It seems so elusive these days. It’s been trivialized, bastardized, and forgotten. Mainstream media paints a distorted, ego-centric, haphazard picture, planting the seeds for misunderstanding to a new generation. It recently dawned on me that when it comes romantic interactions between men and women, at least in the scope of contemporary western society, that what’s become acceptable seems to be so tragically detached from any authentic form of love. Today’s music is laden with insubstantiated notions of affection. Look at any “reality” show on television that deals with relationships and what you’re most likely to find is shallow codependence, child-like tantrums, blatant insincerity, flagrant aggression, immature game-playing and staunch selfishness. This is love? According to Love and Hip Hop, yes.
But maybe that’s just it. Maybe love has become an absent, or perhaps secondary factor in these interactions. What is strikingly apparent is the audacious prevalence of sex being repeatedly pummeled into our senses, which in the minds of impressionable youth, can be a harmful thing. Hearing my husband’s 16-year old nephew express his disdain for marriage is surprising, if not saddening. He seems to be taking his cues and finding positivity in the type of behavior indicative of the shameless adults playing kids on Jersey Shore and thinks it’s “gross” that Carl and Nellie from Up, spend thier entire lives with one another (the aging montage gets me everytime). Because apparently true love is arduous, painful, boring and unrewarding in the short-term.
Today’s messages devalue the idea of monogamy, because you can’t just have one. We overvalue superficial attributes, because, of course it has to look good. We place unrealistic expectations on each other because our happiness depends on that person. We’re being set up for disaster. The reality is that in the end, lust leaves you lonely. Co-dependence leaves you fearful. Tactics limit you. Nothing worth having comes easily. It takes some selflessness, honesty and openness (a.k.a bravery) to whatever outcome may be, whether preferable or not. It takes some awareness to realize that we are not perfect, and all that glitters is not gold. All these external values—money, vigor, looks—that we place on one another is like a fog that covers up the truth. We’re missing out.
And of His Signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you might find peace of mind in them, and He put between you love and compassion.
Chapter 30, verse 21 of Al-Qur’an
(Originally posted in 2013)