It gets cold at the top
Make sure somebody loves ya
You can feel alone in the spotlight
Make sure somebody cares for ya
Always be there for ya
It’s no fun alone
– Mali Music “No Fun Alone”
Here’s a story you may have heard before: Musician meets girl at a gig. They fall in love. He goes on tour a lot. She thinks that the absence will make his heart grow fonder. He’s happy to have someone to talk to while on the road. Thinking they have the ins and outs of musician life all figured out, they get married. Then somewhere down the line when she’s had enough of weeks apart and late nights at the studio, what was once agreed upon is met with an ultimatum: his career or their relationship. After witnessing this time and time again, my question always is, what happened? Why is it that after a considerable amount of time of being together and dealing with the atypical routine of someone in the industry, does suddenly the other person in the relationship decide that enough is enough?
I asked a musician friend of mine about this the other day and he gave me some pretty good insight. He’s currently divorced but praying about reconciliation. What he offered was this: while being on the road and getting to boast about the places you have been and can take your significant other may seem glamorous, it is imperative that you communicate about your life goals and expectations. If you can’t agree on those things, your relationship is doomed.
I think this really important issue of discussing realistic life goals is missed because too many people are more comfortable being with someone they can impress versus being with someone that truly knows and loves them. There is a new book I’m loving right now by author Donald Miller called Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy. I highly recommend it to anyone that reads this blog. He writes:
“People clapping for you will always be a nice thing. But it’s better when you have somebody to go home to and talk about it with, somebody who is more in love with you than impressed by you.”
There are some people that are so impressed with people in the spotlight but they have no understanding of the cost of being in it. They fall for passion, talent, and the money someone looks like they have or could possibly make some day. However what they don’t realize is that the very thing that they are so enamored with comes with hours and hours of practice and sometimes an unpredictable schedule that can whisk their loved one away at moments of inconvenience. The very thing that they have become enamored with about a person can become the very thing that they start to resent. Soon they start seeing the other person’s career as their competition. The thing is, it’s not just the career they are seeing as competition; it’s that person’s purpose. If we don’t engage with one another with the understanding that before they were your boo, they came with a purpose and a plan that God has mapped out for them before you met them (Ephesians 2:10), we are going to have some pretty unfair expectations of one another. When you get into a commitment with someone, you can either help them go further in their purpose or you can hinder it. Love doesn’t stifle things. It helps things to grow. I think a lot of us have had bad relationships because we are not choosing people that help us but hinder us.
By no means am I saying that if you are in entertainment and your significant other is not that the relationship should revolve around you. Let’s just get that out of the way. I don’t believe that one person is more valuable than another. I don’t care if you are selling out venues and your loved one works a 9-5 Monday through Friday. The bible says in Romans 12:3-6 that in Christ we all function as one.
Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.
When two individuals consider building a life together as one, I think it is important to be realistic about what adjustments are necessary for the both of them to fulfill their destinies in life. Author Shellie R. Warren writes a great deal about relationships. I remember reading something a while ago that she said her mother shared with her: “God does not give you someone for where you are but where you are going.” In looking for relationship examples in the bible where adjustments had to be made for purpose, I think of Joseph, the father of Jesus, as a great example.
According to Matthew 1:19, when Joseph found out that Mary, the woman that he was engaged to, was pregnant, he thought about divorcing her quietly. It doesn’t exactly say whether he knew of and doubted her story or not. But it does suggest that either way, he considered no longer being a part of her life. Still he loved and respected her enough to quietly divorce her to spare her public shame. As he thought about it, Mary’s situation from afar not only looked bad on her but it also looked bad on him. He didn’t want the public shame either.
But then after an angelic visitation giving him the entire story of what exactly happened and who Mary was pregnant with, he made a choice to move forward and marry the woman who would give birth to the savior of the world. That is a HUGE deal and yet he chose it. Not only did he choose it, but also out of his commitment to his wife and God (both are key), he made the sacrifices that were needed for her to carry out her purpose. Sacrifices like not consummating their marriage until Jesus’ birth (that will preach by itself); Sacrifices like moving all over the place to find a place for Mary to give birth; Sacrifices like moving his family out of harm’s way because the king was on a rampage to kill all newborn sons so he could get rid of the newborn king. These are huge sacrifices that he said yes to that I am sure when he got engaged he had no idea would even be possibilities. You have to remember that in relationships, no one stays the same. People change. And although I don’t doubt that he saw Mary as special, this new “mother to the savior of the world” business was not what he initially signed up for. Yet he stuck with his commitment to Mary and protected the destiny that came with her.
I think what’s also important to note is that Jesus’ lineage that was prophesied about in the Old Testament came through Joseph’s side and not Mary’s. On Joseph’s side were Abraham, Rahab, Boaz Solomon and David (2 Samuel 7:12-13, Matthew 1). So you see, it wasn’t just Mary that was chosen to be responsible for the birth of Jesus but Joseph as well. This had about as much to do with his destiny as it did hers.
Now I am no expert, but the relationships that I have seen be the most successful are the ones that work as a team. Where if one person is successful, then they count it as both of them being successful. If one person is having challenges, then they count it as them both having challenges. One of my friends whose marriage I have always admired, is an artist whose husband used to spend a considerable time away as a touring musician. She told me “I don’t just love him, I like him. I want to see him succeed. If he wins, I win. We are in this together.”
It is my hope that I start seeing more people getting together for the right reasons and enjoying healthy relationships within the music industry. We need it. I believe it is possible. I know some people with some great and healthy marriages. They will tell you upfront that they require a lot of work and sacrifice. One more great thing that Shellie Warren’s mother said was “Do everything you can’t compromise before you are married.” If you’re not ready to blend your life with someone else’s, then wait. As brothers and sisters first, we need to start taking responsibility for each other to help one another succeed. We can’t be so selfish with our expectations and desires. Everyone has been created on purpose, for purpose. I believe that we are better together than we are apart. We just need to choose wisely.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:9-10