Romantic love is not what it used to be. That's for sure!
There have been 3 huge changes in the romantic message, leaving most people not knowing what to say or how to think when it comes to romantic love.
I have studied love and romance for 14 years. What I found was 3 surprising ways romance has changed in the 21st century that everyone should take note of - and here are a few tips on how to cope in this new era.
Up to the late-20th-century the Christian Romantic messages of love were:
As a man in the early-1900s, I would have reminded you of your feminine beauty and how no woman can ever match such inner and outer perfection. I would have always felt, and rightly so, unworthy of your love.
I would have told you how I will always be there to protect you as a dutiful husband should, including my going to war. I would have demanded that your place is not on the battlefield, where men show their valour, but at the rear, or home, tending to others or keeping the home fires burning for our children and me.
I would have told you how we are one in spirit, and our souls will never be apart in this life and beyond in Heaven. We would affirm that God brought us together, He ordained our union and will oversee our ever-together spirits in the afterlife, with Him in perfection. [more detail can be found in my book here]
Wow, how things have changed!
And even though there is a little bit of that old romanticism left in 2019, 3 massive changes are upon us.
The question is, how do you deal with these changes?
Perception of Women
Today, women want to be idolised romantically by their male lovers, but they do not want their men to be inferior because of it. There has to be 'complimentary idolisation' in romantic love because women are equal to men.
In Jessie J's song L.O.V.E., for example, she is a lock, and he is a key, and because of their perfection for each other, they create a unique union. When replayed to her by her man, this is a very modern romantic message as their union unlocks the beauty within her and emphasizes his strength. It is his uniqueness in her eyes, and only his, that can do this.
Tip - You must recognize that women are perceived very differently today than they were last century. That perception is by both women and men alike. They are no longer beauties on pedestals. Women are complimentary and equally perfect.
Women do not want to be stereotyped as vulnerable damsels in the way they were last century and before. They are not weak, they do not faint at the sight of a shadow on darkened curtains and they are not prone to hysteria when mentally or emotionally challenged.
Tip - Recognize that many women embrace their femininity as damsels in a romantic sense, but they reject any sense of vulnerability. Romantically, women are proud of their strength in the 21st century and embrace the hard won battles of those women who sacrificed their freedom for others to be recognized as invulnerable.
Religious influence in the modern romantic relationship is much lower today. There has been a move away from conservative values across most of the west where attitudes toward family type, sexuality, family planning and the afterlife have reshaped the romantic message.
Tip - Understand that for many lovers, God has a lot less to do with bringing couples together, holding them there, controlling what goes on in the bedroom and what lies ahead beyond life.
Returning to Jessie's song, she shares a second, but subtle, aspect of modern love. Jessie is a lock, female, and he is a key, male, making their union sexual, and yet, there is no suggestion they are married, or shame in their suggestion of sex romantically.
All modern romantic films and songs show couples who are falling or fall in love as sexually active. They tell you, you cannot love romantically unless you 'make love'. An example of a question on my 'Ask Cam' blog page here shows how sex today is so openly commonplace.
One hundred years ago sex was a very private thing and something usually practiced within marriage, not during the dating phase of a relationship. As this was the case, romanticism back then excluded sex. Moreover, sex before marriage was taboo.
The addition of sex to modern romanticism has no only fundamentally changed the romantic message, it has changed other elements too. Last century, for example, fusion was not a sexual act. Fusion was spiritually imaginative. Lovers were forever soulmates - two hearts beating as one. They sought to imagine never being apart spiritually.
Fusion these days has 2 messages:
Sex, therefore, has become a strong message in modern romantic messaging.
Watch most modern romantic films from the late 20th century on (Titanic or Friends with Benefits for example), and listen to songs with a sexual theme. In both, you will find making love and sexual merger. Celine Dionés song, Falling into you is a good example of sex as a merger.
Tip - sex is the biggest change in the romantic message and is the one that really brings us into the liberal romantic era. Women are free across all areas of society and that includes sexually free too. This freedom is celebrated in the romantic message of today.
Listen to Ricky Martin, I am made of you for a moment as a modern lover and how merger is key to his romancing his lover.
Here is verse 3. You can read this as a spiritual merger (lines 1-4), or a sexual one (lines 5-8).
We'll walk together
So, in conclusion...
These are all very modern, and yet popular films, songs and literature show there are many elements of early-20th-century romanticism that are still idealized.
What is thoroughly modern is, these two sets of messages are merged into a new romanticism called: Liberal Romance.
Did I Miss Anything?
Now I would like to hear from you:
Which romantic change surprises you the most?
Do you observe any other surprising changes in romanticism. Do you know a film or song that you think shows such a change?
Let me know by leaving a comment below right now.
Oh, and share this post with your Facebook and Twitter community (on the right). We all need a bit of help with love now and again.
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