There are two ways not to love a girl. The first is the most obvious, and hardly needs mention, but for totality’s sake, I put before you the Secular Humanist Model. This model, from every angle and direction it’s looked at, sucks. You’ve all heard it before, its maxim – anything goes between two consenting adults – and its one and only commandment – unless otherwise specified, no cheating. This relationship is interesting because it is simultaneously greater and worse than the relationships of baboons. Greater, because no baboon is held to the awesome, unwritten oath of fidelity we humans bind ourselves to. Worse, because baboons are acutely aware of the proper functions of their genitals, and use them accordingly. I’ll leave it at that. Better, because the Secular Humanist Model puts a taboo on rape. Worse, because it denies responsibility. You’ve also heard all the reasons this model is boring – the hook-ups, heartbreak, chemical bonding, contraceptive culture, abortion – it is basically a polite Use. Two individuals use each other for their mutual benefit, and then go on there less-than-merry way. (Do I generalize? Of course.)
My main problem with this model of loving a girl is that it is not loving a girl. It’s a business proposition. The girl usually holds the cards, sure, and the guy is usually the bargainer, which is better than it might be, but is that love? Emotional fulfillment can be happily traded for pleasure, but is that everything? Is that the desire of our hearts? The Secular Model seems to take it’s inspiration from the pop song that cries, “What is love? Baby don’t hurt me…” Not that the artist had this in mind, but is that not an accurate description of the Secular Model? The answer to the question, “What is love?” is nothing more than the cautious desire to avoid pain. I don’t know what love is, but don’t cheat on me. I’m not sure about this whole love thing, but I’ll settle for a give-and-take situation in which I won’t be hurt. Except it always ends in hurt. But I’ve spent too long on the idiocy of secularism. Let’s talk about those disgusting religious.
There is a tendency amongst Christians – and I have to point out that I’ve heard it preached most often by our Evangelical brothers – to practice what we shall call the Jesus-First Model. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, some bright-eyed girl wearing a little, silver cross informs you that “Jesus comes first in my relationship.” Or your friend tells you, “first God, and then my spouse.” It’s not that I disagree with the sentiment – that God should be our primary goal – but I do deny the existence of a ‘love-list’ we are obligated to follow. I remember, as a child, making this list: “First comes God, then my family, then my best friend, then the rest of my friends.” But I am leaving childish things behind. God isn’t calling us to pray to him first and then love our girl, as if the timing of the thing mattered to Him. God isn’t demanding that – for every hour spent on a date – we give him two hours of praise. God certainly isn’t saying we need to somehow work up a greater emotion over him than over our lover. And why not?
Because God is love, its source and destination. The idea that he is frustrated that you’re loving your girl instead of Him is ridiculous. To put it as clearly as I can, to love another is to love God. We tend to only apply that to “the least of our brothers,” but it can be equally applied to “the greatest of our sisters”(if you know what I’m saying). Jesus does not come before your spouse, Jesus is your spouse. God does not come first, God is central. God is where your love comes from in the first place, and he is loved through those you share it with. I find that married people are very aware of this truth, but teenagers are idiots about it. Don’t limit love by trying to order it. It comes from God and goes back to Him, and we – mysteriously, beautifully – are the channels of its flow, channels that can never become too full. So love strong.