(Being Speech delivered at the Valentines Program of the Single’s Fellowship of Daystar Church by Yinka Ogunnubi)
What is Romance?
By today’s definition, Romance is the expressive and pleasurable feeling from an emotional attraction towards another person usually associated with sexual attraction in our age.
In fact, the word “Romance” was originally an adverb of the Latin origin “Romanicus,” meaning “of the Roman style.” Which were more about Chivalric tales (in the vernacular style) than about love. The Roman writers wrote of the conquest of the Roman Army in flowery and often exaggerated style quite closely resembling the adventures of the Avengers in Marvel comics. It wasn’t until the 17th Century that the word “Romance” started to be used for love.
Thus our understanding of Romance has evolved from relationship that is of a classical nature to one in the modern age that includes sexuality. One wonders what we will be defining Romance in the next 100 years.
The theory of love and romance have been greatly influenced by many Greek philosophers like Plato and Socrates but perhaps the biggest influence must come from Sigmund Freud theory of the family drama. Many philosophers have come to challenge his views such as René Girard who argues that romantic attraction is a product of jealousy and rivalry—particularly in a triangular form. (Passion, intimacy and commitment)
Three Researchers in the 80s determined that romantic love is a complex emotion which can be divided into either passionate or companionate forms. Passionate love in the form of erotic / intimate love and compassionate love in the form of wanting to be together and enjoy each other’s company. They theorized that romance is often an expression of either of these two or a combination of the two. Research have shown that young college students often show a greater degree of compassionate love than married people who are more propelled by passionate love.
We can go on and on discussing the philosophers and their various theories of love and romance but this is not a philosophy class but a religious organization. At this point we must ask ourselves – What does the scriptures say about ROMANCE?
We will examine this question by looking at 5 love stories and draw from them lessons and deductions on the subject of Romance.
The first story we will consider is that of Jacob and Rachel. Some consider it one of the greatest love story ever told. The story goes that “When Jacob saw Rachel, daughter of his uncle Laban, and Laban’s sheep, he went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep. Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud.” In other words, Jacob fell “in love” with Rachel and wanted to marry her. The story goes that he struck a deal with her father to work for 7 years for her hand in marriage. As it turns out, Laban played a fast one on Jacob and brought Leah instead. Jacob though disappointed choose to work for another 7 years to marry his sweetheart. How many men would be prepared to give 14 years of their lives just to get the woman of their dreams? The moral of this story seem to be that Love i.e. Romantic Love is “Giving” before Receiving.
The second story is about David and Bathsheba. By all accounts, David was smitten by the physical beauty of Bathsheba. So smitten that he organized for the death of her husband so he could have her to himself. In this story we find the example of how passionate love can be so disruptive and dangerous. We find out that while we are free to make up our minds of what influences us in love, we are not free from the consequences of those decisions. The scripture records that David suffered terribly for his indiscretions with Bathsheba. However, it also records that David made it right. He repented of his sins, made it right with his creator, married Bathsheba and then had children of her. So much so that she became the great, great, great…..grand mum of Jesus Christ. The lesson here being that there are rules governing passion but even if broken, there is always a pathway to redemption.
Contrast this story of David to the Story of Ammon and Tamar. Ammon was David’s son who was somehow obsessed by his half-sister Tamar. So obsessed that he lured her into his chambers and there raped her. The interesting dimension of this story was the role played by Ammon’s friend Jonadab who advised his friend on how to lure Tamar (did I hear someone say “be weary of bad friends?”). The story goes that after satisfying his cravings, Ammon hated Tamar and sent her away but she appealed to him saying that the “evil he did to her was bad enough, but sending her away was even worse”. Meaning, there was still a way back to redemption if only he acknowledged (like his father David) that he did wrong and was willing to repent. We all know the consequences of that mis-adventure as it led to an insurrection which nearly made David to lose his throne.
The fourth story is that of Ruth and Boaz. This is the classic story of playing by the rules. Ruth honored her mother in law by ensuring that she obeyed her instruction concerning the way she presented herself before Boaz who in turn reciprocated. What it teaches is that there are no short cuts to love but that the path of honor, respect for rules, people in authority and modesty is key. It is the story of Ruth that has bestowed us with the greatest marital vow of today “Your people would be my people…where you go I will go”. Imagine if Ruth was alive in our age today, how would she had approach the bloke called Boaz?
The last story is the undisputed greatest love story ever told. It’s the story of how “God so loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son”. – (John 3:16). This takes us back to the first story. Jacob so loved Rachel that he gave 14 years of his life to have her. God so loved the world that He Gave his only Son. It appears to me therefore that a common denominator of Romance in the scriptures is “Giving” as a form of Receiving.
I know what some of you are thinking. But what about the writings of Solomon in the Songs of Solomon. Surely those are very erotic and passionate which in modern terms can be considered Romantic. Yes! You are absolutely right. In the Songs of Solomon we see a flowery language depicting the same chivalric writing style of the Roman’s where feelings of love are not just described but there are amplified and exaggerated. We can in fact deduce from this that though biblically, the core of Romance is Giving, there is absolutely nothing wrong in the use of flowery and something exaggerated language in describing one’s love flame. Otherwise why would God refer to sinful men and women as “His Beautiful Bride”.
Now how does this all link to Finance? (Prov 14: 1) says “A wise woman builds her home…” let me add, a wise man Build’s his home as well. When you link this to the question Jesus asked in (Luke 14:28).”who builds a house without first counting the cost”, you will realize that there is a triangular link from Romance to Marriage to Finance. The process of “Counting” is in itself an accounting task, which basically is a finance subject. Getting married is like building a house and if you want to do so, you need to “Count the cost”. This means you need to have a financial plan and respect all the elements inherent in a financial plan. That is, it must be SMART – Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound.
Allow me to give you some key facts from some research that I subscribe to:
The Financial Issues that cause spouse to worry
76% – Planning for the Future
62% – Covering Current financial Expenses
56% – Getting out of Debts
How Couples view their Relationship from a Financial Perspective
34% – Developed a financial plan together before getting married
29% – Financial Baggage is too difficult to overcome
Let’s fast forward to right here and now. Romance and Finance in 2016. I assume there might be about 4 category of people here.
- You are a teenager. Young, excited and crushing on someone. To prove yourself, you feel you need get a card or cake. You are not working. So where do you get the money? Perhaps you steal or “borrow”
- Young Adult dating someone secretly. Secret lovers. No one knows you are dating anyone. Tomorrow is Valentines. What are your plans?
- Co-habiting Couples – Those who are in University co-habiting in the name of squatting and Working class, living together.
- Those engaged to be married. Their intentions are known to friends and family.
Where is God, Romance and Finance in all of these?
One thing is for sure. The best time to start planning your Finance in Romance was yesterday. The next best time? Today.