Thursday, April 16, 2009

Be There

Here's the question of the day. Who spoke the following profound words?

"There is no need to say you love me, It would be better left unsaid ...
all that I want from you is a promise you will be there."

(a) Emily Dickinson
(b) Nora Roberts
(c) Mark Twain
(d) Oscar Wilde
(e) The Spice Girls

Believe it or not, the correct answer is "(e) The Spice Girls." These are lyrics from their hit song "Say You'll Be There."

There is a powerful lesson in those words. In our society the word "love" is bantered about far too easily. We "fall in love." But we also "fall out of love." Your boyfriend or girlfriend may say they "love" you today, but that is no guarantee they will "love" you 10 years from now. You see, we have boiled love down to nothing more than a feeling. We often confuse it with infatuation, and once that higher-than-a-kite, giddy-as-a-schoolboy feeling inevitably exits, we too make our way for the exit, right out of the relationship.

The really sad thing is that this is not just true for couples who are dating. It also applies all too often in marriages. People get married because they are in "love," but their definition of love is this fleeting emotional state. They are quick to look for a way out when that feeling subsides and divorce is the inevitable result.

This is not to say you cannot feel a strong emotional attachment to your spouse. Of course you can. But a lasting love is far different from the infatuation on which relationships often begin. Shakespeare depicted this brilliantly in Romeo and Juliet. When Romeo and Juliet first meet, they are like two high school kids passing notes in class. But by the unfortunate end of the play, their relationship has grown to something far deeper.

The Spice Girls picked up on this truth. Don't say that you "love" me. What does that even mean any more? Telling me that you "love" me doesn't provide security. I want a commitment. It will mean far more if you would tell me that you'll "be there." At least that way I'll know that 20 years down the line when I need your shoulder it will be there for me to rest my head.

This is one of the problems I have with people moving in together before marriage. It's an illusion. People behave as if they are really committed to each other, but they cling on to that "escape hatch" just in case they "fall out of love" later on. Marriage is certainly not something to be taken lightly. We have to take the time to really get to know our prospective mate and prayerfully consider the commitment we are undertaking. But once you decide to make that commitment, don't beat around the bush. If you are willing to make the commitment, make it. If not, fess up to your partner and move on. To me moving in together just seems like a cop out.

Once you make a commitment, be true to your word. Don't say you'll "be there" unless you really mean it. But if you say it, do it. When the going gets tough, don't make a break for the exits. Remember your promise to "be there" and honor it. Nowadays, that promise means far more than how we have defined "love." God bless.

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