From very early on in our lives we are taught not to look for love in the wrong places. As girls we are told that our self worth shouldn’t be attached from what a man thinks of us and we are encouraged to love ourselves before we go looking for love. It’s funny because concepts like ‘loving yourself’ are never really explained and so people internalise this very differently.
Does it mean treating myself to that Mulberry bag that I’ve wanted for years?( I’ve literally wanted this £800 bag for so long I’m not even sure why I really want it but I just can’t justify spending that much on a bag, (no judgement if you can))
Does it mean putting yourself first? This one is really a yes and a no, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t depending on if you’re listening to camp “you deserve it,” or team “the world doesn’t revolve around you”
Maybe it means doing the things your future self would approve of? The health fanatics would justify their gulping of kale-filled green smoothies as loving themselves and so could those burning the midnight oil in the library for that qualification that might just change their lives.
Either way, I am none the wiser as to how best to ‘love myself’ and by the time we reach our twenties, the concept seems to become less and less important as we focus on finding someone else to be loved by. So much so that people are willingly volunteering in their thousands to take part in the social experiment ‘Married at first sight.’ I have been glued to the screen watching the USA version of this show and every episode I am in utter disbelief by the idealistic views of marriage and that people can feel so ‘ready’ for marriage without having ‘fallen in love’ or connected with someone, in the hope that marriage will bring them the love and unbreakable connection they strongly desire.
For those of you that don’t watch the show I shall explain. Thousands of applicants apply to the show in the hope that they will be found a partner that is their ‘perfect match’ by a series of experts, to be precise- a clinical psychologist, a sociologist, sexologist and spiritual adviser. Once they are matched (there’s 3 couples per series) they get planning for their wedding, first meeting their mystery other half at the alter. The couples are given 6 weeks to make their story a happily ever after as the nation watches in wonder. Madness. I know. More interesting than the concept #shoutout to the producer for such an intriguing show are the hopeful contestants and their ideologies about marriage. Frequently used lines:
‘I’ve achieved everything I want to in my career, the only thing missing is marriage’
‘I see the marriage of [insert parents or grandparents or friends] and I want that for myself’
‘I have so much love, I just want to share that with someone’
I’m not against marriage (quite obviously) I just find it interesting that people assume it will solve their issues of loneliness and help them find an outlet for all this love they have to give. You can be lying next to your husband and feel lonely and you will not always be in the mood to show them love and affection, because like all humans, your spouse will make you laugh and cry and sometimes you’ll feel like hugging them and other times giving them the silent treatment because they’ve upset you. Such are relationships.
If you’ve read a post before you’ll know where I’m going with this… there isn’t a marriage shaped hole in your life and it just isn’t wise to assume that the beautiful institution we call marriage will ‘complete’ you, because like all things, once married you will find something else in your life that needs fixing, and desire that.
I love my husband probably more than I love myself but I can be simultaneously head over heels in love with him and completely empty on love for myself because like it or not, no-one can love me like Jesus can. There is nothing my husband can do to give me that reassuring completeness that Christ does and I hope that you will not fall into the trap that so many do of thinking that your spouse can.
Falling in love is lovely and marriage is a beautiful symbol of that, but the love of God…that’s sublime, incomparable to anything humans have to offer, and a relationship with God is quite frankly the only relationship that we should desire with every ember of our being. I may be married but I will always be seeking God’s love and affection.
Love you loads