Ok, so wearing black on valentines day can be a little overdramatic. But now it is tradition.
But the coming of Valentines Day gives me the opportunity to rant on the worship of romantic love in our society, and the oversexualization of love in our society in general.
I remember being in college and our professor was talking about professional boundaries in psychology, especially the boundary between counselee and counselor, and the danger of transference. One of the people in class spoke up because she thought at certain moments this boundary was unfair (I think this was at the same time Prince of Tides had come out), because what if two people were both single and consenting and it was "just love". My comment was that the most loving thing in that situation was having the convictions to stick to your boundaries and your commitment to that persons mental health.
People get their loves confused all the time. I am convinced that part of a child molesters struggle is getting erotic love and affection conflated. So when they have feelings that many of us call affection for children, the person with their loves confused goes straight to the erotic. Of course some people are also sadists and otherwise psychotically imbalanced, but I think part of the struggle with confusion about the type of love relationship you have with people.
This confusion is becoming more and more prevalent in colleges and high schools with sexual boundaries dropping now. Lets take this friends with benefits thing for instance. Does not this very phraseology betray a confusion between what it means to have just friend love, but include erotic behavior.
Now when erotic or romantic love is appropriate, it should include friend love and affection love and all that too. But when that is inverted, when friend love has erotic love without the neccesary attachments and commitments, then probability of problems is multiplied.
Right now everything called love in our society is driven by desire. We say we love our children and we say we love taco bell. We love what makes us feel good. And although love by nature wants to be reciprocated, much of what we say we love in our society are really things that we enjoy and we find pleasurable. And that kind of love is not really love at all, in my opinion. It may be a part of a love relationship at times. But it has little to do with I Corithians 13.
Now in our society, we also have this romantic love idolotry. And the worship of this idea leads to all sorts of problems.
First of all, what happens when you "lose that loving feeling". I know of a couple that got divorced because the husband said, "If a relationship is going to take work, then it is just not worth it." LIE OF ROMANTIC LOVE #1--If its not easy then it is not true love. THE TRUTH--True love is proven by the willingness to really work at it.
I have always said that soap operas and romance novels serve the same function for women as pornography does for men. They both hold up an ideal that nobody can meet in a real relationship. Romance novels imply and romantic love says that true love means that someone can be everyone for you. Not true. LIE OF ROMANTIC LOVE #2--If it is true love, then that person can meet all your wants and desires. THE TRUTH--True love is choosing to still love someone even when they cant meet your desires or expectations.
Now before you think I am this bitter, pathetic anti-romance person take a breathe. Because if I am truly honest there are times I can be a real sap.
Let me tell you a story. I went to a funeral this week for one of the older couples in the church that seems to like me a lot. George died this week, and his wife Bea shared at the end of the service. She shared that she and her husband were engaged for two years before they got married. He was in the millitary. He sent correspondence to her that she could now come and meet him, and they could get married. He sold his guitar and his watch (about all he owned) to the local pawn shop to get her a ticket to come to him. When her mother heard of his sending for her, she must of had a hard time leaving home. Bea said her mother looked at her square in the eye and said, "You better go to that man and marry him, because he is a good man and he will always put you first." Then she said, "I have been married to the man for 60 years, and I am here to tell you that my mom was right. Sometimes we had money, and sometimes we didnt. But he was a good man. He always put me first. He always put the kids first. And now he died and I miss him, and still love him so much." I am not the type of man that likes to cry, but there were tears running down my face as she shared that. Earlier in the service they shared love notes they wrote to each other when they were first in love, but also poems they wrote to each other on their 40th anniversary that were as tender as when they were courting. I was a mess. A Kleenex grabbing, sniffling, tears running down my face mess. Infact my throat is burning and my eyes are getting misty as write this. Because although it sounds very romantic, their love was more than a romance novel. It was a thing of beauty.