kind of offense that so rebuffed Elizabeth. She would no more commit to a marriage in which she was unvalued as one in which she was unloved. The two went together. Thus the ease with which she expected Mr. Darcy to recover.

At the happy conclusion of Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy recognizes that Elizabeth had thought him “devoid of every proper feeling.” Through his intentional demonstration of love, and not just love, but charity, he finally won her heart. He learned his lesson and came to her now not begging her to put him out of his misery by consenting to be his wife, but confessing how dear she was to him, and how much he valued her. No romantic I know finds the first proposal better than the last, or represses their sighing heart when at the end Mr. and Mrs. Darcy enter into a life of relationship and “mutual help,” as the vows say.

Love is more romantic, and more importantly, has meaning, kindness, and value in being a choice.

To God be all glory.

1 comment:

Mac.AmideDieu said...


I was reading the uhmm... the... the....

third paragraph.. fourth?

I don't know...

but it was the one right after the one that said stuff about "falling" in love.

the very first sentence said, "No wonder there is so much divorce."

and I thought to myself... out loud, with you sitting here... =)P

"I fell in love... and then bounced out of love?"

"I hit the trampoline at the bottom of the fall."

You're right, it's crazy... if people would realize what love really is... and live it, how different the world would be.

Thanks for thinking... =)

and for sharing...

perhaps the thinking shall spread... =)

and then perhaps action will follow.

Change, in our generation...

With prayers for such,

and smiles. =)

-MAC <>< =)