Nov 29, 2009
In Love. Something Like Driving With an Opaque Windshield
I’ve begun reading The Five Love Languages. I’d heard that it’s a really good book. It’s also pretty short, so I should get through it quickly. Tragically, I’m not in a relationship at the moment, but it’s good to be prepared for that sort of thing.
On being in love
One of the first chapters in this book was on the idea of being “In love.” It confirmed something that I’ve formed suspicions about. The infatuation that we so often associate with being “in love” or with young love is a euphoric state where everything is perfect, and it lasts an average of two years. When it ends, you’re married, and you begin to wonder why you made that choice.
For myself, I believe that there is more than one woman out there who I am capable of falling in love with. Specifically, there are probably about 800 million of them. So, finding a person that I am in love with is not a major priority for me. Sooner or later, if I spend enough time with any girl, anywhere, there’s about a 63% chance that I’ll fall for her. Heck, even if I’m looking for someone who will feel the same way about me… out of the 800 million women in the world that I’m capable of falling in love with, there’s probably at least a few hundred thousand who will reciprocate.
Bah, being “in love” is simply an emotional trick to get us to have babies. I call it “infatuation.” Real love is in caring for the other above yourself, rain or shine, with blood and sweat and tears. Agape. I’m sure that you can find some puritan sermons on the Internet about it.
The real task
To me, the supreme problem to be solved is this: get a good wife. I’ve read through Proverbs enough times to realize that’s what I’m looking for. I’m not looking for a girl who I’m “in love” with, because then there would be 800 million potentials out there. Searching for “The One” is just an American myth. This isn’t the Matrix. Unless a voice from heaven should say, “Joey, this is the woman you are to marry,” I should not think I have found the One. And even then, it’s probably just the hormones getting to me. No, the one I marry is the One. And when the knot is tied, then I can say that I have found her.
So, to me, it’s all about finding someone with the same vision and same passion for God as me who will support me and enable me to be all I can be for God. And just as significantly, it’s about finding a woman who wants to be all she can be for God and who I can enable towards that end. It is about finding the person who will enable me to maximally glorify God with my life and who I will enable to maximally glorify God with her life. In the end, the one with whom we will both find utter satisfaction in God through a happy marriage.
The cruel shackles of love
However, I do not presume to be a god, not even a superhero. Perhaps if I were, I could escape the negative effects of being “in love.” However, being a mortal, I will suffer under the terrible bondage of infatuation like any other man. I call it a bondage, because I have seen it destroy lives. I have seen friends, for a girl of ill character, sacrifice all on the alter of “love.” You see, when you are infatuated with someone, your reason flies out through your ears. You cannot make wise choices. You cannot see the faults in that person. You do not realize that she is destroying your life. You abandon all other friendships because they keeping telling you: “Dude, she’s an emotionally manipulative, codependent witch.” And even though she wears a steeple hat and is followed by a raven familiar, you don’t realize that they’re right. You’re in love.
Anyways, as I ponder the effects of infatuation on my brain (due to my lack of superpowers), I realize that once I fall for a girl and get in a relationship, it’s all over. I will be utterly blind to whether she is a good mate or not. It’s like the harpy’s song of the Odyssey. Or the imperious curse. I will not be able to trust my senses… at all. So, when you are dating someone and unable to ascertain her character accurately, what in the world are you supposed to do?
Well, I suppose that number one is to maintain such a close walk with God that you are able, to some extent, to hear from Him and not be totally under the spell.
But we also have to take some pointers from Ulysses. When he was passing the harpies, he knew that he would fall under the song, so he had some friends literally chain him to the mast of the ship so that he was physically unable to go to his death. If you don’t have people to chain you to the mast of the ship, then you’ll follow the harpy’s song. What we really need are friends who will bodily tear us from bad girls and lock us in a dark room for a few months.
Well, unfortunately, the police usually arrest friends that good. And we’d probably stay in touch with her through text messenging anyways, these days.
However, maybe it would be good to have some friends around who we trust enough to actually… uhh… listen to. If everyone you talk to says a person is not good for you (and a witch), perhaps they’re right. And even if God seems to be saying that she is good for you… well, again, hormones
I suppose it is something like a blind person going out on a date. He has to ask someone else what she looks like.
The scary part about thinking of dating on the mission field is that I won’t necessarily have all that healthy community around me. I don’t want an exclusive relationship with a girl (in the sense of having no mutual friends), but if we both have no friends in Japan to start out with, I may not have a choice. So I suppose that dating on the mission field is something like playing Russian roulette. It’s a really fun game… 83% of the time. The problem is, you can’t tell which time you play will be one of those “not so fun” times. You just spin the barrel and hope that the girl you wind up married to isn’t one who’s going to totally screw up your life.
Man, an arranged marriage would make life so much easier. Why’d I have to be born American…
Well, hopefully someday God will give me the “OK” to step forward into a relationship. Despite the mortal peril, I’m greatly looking forward to that day.