Are Bible Stories a Good Model for Romance?
The other day, I was having dinner with a friend, and our conversation turned to examples in Scripture of romances and God’s involvement in them. My friend pointed out: “There are only two specific cases where God seems to intervene as matchmaker: Adam and Eve, and Isaac and Rebekah.”
I was reminded of that conversation this week when I read Candice Watters’ response to a reader who asked if women should be more like Ruth — who put herself out there — or more like Rebekah — who went about her business until God delivered her a husband. (Martha already wrote an insightful post on this particular question.)
All of this has gotten me thinking again about God’s role in our romances and marriages. I’ve asked before whether God cares about our specific choice of spouse or whether He leaves that totally in our hands. Personally, I believe God is a romantic. Why else would He compare His relationship to us, His church, as a bridegroom and bride? I think we miss out on something (even in the depth of our understanding of God’s love for us) when we say romance doesn’t matter, that marriage is primarily a pragmatic arrangement.
I also think our belief about God’s involvement and sovereignty in this area affects our views on other areas as well. For example, does God care about the specific children I will have? Are they specially selected to be part of our family? Or are they simply a side effect of scientific processes? I want to believe that God knows the children each family will have and has some involvement in uniquely putting together each family unit for His glory. I see evidence of this in my family of origin.
So how much should we model our lives and romantic pursuits after the examples we see in Scripture? Clearly, perfect imitation is not possible given our cultural differences. If you are a single woman, you are most likely not going to visit your love interest at the threshing room floor. If you are a single man, your father will probably not send his servant to check out your potential bride.
While it may be unwise to create detailed relationship theology based on a single biblical account, I think examining the lives of godly individuals and seeing how God participated in their lives can encourage us … and free us. God works differently in every person’s story. He made Eve for Adam. He provided a kinsman redeemer for Ruth. He introduced Abigail to a king. He allowed Esther to win a beauty pageant. He prompted Rebekah to water her future husband’s camels. Clearly, God is creative in the ways in which He brings people together. And He honors those who honor Him. Bible stories may not be the be-all and end-all of godly dating and marriage practices, but they do provide some great takeaways we can apply to all areas of life.
About the Author
Suzanne Hadley Gosselin is a freelance writer and editor. She graduated from Multnomah University with a degree in journalism and biblical theology. She lives in California with her husband, Kevin, who is a family pastor, and her four young children: Josiah, Sadie, Amelia and Jackson. When she’s not hanging out with her kids, Suzanne loves a good cup of coffee, conversation with friends, musical theater and a trip to the beautiful California coast.