I’ve recently discovered Stephanie Drury’s painfully funny (and slightly depressing) blog, Stuff Christian Culture Likes. More specifically, she means evangelical Christian culture. But since I’m evangelical (even if, like Wesley, a high-church one), I can relate. Her blog satirizes what she perceives as the superficial, the sentimental, the clichéd, and at times the positively un-Christian aspects of this subculture. Sometimes the satire is gentle and loving; sometimes less so.
In this post, she takes loving aim at a phenomenon I’ve noticed on Facebook: the tendency of some Christian wives and husbands to share PDA (public displays of affection) in their Facebook statuses. “Sittin’ on the couch with my hunky hubby. He looks so sexy in his Eddie Bauer mock turtleneck.”
I understand the problem. At the very least, it’s a little corny. Even more, she writes,
Couples who do this don’t think that their Facebook PDA could possibly violate the intimacy of their marriage or nauseate innocent bystanders. They believe they are blessing everyone by sharing their joy. If you are part of a PDA couple who is unfortunate enough to have nauseous Facebook friends, those friends may think your need for people to be jealous of you is stronger than your marriage.
Nevertheless, I would argue that there’s something potentially good about Facebook PDA—or related phenomenon like wearing “My wife is hot” T-shirts: It may serve to helpfully remind us married couples that we are in love—or at least striving to be in love and feel in love—with our spouses. We need to continually kindle that love; tend to that love; work at making that love grow. If this sort of PDA helps with that, then by all means do it!
I heard an interview on NPR a few weeks ago with former Everybody Loves Raymond actress Patricia Heaton. She said that when you are acting as if you’re in love with someone—on TV, in film, on stage—over time you begin to feel in love with that person. (I’m not sure how I would feel about that if I were her husband!) She used this acting experience to say that in our marriages, sometimes we need to fake it ’til we make it. In other words, when we’re not feeling it—that spark, that thrill of romantic love—acting as if we do will help the feelings follow.†
Give it a try… We’re going to be dealing with issues like these in our two-part sermon series, “Love and Marriage,” which starts tomorrow.
† I’m sure that’s right. Here’s some theory to back it up. I remember in one of my psychology classes, there’s a concept called something like “auto-feedback” (forgive me; it’s been 20 years). It means that if you feel unhappy, smile. The act of smiling tells your brain that you’re happy. Soon your brain will follow, and you will start to feel happier.