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Being in Love
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After 25 years of marriage, my wife and I were apart on Valentine’s Day this year. Our ten-month-old granddaughter, Kira, twisted out of Dad’s grasp, fell off a bed, and fractured her femur . . . so Grandma flew out to Baton Rouge for an extended stay. (Lisa has so many frequent-flyer miles to Louisiana that the airline pilots stop by our house and give her a ride to the airport.) So lately we love each other long-distance, and that’s all right, really.

Back in November of ’79, when we first met and were “in love,” we had to be together every moment. Most dates went until 2:00 a.m. with kisses on the couch and reluctant goodbyes. But, as C.S. Lewis observes in one of his Mere Christianity essays, while “being in love” is a glorious, foggy-minded state, it is a temporary feeling, not a permanent principle. And mature couples willingly give up the giddiness for the more satisfying joy of being in a deep, abiding, mature, fulfilling relationship that endures all things and weathers fractures large and small.

He goes on to laud Christian sexual connection between husband and wife as a celebrating of true oneness, of a developed, unshakable commitment. I think about (and am ashamed for knowing about it) television characters like CBS’s fictional Charlie Harper, who selfishly seeks enough bed partners, not for just two-and-a-half men, but for twenty of them. But that kind of shallow hedonism, where you want just the physical sensation, the five minutes of ecstatic “fun” without love and caring, is, Lewis writes, a sort of dysfunctional romantic bulimia. How can anybody actually cheat themselves by wanting so little?

Daughters of Eve

I was back in my hometown of Bangkok in 2002, speaking at a prayer seminar for a Christian nursing school. It was a most pleasant week, sharing the gospel with 250 very pretty young Thai girls (all the age of my younger daughter.) When an administrator unexpectedly threw one more seminar presentation at me with five minutes of notice, I scrambled around for a topic before saying this to my audience: “You young ladies are all children of the God in heaven; you are princesses. Daughters of Eve.” Even as Buddhists, they knew enough of the Bible to recognize that metaphor. 

I went on to lament the sorry reality that they lived in one of the world’s most notorious sex-trade centers; prostitution is one of Thailand’s rampant realities. It is a common street expression on Patpong Road that an American or European visitor can purchase a bar girl “short-time” for maybe thirty bucks. A “long-time” buy, where she stays all night in your hotel room . . . well, maybe double that amount.

They sat with sober faces as I said to these feminine treasures: “The Christian faith believes that you were purchased with very expensive Calvary blood; Jesus values you so far above what they pay here in Bangkok’s red-light district. Don’t ever let anyone come along and have you cheap.”

By David Smith. Copyright © 2015 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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