Friday, July 21, 2017

The Wait, Part 3: The Hook-Up on REALationships (feat. Bruno Mars' "Marry You")

I've been thinking about marriage a lot lately. I'm not necessarily ready to get married right this second, but it's been on my mind heavily in the past couple of months. On my 23rd birthday last month, I shared my views on abstinence, and I've also discussed how to stay encouraged while God has you on reserve. In this installment of "The Wait," I'd like to speak to something that troubles me. This is "The Hook-Up."

Image source: Inner Bonding

Since I knew I wanted this post to be about marriage, I took some time to try to think of some songs about matrimony. One of the first tunes that came to mind was "Marry You" by Bruno Mars, from his 2010 album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans. I was 16 when this song came out and I absolutely LOVED Bruno Mars. I still do. I remember riding in the car blasting it at top volume and belting, "Just say I dooooo-ooooo-oooo-oooo!  / Tell me right now, baby!" It was so catchy, one of those songs that made you feel happy inside. "Who cares, baby? I think I wanna marry you!" Yes, I still remember all the words. But I'm not 16 anymore. Back then, I wasn't thinking about marriage. Re-visiting that song after I've lived a little more life has caused it to take on a whole different meaning for me: a not-so-happy one.

Bruno Mars - Doo-Wops & Hooligans (2010) album art / Amazon

The song opens with the chorus:

It's a beautiful night, we're looking for

something dumb to do

Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you

Is it the look in your eyes, or is it this 

dancing juice?

Who cares baby, I think I wanna marry you

Right off the bat, this song trivializes marriage as "something dumb to do," and it sounds like the speaker is drunk and just seeing his love interest across the room at a club since they're drinking "dancing juice." They speak of marriage with an air of nonchalance: "Who cares, baby, I think I wanna marry you."

I know "Marry You" is 'just a song,' but this concept is disturbing when we take into account that the relationship described in this song actually happens in real life. This generation's view of love is so skewed. It's sad. Our society has been tainted by hook-up culture. We're all about instant gratification when it comes to relationships and so many other things. Emotional connection and communication isn't important anymore. Nowadays, everybody wants to skip learning about each other and go straight to sex.

The Spouse House / TLC - DCL

I was watching a fairly-new show on TLC the other day called The Spouse House, where singles are put together in a house for 60 days, and if they're not pairing up almost immediately, they get "evicted." Basically, it's 'fall in love now...or else.' I paid close attention to one couple in particular who had brief history years before the show, and a conversation they had led to one of the biggest epiphanies I've had in life thus far. The woman asked the man if he loved her. He said, "I was attracted to you sexually before the show. I'm attracted to you physically [referring to her looks], and I'm starting to be attracted to you emotionally. I'm falling in love with you." That's when it hit me. This is why a lot of relationships/marriages don't work: Men are attracted to women sexually first, then physically, and THEN emotionally. And a lot of times, they think they're ready to marry based only on sexual and physical attraction, oftentimes not even giving themselves time to form an emotional attachment at all. So they tell us women what we want to hear because most of us look at attraction first from an emotional standpoint, then physical, and THEN sexual...the complete opposite of how men approach attraction.

So when Bruno Mars sings,

If we wake up and you want to break up

That's cool

No I won't blame you

It was fun girl

He probably really means it. It was "fun" for him, because 1) he was drunk, and 2) he wasn't emotionally invested in her. Chances are, it wasn't "fun" for her, though, because by that point, she's probably developed feelings for him (at least on some level, assuming the hangover has worn off). There are so many things wrong with this picture.

Often, relationships fail because people simply aren't on the same page: One or both parties fail to clearly outline ALL the expectations they have for the relationship FROM THE BEGINNING. This is why, in my opinion, it's best to wait until marriage to have sex. Sex opens up a big can of worms, making people think they feel emotions that they may not actually feel for each other. Make sure what you feel for the person is what you truly feel in your heart, and not just how they make you feel in the bedroom.

Image source: Pinterest - Loveless Galleries

I've spoken about relationship goals in a couple of posts on this blog, emphasizing that we shouldn't pay too much attention to a lot of celebrity couples because we don't know what goes on behind closed doors. I said we shouldn't look at couples like Ciara and Russell Wilson, Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin, etc. and think that what they have is perfect, because it probably isn't. While I don't think it's healthy to idealize these relationships and try to emulate them in every aspect, I think it is okay to look at what they showcase on social media and pay attention to the ways they do love right. The snippets of their relationships that we see appear to be proof that the right way is the Christ way. Love works for both of these couples and so many others (Kirk and Tammy Franklin, Warryn and Erica Campbell, Travis and Dr. Jackie Greene, Willie and Patricia Moore, Jr., William and LaTae McDowell, Jamal and Natasha Miller, John and Aventer Gray...the list goes on), because they keep Christ at the center. I look at their love and take notes of bits and pieces of things I want in a relationship, everything from family values and how they pray for and with each other to how they nurture and appreciate each other's gifts. I don't want a relationship EXACTLY like any of the couples listed above because no two love stories are the same. However, there is value in seeing positive, achievable relationship goals while I wait. Here are a few of my REALationship goals:

1) I want my marriage to be a positive projection of the love my future children will deserve, in life in general and in their own marriages.

2) I want my future children to see a love that is attainable, a love that endures, but I also want them to see that love is not all fun and games. It's hard work and commitment.

And most importantly,

3) I want my marriage to be a reflection of Christ's love.

If it wasn't sent by God, I don't want it. I want something real, and I won't settle. For now, I'm content with waiting on His perfect timing.

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