Thank you for sharing about your elder son's wedding. As I read what the officiant shared, I commended the challenge made to the bride and groom to make a commitment to LOVE. It is a choice, one that needs to be re-affirmed daily. Love IS a choice!
However, I had some real difficulty in the first paragraph of the officiant's wedding service comments, aligning it to what the Bible has to say about love between husband and wife.
Here is what the officiant said:
Marriage is not a romantic ride. Forget romance. Romance is for courtship and dating, and in the days of arranged marriages, it was also for extra-marital affairs. Romance novels end with the couple getting married. Or at least they used to. Now days they end with the couple hopping into bed. But the moral of the story is the same either way - that's the end of romance. Forget romance. That's behind you.
I absolutely DO agree that love is deeper than romance. Romance is experienced continually during the wooing period of pre-marital dating. And, it certainly does not insure a successful relationship. But, listen to what Exphesians 5:25-33 says:
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it (love sacrificially, to the point of death);... So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies (love wife and cherish her as much as you take care of your own body and needs). He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:... Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
As I read the above passage, we are reminded that God created the man and the woman distinctly different in their needs. The wife needs to feel cherished and adored, while the husband needs to feel reverenced and respected. It is a shame that we understand each other so little that we have to be reminded in the Bible to respect our husbands and to cherish our wives.
Ok, so our wives need to be cherished and adored. What does that mean? I believe it means ROMANCE! (Just as a thought, ask ANY wife if she would love for her husband to "romance" her. I would imagine that you would be hard-pressed to find even ONE that didn't want this re-affirmation of her husband's love and adoration!)
I have been reading the Song of Solomon in the Bible recently. It is the most romantic and erotic book imaginable. It was written partially by King Solomon and partly by his Shulamite bride. It speaks of adoring each other and sexual intimacy (Song of Solomon 2:3, believed by most teachers of the Bible to refer to oral sex), being brought to the banqueting house with a love banner (Song of Solomon 2:4), speaking to wives about how loved, cherished and adored they are (Song of Solomon 4:9). Solomon tells his wife how fragrant she smells (S of S 4:10) and she speaks of his bodily attractiveness (S of S, chapter 5). But, even more... in chapter 3, it tells of Solomon's Shulamite bride pursuing him. This is the most romantic book EVER written!
There is a website called Romance Between the Lines (romancebetweenthelines.com) that truly grasps the concept of ROMANCE WITHIN MARRIAGE. Even their opening paragraphs of the website give proper place to romance within the context of marriage. (How many marriages have failed because each spouse doesn't take the time to plan romance that makes each other feel cherished?!)
I agree with the pastor's comments about LOVE being priority in growing a marriage. To my understanding, however, romance is a by-product of REAL love within marriage. I believe that even God proves romance is important. After all the greatest love letter ever written is called The Bible, which is God's romantic love letter to us!