Inside the romance story genre, you will find an underlying principle. The protagonist falls in love with another after he/she feels incomplete.
“I need you more than you need me.” – “Love and Other Drugs”
This principle guides the ambition of the characters and ultimately the entire plot of the story. The romance story exists because these characters are incomplete and seek to be made whole in one another.
“I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me … everyday.” – “The Notebook”
In the book of Judges, you will find such a romance story. The main character is Samson: muscle-bulging, long-haired and masculine to the max. Samson is born miraculously to a devout Israelite family, and from an early age, he is set apart for God’s work and great things. But Samson has a problem – he has a thing for foreign, forbidden ladies. His romance story begins when he goes against his father’s wishes and marries a woman from Philistine, Israel’s sworn enemy.
This romance story becomes a famous crisis when Samson’s relationship with Delilah compromises his vow with God. But the most worrisome romantic plot point in this story is found in Judges 16:1. After Samson successfully leads God’s people in peace and prosperity for 20 years, he makes a fateful error on an out-of-town trip: “One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went there to spend the night with her.”
Why does Samson always make the same mistake? Underneath the surface, Samson feels incomplete. His relationship and covenant with his God (who is the source of his strength) leaves him wanting more. Samson believes that he can be made whole in the arms of another person. This principle gets Samson into so much trouble. His life is in danger. He struggles with anger and brokenness. And ultimately God redeems his life, but not after great cost.
Can you find fulfillment in another person? Can your lover complete you and all your insecurities? Does romance make you whole?
Your life can only be made complete by the God who created you. Your holes can only be filled by the God who made the holes. You are made whole in a loving relationship with God, through Jesus Christ.
Consider Paul’s words to the church in Colosse: “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority” (Colossians 2:9-10 NLT).
Shane Bengry is the lead pastor of John Wesley Free Methodist Church in Indianapolis.