Preparation: Morals Lessons From George Eliots Middlemarch?
Heaven Ministries ©
Many of the nineteenth Century period books and
masterpiece theatre movie classics give Christian people valuable moral
lessons in how to conduct relationships with the opposite sex. They show
many examples of what happens when we give our heart to another without
any real commitment and also what happens when we rush into marriage
When we rush something that is not ready to be
rushed it establishes the wrong foundation. Getting married for the
wrong reasons is one good example of this. If we marry someone because
we think they are handsome, kiss good, and have a good job, the marriage
will most likely be asking for trouble soon after the wedding. Letís
take a look at a Masterpiece classic, Middlemarch and see what
moral lessons we can uncover for conducting our relationships with the
opposite sex today?
In George Eliotís Middlemarch, Rosamond, a
beautiful, but immature young woman became enchanted with the young and
handsome Doctor Lidgate. Her attraction for him took her away from
everything else, and consequently, she gave her heart and emotions away
to this man. Because of her strong desire for this man she felt it was
time for her to get married. Her father however, was against the
marriage from the beginning because Dr. Lidgate did not yet have an
established medical practice.
Lidgate was still experimenting with new medical
discoveries and money or status was not such a high priority to him as
it was to Rosamond and her father knew this. Rosieís father knew his
daughter loved having nice things, beautiful jewels, big London
apartments, fine clothes and expensive furniture. And her father
objected to the marriage. But Rosie allowed her emotions to lead her
heart and did not see how incompatible she was to Lidgate. Rosie did not
listen to her fatherís warning.
Lidgate, an aspiring doctor with lots of potential,
was a respected man among the community; he often healed the poorer
class of people for free, and he was not financially prepared for
marriage, especially to a lady with such high society tastes as
Rosamond. Rosamond also cared too much about high society appearances
but Lidgate was too absorbed in his medical experiments to really care
too much about the pompous upper class of England.
Lidgate was in passionate desire for this young
lady and he gave away his affections to her even before a commitment was
made! This was almost unheard of in this era and in the English formal
society. Rumors begin flying around the circles of society about Lidgate
and Rosamondís affections for each other, which was regarded as very
Hearing all the rumors, Lidgate realized that he
let his emotions get the best of him and that he was bound to Rosie
because he did give away his affections. Today this would be called
flirting and arousing passion in one another. Lidgate realized he had no
choice but to marry Rosie or they both would bear reputations of immoral
unworthiness, meaning no one else would want to marry them.
Moral Lesson: Do not arouse passion and lust
in one another without commitment to marriage. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7
The marriage was a disaster from the beginning
because they were constantly fighting about money and status. Rosamond
often demeaned Lidgate and his position as a doctor; remember now he was
not making much money because his love of helping others was something
he did for free. But all Rosamond cared about was looking good in
society and having many nice things.
Lidgate wanted to please Rosamond and consequently
they went into debt. Lidgate and Rosieís differences in values and
principles were damaging the marriage considerably. In fact when the
loans could not be paid off and the furniture, china, and some of the
jewelry repossessed, Rosie became hysterical. Lidgate said they needed
to move into a smaller, less expensive flat but Rosie behaved childish
and rebellious towards her husband causing a huge rift between them. She
cared more about what people will think than supporting her husband and
caring about his feelings.
The marriage was wrong between the two from the
beginning. This story, written by George Eliot is just one of many in
that era that show us excellent principles and moral character lessons
that Christians can apply into their daily life today.
Doctor Lidgate and Rosamond valued money in
different ways. Rosamond allowed money to dictate her personal
happiness. She was so concerned with appearances that she could not
understand the ramifications of what she was doing to her marriage by
ignoring her husband emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Lidgate
on the other hand was only concerned about her happiness and is why they
went into debt in the first place. They both rushed into marriage and
did not really know the character and personalities of each other.
The point is when we allow our emotions to take the
lead in our relationships we donít see the differences in beliefs,
values, and principles that we may have otherwise noticed had we left
our emotions in check, prayed about it and waited on God. Emotions of
desires, lust and passion will cloud our vision of seeing the true
character of someone, as what happened with Lidgate and Rosamond. They
differed in important values that affected them in negative ways
throughout the marriage.
Itís important to note that in this particular
story, Rosamondís father did notice that his daughter and Lidgate were
incompatible and he told Rosamond to not marry Lidgate. The father had
insight that Rosamond did not see. This is often true today and is why
young single Christians should involve their parent(s) in their
relationships and get parents blessing to continue in relationships that
have a commitment to marriage. It may seem old fashioned but the
principle is wise and should not be disregarded for young people today.
For more about George Eliotís Middlemarch click
here for movie review. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108858/