Sunday, June 01, 2008
Whenever I read love poems, not a few of them have personas declaring eternal love for the addressees. Whenever I read love stories, not a few of them have characters promising everlasting passion for each other. Whenever I watch romance movies, not a few of them have themes in the line of long-lasting love. These art forms are supposed to reflect truths about the society which produce them, so it can be safe to say that indeed, love is all around. Then again, social realities seem to tell otherwise, with celebrity news filled permanently with scoops on star couples divorcing or annulling their marriages, with neighbors whose marital breakups leave a broken home, with friends saying they have had enough and the only choice is to tear the marital commitment apart. Isn’t it that the Blackeyed Peas asked before, “Where’s the Love?” If love’s lost because of the intensifying complexity of the modern times, has forever lost its meaning, too? Despite everything, I believe, love is not entirely lost in the first place, so forever is not completely gone in the second place. God, who is Himself the source of love, will never allow the work of evil to cause love to disappear altogether, so it is again safe to say that anyone still carries the chance to mean forever in the context of Christian commitment.
It is not hard to imagine that forever is increasingly becoming an illusion nowadays, with the disillusionment that modernism brought about when science and technology failed to produce its promised perfect world. On the contrary, industrial revolution alienated and dehumanized people toward one another and toward themselves, so the concept of completeness has now been somehow doubted. Challenges abound the modern context because institutions are being questioned of their authority, marriage included. Change becomes the only thing permanent in this world, so even social relations are affected by the changeability of contemporary life. It is more difficult today to carry on with everlasting relationships in the realm of the ever-changing society. What’s forever for when the liberal world has given birth to divorce and annulment and other settlements that are supposed to champion the necessity to celebrate one’s own person? Others argue that there is a need to be individualistic when the institution of marriage has gone sour. Why would the husband, the wife and, where possible, their children suffer an unproductive family when they can all split to give individual growth a chance? If maturity is supposed to be an issue here, then what must be made of the people involved whose life perspective on relationships are irreparably damaged? So much have changed, indeed. The cultural past differed in that divorce and annulment (the latter, in the case of our conservative Philippines) were not options out of marriage before. Now, the rate at which many couples split through legal means seems to say that divorce and annulment are trying to make up for the lost time. Yes, couples must be respected instead of condemned for whatever grave enough reason they have in falling out of love, but should an imbalanced commitment get in the way for attempting to sustain the marital vow of being together for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do couples part? When I come to think about it, if couples do not take their marriage oath seriously, they should have not married, to begin with. They may not know what future brings, but relationship is a constant act of carrying through until such time that no amount of works of evil, from extra-marital affairs to financial woes, should lead them to separation in the future. My parents and their parents before them and many couples I know have all tried as best they can, so I do not have any severe doubt that all relationships are naturally destined to reach an end. In other words, I still believe that love will keep “forever” alive for as long as this kind of love is lived in the Christian manner of commitment.
God’s love is unconditional, flowing eternally from His compassionate heart, so this love should be the prime inspiration of all who mimic God in His way of relating to the rest of us. For me, it should be my ultimate goal when I make my own marital commitment: to do my best in applying permanence in the love I have for my partner, for better of for worse, hoping meanwhile that my partner shares the same wavelength. As a Christian who resolves to follow all ways of Christ from His sufferance in carrying the cross to His unchanging love, I will commit with the idea of forever borne in mind. I should not be naïve that commitment may have its inherent, hurting characteristics of wrongs and disappointments but these should not stop me from loving. Even God has His enormous share of unrequited love from us, His creatures, but He continuously loves us no matter what, in times of our happiness and glory and, most likely, in times of our devastations and worldliness. Hence, God will be my model for the openness to acceptance of lifelong commitment, because my Christian commitment will never go wrong for it is founded on genuine love. Whether the love is friendly, romantic or filial, there is always a possibility that it can be forever because only a Godly commitment possesses a guarantee of standing through all tests of time.