“Two strangers learn to fall in love again”

September 16, 2013

I asked Oscar Smith, worship leader for Hampton UMC’s Transformation service, if he would play Journey’s “Faithfully” to accompany my sermon on love and marriage yesterday. As usual, I don’t get these flashes of inspiration until late, and I figured  that a), he thought I was joking, and b), it was too late to learn the song anyway. As he indicates at the end of this performance, he proved me wrong!

I love the song first because it makes me feel incredibly nostalgic: it puts me right back on the gym floor of my seventh-grade dance. It reminds me of slow-dancing with girls for the first time, which was magical.

Even more, I realize as an adult that it’s a very smart love song. Jonathan Cain, the song’s author, wrote it about being on the road, away from wife and family, and trying to make his marriage work. You don’t have to be a rock star to resonate with these lines:

And being apart ain’t easy on this love affair
Two strangers learn to fall in love again
I get the joy of rediscovering you
Oh, girl, you stand by me
I’m forever yours
Faithfully

Even if married couples aren’t separated from one another by geography, they become separated, at times, by life experience, emotional distance, and neglect. If it’s true, as Hauerwas said, that being married is “learning to love the stranger to whom you find yourself married,” then all married couples will become strangers who must learn to fall in love again. If we don’t give up too easily, we can find joy in rediscovering one another.

When I realized Oscar was playing this song, I grabbed my iPhone. Sorry I missed the beginning.

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