Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An Answer for Natasha Bedingfield

Natasha Bedingfield has a song that airs frequently enough here in Germany to be an annoyance for those who occasionally listen to Top 40 radio.

“Who doesn't look for someone to hold
who knows how to love you without being told?
Somebody tell me why I'm on my own
if there's a soulmate for everyone?”

Poor Natasha’s confusion likely stems from one or two (or both) sources: romantic comedies and the Evangelical Christian subculture.

Last year, an Edinburgh university released a study claiming that romantic comedy movies can ruin a person’s love life by creating false expectations. No kidding. When people expect things like partners who will do exactly what they want without being told, there is a problem. Most real people need communication to relate to each other, and human communication is so screwed up that even people who have been married for decades need to work at keeping good communication in their marriage.

Natasha started her career in the UK Christian music scene. So she likely has the relationship killer combination of not just Romantic Comedy expectations, but also the “God made someone perfectly designed for you” idea that is almost as dangerous. You see, those false expectations are made worse when you get the idea that there is a person out there who is half of your whole, made with you in mind.

Perhaps there is a truth to that story from God’s perspective, but it is a dangerous thing to teach people! Imagine someone who thinks that there is a “soul-mate” out there just for them. What if you met them after you were already married? What if you think you married that person, and your spouse turns out to not be perfect?

A better approach to Christian relationships is to think in terms of becoming the best mate you can be, and then not thinking that there is one person for you—until the moment you say “I do.” From that moment on, regardless of your and their imperfections—you have, maybe not a “soul-mate,” but a life-mate. The sort of ‘til-death-do-us-part-so-I-am-going-to-work-at-making-this-relationship-the-best-of-my-life relationship, not built on unrealistic expectations but sacrificial love.

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