Humor me. Think of the last movie you watched. If it was not a war film (and maybe even then), I'd say there is a 90% chance there was some sort of romantic love in it. Romantic love is all fine and dandy, but now, think of the last song you listened to. Or the last book you read. Or the last commercial you saw. The Junior High boys are all gagging. If the media is to be believed, the single most important thing in our lives is romantic love. I’m not convinced that it is to be believed, but it certainly has influenced the way our society views Love.
Most people in college, high school, or younger have a "significant other". But even that phrase should make us pause! What ever happened to the plain-old miraculous, live out your life for others kind of love that makes everyone a significant other? Our lives should be so full of that Love and friendship that we don't need any other kind of Love to be happy. I shouldn't feel alone because I don't have a boyfriend. I shouldn't feel unloved, and I absolutely shouldn't be unloving.
Love isn't just a feeling between a boy and a girl. Love is patient and kind; Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
I think it is too small a thing to love only one other person for the rest of your life.
Now, before you assume anything, let me explain. I do believe quite strongly in the sanctity of marriage. Marriage is a good thing, should only be between one man and one woman, and should last a lifetime, Lord Willing. However, the focus of unmarried people should not be on the one other person they will love for the rest of their lives, but the hundreds of people that surround them every day that they should be loving now.
You are what you practice. If you practice the violin, you will be a violinist. If you practice complaining, you will be disgruntled. If you practice being cheerful, you will be Pollyanna. Whether you think about it or not, you are always practicing something.
It makes a lot more sense to practice something in a more relaxed environment before you have any added pressure. You don’t agree to play a violin concerto and then not practice it before the concert. “I’ll learn along the way” is not a very good performance mantra. Similarly, you don’t jump into a romantic relationship and assume to learn all you need to know about Love as you go along. It seems to be a much better strategy to practice the concerto before you get on stage.
Better to practice Love in your other relationships, before you discover your ugly selfishness in the spotlight of a romantic relationship. Honestly, I don't do a very good job of this. There are a lot of people that I don't love as I ought, so I'm going to keep practicing. My future husband, if he exists, will thank me for it.
Bridget Carroll is twenty-one years old and finishing her senior year as a vocal music education undergraduate student. She enjoys playing the harp, playing and singing Irish folk music, singing and performing with her favorite Irish band Vintage Wildflowers, singing in the opera, and occasionally writing about her life on her blog The Adventures of a Lucky Bug.