Fake Love And Emotional Porn

fake love, valentines day, love, life

I've never been a fan of Valentine's Day. In fact, every single year I tell my husband, "Please do NOT get me a card or flowers or chocolate. Just love me the same way you usually do."

In other words: "If you don't live like you love me all of the other 364 days of the year, please don't fake it on the 365th."

And before you label me a cynical pessimist, please understand that my distaste for the day actually has nothing to do with with a distain for love. Oh I'm a sucker for some good, real love. My reasons have more to do with the war on the reality of true love I feel the holiday creates.

Besides the obvious ridiculousness of the marketing strategy the holiday has become, Valentine's Day focuses on, even idolizes a skewed version of romantic love. It is the reason I've come to have a distaste for many "chick flicks" and some of the same reasons I could write an entire book on how damaging it was to our culture that literally millions of VERY unwise women lap up novels such as "50 Shades of Grey" like they are literally bored out of their freaking minds with their own love life.

Most love stories and marriages portrayed in chick flicks, sitcoms and romance novels are deceptive in the way they present love between a man and woman. Either they portray a love that is totally unattainable and unrealistic or one that is completely dysfunctional and raunchy.

I like to call it "fake love." 

Either the man and woman are madly in love ALL of the time and have unending amounts of sexual encounters in various places (they obviously don't have jobs or responsibilities) They never portray the real, hard parts of life and love, or the storyline centers around flirting and running around with a handful of others outside their partner and all of the drama that ensues becomes pathetically cheap entertainment for our eyes.

There is an unhealthy emotional and relational expectations portrayed in so much of our media. Is there really much of a difference in the hyperbolized sexual imagery of typical pornography and the hyperbolized momentary emotional high felt in a romance film or romantic comedy that sends us looking for a “love” that doesn’t exist?  - Relevant Magazine 

It's not new news that at least in the church world we have had a sort of awakening to the real issue of visual pornography and it's damaging effects on relationships. All the while we continue to unwittingly ingest copious amounts of unhealthy media that is literally poisoning our minds, emotions, marriages and ultimately the entire family unit is breaking down as a result. The run-off effects from generation to generation become increasingly dark and devoid of truth.

We have become a culture that is over-stimulated, over-sexed, over-romancitized and completely love starved. How ironic it is that all of those things could co-exist. It seems we just can't get enough of the kind of love we don't even possess.

I wonder how many marriages ultimately ended because what they had looked nothing like the movies or romance novels?

We tend to forget that everything in life bleeds into each other. What we regularly take into our minds, eyes and ears in particularly influences our thoughts first, then our emotions, ultimately our actions.

The same power that the lie of pornography has on a man to believe that something that isn't even real will somehow fulfill him, is the same power that leads a lonely housewife to believe that the guy in the romance novel or the chick flick is the pinnacle of womanly fulfillment, that her husband is a total dud and that she missed out when she didn't find a guy like the one in the movie. Leaving her with literally no chance at ever being satisfied with her own marriage.

Honestly, I am sick and tired of hearing women complain about all that their marriage isn't. What I want to say is, "Until two people have been intentional in putting in the hard work to experience the kind of love you are looking for in the first place, you aren't going to have it. Period."

Love is life. And life is work.

We are creating a new generation of young people who believe that love is easy. That love is finding your soul mate. We are raising up a generation of girls who are trained to be constantly on the prowl for their prince charming who will magically change their current emotional state and suddenly make them happy and fulfilled.

It's a lie.

To tell you the truth, I don't want my nine year old daughter to grow up believing that love is easy. Or that she needs a man to rescue her from her situation, herself or the disease of singleness. I want to her to know that she has the option to choose. I want her to know that no other person on earth can make her happy. I want to model a real kind of love in front of her. A love that makes mistakes and forgives. A love that has to work at it to make it work and work even harder to make it wonderful. I want her to see the entire picture, ugly parts and all. Because I don't want her to grow up and join an entire culture of dysfunctional, love warped hearts.

And although I believe we were made to long for companionship and love, when my own daughter is of the age to choose love, I want her to have arrived to that place a "whole" individual. Not one that needs any other person to complete who she already is.

We will never be successful in creating a culture like that while consuming large amounts of Hollywood's or EL James' sick versions of love. We just won't.

It's time we stop allowing ourselves to sit around, lazily indulging in emotional pornography and get our butts up and get to work building a love that last when all the other's have crumbled to ruin or just merely exist as just a subpar kind of love.

I'm not saying Valentine's Day is bad. It's that I'm wondering, "Are we really in love with love, or are we in love with fake love and emotional porn?"

I am not a love pessimist. It is possible to be single, happy and ok. It is also possible to have the kind of love life that everyone else dreams of. It's just that it looks nothing like the fake love and emotional porn found on shelves of Hollywood movies and romance novels that live in your living room.

 

Rachel Rowell  @ saltedgrace.com

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