So let’s just say I accidentally stumbled across some country song this week. Yes, I am an old soul. I listen to country music. Country music by the likes of Kenny Rodgers, Don Williams and Dolly Parton. I bet some of my readers do not even know who these guys were/are. In a few words, they are fantastic singers. Some of my favourites. When I say “I accidentally stumbled across some country song”, I do not necessarily mean for the first time. This concerns a song I have heard numerous times but happened to not have heard it in at least 8 months. When it played this time around, it hit differently. But what does the song have to do with this blog’s title? Well, anyone who knows anything about country music, especially by the 3 singers I mentioned above, will know that country music is full of mentions of love. Or is it?
We live in a culture called by many as post-truth. One consequence of living in a post-truth culture is the loss of some fundamental definitions. Questions such as: what does it mean to be human? What is the purpose of life? Where do we come from? And where are we headed? are but a few questions to which answers are not so readily available. Even love, this beautiful and magnificent word, has, in my opinion, lost a lot of meaning. Before reading on, I just ask you to think of the most romantic story you have ever heard? Keep the answer in mind.
Back to the song. Some lines from it states:
“Islands in the stream
That is what we are
No one in between
How can we be wrong”
Wow!!! I had just had to three exclamation points there, forgive me. But seriously, to many of us these are such romantic lines that we would die to hear someone say them to us. (Of course, not dying literally. Or so I hope). According to society’s current narrative, when two people are in love, they become “islands in the stream” and how dare anyone come between them because “how can [they] be wrong?” This is the case especially for us young people. Say you find a lovely guy or girl and butterflies start rumbling in your stomach. Your emotions overwhelm you and you fall in love. Should anyone say anything about your relationship, then they are either jealous or simply outright evil. How dare someone prevent you from being happy. You have found your missing piece and you are happy. Everyone else ought to rejoice with you or simply learn to deal with it.
However, I think two people in love or wanting to be in love should never be islands. There are many reasons why, not least of which is love can blind a person. It is extremely difficult to objectively evaluate a person when you have romantic feeling for them. If it is at the start of a relationship, we risk committing a very serious mistake which I call the involvement before evaluation mistake. This is where you get involved with someone before you critically and prayerfully evaluate that person. Need I say much on why involvement before evaluation is dangerous? Just ask a person who broke up to describe their ex. You will end up wondering how they got in the relationship in the first place. This is not to say every failed relationship results from the involvement before evaluation mistake. Rather, it is to say this mistake can lead to broken relationships.
To cut it short: if you are single and considering dating/marriage, before you romantically get involved, evaluate, evaluate and evaluate. Let people chip in to help you because by the time you start evaluating, your butterflies in your stomach might already be preparing to take off. If you already dating/married, avoid the trap of being an island and questioning “how can we be wrong?” Get other people’s counsel and let people speak into your lives. Not anyone and everyone, obviously. If you are tempted to ask “how can we be wrong?” Remember it is because you are two sinful people trying to love each other. You will be wrong more often than you think.
You might wonder why I chose a song to be my point of reference in writing this. Don’t we just listen to songs to have a good time and be merry? Well, actually not. It is Andrew Fletcher who said, “let me make the songs of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.” Songs are powerful and the sad truth of the matter is many of us live out and expect to see what these so called love songs tell us.
As coincidence would have it, I happened to listen to another interesting song this week. It was sang by a Zambian artist and is not entirely in English. Part of the lyrics say something like ‘my baby you are my Google. Everything I need I find in you.’ Well, it sounded more romantic in the song than when I type it here. But again, to most of us, that can be very romantic. For someone to stand before us, hold our hands, look us in the eyes and say that everything they ever needed, they find in us. (This would be the moment you pull out your handkerchief and wipe your tearful eyes. So romantic. Isn’t it?). Perhaps that is why divorce rates are higher than before and many people are dissatisfied with their relationships. We were never meant to find all we need in another individual. Your partner, great as they may be, won’t give you full satisfaction. The fulfillment of our needs and satisfaction of our souls can only be found in the person of Christ.
Remember your most romantic story? Does it feature two people experiencing a love greater than ever seen in the history of love? Do they have a love so strong that they will go beyond any reason and advice from well-wishing people? Do they enter in a relationship because they believe the other person is all they need? What is the foundation of their love? It is likely that the answer is yes to some of these questions.
As a final note, avoid falling in love. Anything you fall into you can jump out of. Evaluate and make an informed decision. Love is an action of the will. It doesn’t mean your love should be void of emotion. It only means it shouldn’t be led by them.