“Fantasy is what people want, but reality is what they need, and I’ve just retired from the fantasy part.”– Lauryn Hill http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vc3X3Pcxhis
I was reading in the Message Bible yesterday and was struck by one of the Introduction sections. I read it several times before I finally understood it.
It said, “The life of faith has to do with the glories of discovering far more in life than we ever dreamed of; the life of faith has to do with doggedly putting one flat foot in front of the other, wondering what the point of it all is.”
It made so much sense. And it applies to all of life. The polarities of faith and of the highs and lows of life are quite evident and often leave us at a loss. Why did I do that and feel awesome and then do it again and feel awful? Last time I went through that experience, it was one of the best times of my life, and this time when I went through it, I couldn’t wait for it to be over. There are unexplained polarities in our lives.
And these polarities exist in our relationships with one another as well.
When walking out a life of faith, we may experience a mountaintop experience with God. Sometimes, I think we feel that when we have that kind of experience, then we must be doing something wrong if we aren’t always feeling that way. We feel that is the way it should always be. But that simply isn’t the reality of the human experience. The reality of the human experience is that a good chunk of it will simply be mundane, everyday life.
And that is what exists in a relationship too.
Oftentimes people will bounce from one relationship to another, one roommate to another, one marriage to another because… they had an experience that was really good, they had a great “feeling” but then the mundane realities of everyday life set in and it didn’t seem “right” or good anymore. Because rather than basing that relationship on the everyday part of life, we often use the mountaintop experience as the measuring point.
To speak to boy/girl relationships specifically, I think this is a grand reason why relationships fail and why relationships aren’t happening.
To be in a relationship is to be in the “mundane” per se. I know that’s not an exciting word but the commonplace is where the day-to-day realities of a relationship exists. Out of a relationship, the possibilities of boys and girls are endless and one can do and live how they please per se. Within a relationship, one simply walks out life with that person under a commitment to each other.
And I think many singles have a tendency in preferring the unknown because we can make up our own fantasy world rather than living in the beauty of reality. So when one enters a relationship, and the feelings go away, they look for another relationship where those feelings exist.
I think we are often looking for someone that we have great “feelings” for and we expect those feelings to linger forever. But they don’t. (I’m not saying they won’t be there to the end but there are inevitable ebbs and flows and at some points in a relationship/marriage, you simply have to choose).
So we go from relationship to relationship hoping for the feeling to last. And God forbid that feeling lead to a marriage and then go away. This is why the Bible is so adamant on a marriage being equally yoked (of the same faith) and one where character is highly exalted and charm is found deceptive. Because it knows the hollowness of a feeling and when that runs out or has a lull, what you are left with is reality.
The Message Introduction goes on to say about this, “Neither cancels out the other; neither takes precedence over the other. We become convinced that God blessed the best that human experience is capable of as we read in the Song of Solomon and we recognize the limits inherent in the human experience as we read through Ecclesiastes.”
The joy and pleasure of a marriage will undoubtedly be a mountaintop experience and the realities of a marriage will undoubtedly be everyday living. Neither cancels out the other; neither takes precedence over the other. God has blessed them both. And it is up to us to find the joy in both.
Because when the feelings run out… when the mountain top is over… you are going to want to be with someone who is AWESOME and not someone who you had an awesome experience with.
As a wise Rockey and Peggy Sagers told their young son Dan, “You want to find someone who you really enjoy being around in all situations, because much of marriage is about simply being together during day-to-day life.”