Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Musings on Pride and Prejudice

Most people look at Pride and Prejudice and simply see a sweet love story. In truth, that’s how I saw it from just the perspective of the movie. Yet, upon reading the book I have found that it goes far deeper then that.

Pride and Prejudice is simply a story of well... pride and prejudice. (Wow... I know... I was able to figure that out. Three cheers for Olivia!) It shows the folly of making hasty judgments, that people are not always as they seem, and that there is almost always more then what meets the eye. The lesson to be gleaned from reading the book is that being humbled can be just what we need and to carefully guard the premises on which opinions are made.

Personally, I found the book to be in one word: refreshing. Something about that time so long ago when things were so different… where women were generally treated with respect, where there was public dancing that was the cool kind, where people drove carriages and would walk to places, and when you would go to visit people for extended periods of time and it was nothing but normal. It was a time when things were simpler and people weren’t always hurrying from one activity to the next mindlessly, but they enjoined each other’s company and staid busy in the most peaceful sort of way. To step back into that time through the eyes of Jane Austen was delightful.

Another difference in the time that I did not notice until the end of the book was that the physical expression of romantic love was never expressed by so much more then the looks in their eyes. No mention of so much as characters holding hands was so much as hinted at and in a world where even the “Christian” romance talks about the physical side, it was missing here. Love was shown through words and actions and at times the expressions on your face. The endearing happiness and success of a marriage did not depend on the fact if they were a good kisser, and in an over sexualized world, it’s again in a word, refreshing.

In our culture no one so much as bats an eye when hearing of a couple living together before marriage. It happens so often that even Christians simply go “it’s sad” then move on. Yet, in the culture of England in the 1700s, the idea that a couple had run away together and were not to be married was a sure way of bringing shame and ruin unto entire families. It was talked about with the highest feelings of disgrace and disapproval and even pity. It struck me as an bold difference and as a single of how far our world has come from the days where immorality were disgraceful and purity a crown.

I love how the books talks about how the love between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, especially on Elizabeth’s side, was not one of love at first sight but as Jane Austen would put it, the affections were based off of gratitude and esteem. There was a sense of admiration, especially to Mr. Darcy’s feelings for Elizabeth that was not lust but instead the highest esteem for her as a person, particularly her sharp mind and playful spirit.

I do believe that the reason why so many have fallen in love with Jane Austen’s most famous novel is for two major reasons: one, it portrays a beautiful love story. And two, it takes us back into a time that is so different from ours that we are curious and entranced by it. The beautiful writing style of Jane Austen, her vibrant characters, intricate plot, and talent for storytelling has won hearts, including mine.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Love Him: Series Conclusion

All our rambling about honoring our future husbands boils down to one simple thing: love him. It’s not about a list of dos and don’ts. It’s not about following a set of rules either. It’s about the concept of striving to start a love story before we even know who we’ll marry. It’s that idea of instead of putting our efforts into short term relationships that are self focused and over dramatic, to instead invest in a future romance between not only you and your future spouse but also your heavenly Bridegroom.

Is it easy? No. But will it be somehow magically be easier to honor our husbands once we are married? No. It will always be hard and we will always be learning, but the rewards are worth it.

So what if marriage isn’t in God’s plan for you? What if He has singleness in store for you? If that is the blessing we receive from God, then these concepts will not go to waste even then. Is a person at loss for guarding purity, maintaining boundaries in male-female relationships, being careful about what you allow to enter your mind, and building character just because they are destined to be single? Absolutely not! Part of our goal in doing these things are not just to honor our future husbands, but also to obey and glorify God; and that isn’t something that only people who are going to get married can do.

I would be disappointed if someone came away from reading this series and simply did the things we have mentioned without emotion and passion. Personally, I would rather people not do anything then to do things just because “well, it sounds like it might be a decent idea” and not out of a heart that is filled with love and is ready to pour that out through action.

Our whole series comes down to this: show God and your future husband your love by how you live your life. Live in a way that would make them proud. And do this out of love