The lights hit, the heavens opened, the angels sung, and that’s when you knew… or did you? Here are 6 problems with The Spark.
“The Spark” is one of the most elusive and contentious issues when it comes to the conversation of relationships. Not to be confused with “Nicholas Sparks”, who has created many a male enemy by creating insane standards for men to compete with for over a decade. “The Spark” is, you know… well, you know…
Do we? It’s… you know. That magic thing that makes people click. It’s that feeling where you just somehow know. It’s that hint that there may be something more there. I mean, you need it. Right? That’s what some would contend. The relationship didn’t go anywhere because, well, there was no spark. I mean, in every single big Hollywood romance story, there’s that mystical moment where boy meets girl, the magical fairytale lighting comes in, a magic night of passion ensues, and voila. And a few of the other couples I know had it. How can you have a relationship without a spark?
On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who would say the spark doesn’t exist. It’s completely fictional. It was made up by men or women who didn’t want to give a different or a real reason why they didn’t want to pursue a relationship. Or it was made up as a reason for people to maintain their attraction and devotion despite there not really being a real reason.
I don’t think it’s fair to say the spark doesn’t exist. I mean, everyone reading this will be reading this because they’ve felt “the spark” at some point or another, whether it lead to a life long love and the best relationship in their life, whether it remains elusive to them in the quest for love, or whether it was never even a consideration in the love they do or don’t have.
Dating website e-Harmony joins the long list in discussing this contentious issue, stating that there are two different types of sparks – one that comes immediately, and one that is built over time, and that either one can be used to make a relationship work. I guess this article would be addressing that first type. Others cite oxytocin – it’s just a chemical reaction. Others say it’s born of insecurity – you recognize something you feel you don’t have but that you want. Others say it’s born of true love – how heaven or fate directs you. Whichever way it happens, I think relying exclusively on “the spark” doesn’t give us enough of the picture. Here are 6 problems with The Spark.
#1: It can happen with the “wrong” people
Always go for bad boys? Or bad girls? Why is that? It’s the spark’s fault. If we didn’t have a spark with them, we wouldn’t go after them, would we?
I wonder if you’ve ever found yourself attracted to someone you knew was wrong for you. But man, when they’re around, when you’re talking to them, there’s just something there. We call it the spark. Or chemistry. Or sexual tension. Because of the importance it has in our quest for love, it can be the deciding factor that leads us down a good path… or perhaps down a path we regret. The spark doesn’t really tell you anything about the person, just that you feel good when they’re around.
Has that ever happened to you?
#2: It can happen with multiple people
This one is so dangerous, but all too real. What do you do when you’ve really clicked with someone, you’ve struck up something wonderful, and then as time goes on, you have a spark flare up with someone else who isn’t your partner? Or the return of an “old flame”?
“It would never happen to me”, we cry out. But I don’t know any of my married friends who haven’t had that thought drop into their head and one point or another. Even in dating or engagement, it’s possible for the heart to grow fonder… or to go wander. If the spark is the deciding factor, what decisions will you make when it happens with someone else? Sadly, many of us have seen enough marriage breakdown for this very reason. “We fell out of love” usually translates in practice to “the spark is gone”, or “I’ve found it with someone else”.
#3: It always wears off
I don’t know anyone who’s been in a relationship for a significant period of time who has had the Honeymoon period last forever. Once the infatuation is gone, there comes that moment where the lights fade and you see the person and realise… “Oh.”
The rose-coloured lens of the spark may start a relationship sure enough, but it doesn’t sustain one. Unless a spark is given a place, an environment, and a focus to continue to burn, the fire will go out after a while.
#4: It doesn’t happen for everyone
I’m about to go to my 58th wedding in a few weeks time (yes, I have counted). It’s a true joy to see people come together, especially if I’ve been friends with both the groom and the bride and been able to see both sides. I’ve actually asked quite a few of my married friends the question before about whether or not they had a spark before they got together. I couldn’t tell you a percentage, but there were definitely a few who had one or both people have the spark moment, whether at the same time or at different moments. However, the majority of people I’ve seen get together didn’t have a spark at all.
I was at a birthday party last night talking to a friend who got on to the topic of “the spark” (you know who you are) with me, and we asked the question – “if the person had everything else you were looking for, but you didn’t have the spark, would you pursue it?”. I think there are more times in our lives than we’re willing to admit where this question would be quite confronting. I have seen so many people enter into or dismiss a relationship based on their answer to this question.
Are you the person who will marry someone based on a spark, or are you someone who will marry someone without it? I guess you’ll never know until you do it.
#5: It predisposes your love for the person based on your emotional state
When we talk about the spark, are you talking about a physical thing? Is it something that happens in your decisions? Are your actions hit by the spark?
No, it’s our feelings. Or at least that’s how we’re asserting that it exists.
And feelings can and do and will change. One question I always find very helpful is considering if we left this person, would we go on and have this exact some problem with someone else? The answer in a lot of cases is yes. And it’s usually a change in feelings which prompts us to consider making the jump. And yet, we haven’t fully thought it through – if our feelings changed with this person, they’ll probably change when we’re with someone else, too.
American statistics unfortunately seem to back this up. The percentage of divorce in America on second marriages goes up to 60% up from the 40-50% mark. TD Jakes comments on this in his series Before You Do, noting that it shows that we’re not learning something. In the context of our feelings, it kind of highlights that the grass seems greener on the other side, until you get there and wipe your feet all over it.
#6: Most of our other long-term relationships aren’t like that
Have you ever had a friend you just clicked with? For whatever reason, you just seemed to be on the same wavelength, and you were just able to talk about anything?
Next question – are you still friends with them?
If no, case and point. If yes, was it because of your initial friendship spark?
Next question – are all your close friendships like that? Also, probably not.
My point is this – when it comes to friendship, we do sometimes click better initially with people than others, but it isn’t the determining factor in whether or not a friendship is worth pursuing – it just sometimes makes the initial gelling process a bit easier.
Why do we have a different view of love then? Our family relationships certainly weren’t spark based – they were blood based. And yet family is one of the closest relationships we’ll ever have. Blood is thicker than water, they say. Blood is also thicker than sparks.
If the spark was so important to maintaining life long commitment or entering into new and exciting territory, then surely our other relationships would all have to bow to the same rules.
Our pastor this morning read out a great verse from Isaiah from the oft poetic KJV – “Then thou shalt see, and flow together”. We’ll flow together based on our shared perspective. Two walking hand in hand because they are in agreement. Striving to pursue peace making, and edifying each other. Love it.
All this to say – I know plenty of people who’ve had good experiences with “the spark”, and it’s lead to something really great. I’ve also had people have bad experiences with the spark, leading them to relationships with people they know they shouldn’t have entered into. I’ve also known people who’ve acted without a spark and had similar results. The point is this – the spark just isn’t enough. If it’s a factor, let it be a small one, and not a deciding one. Sometimes something so small can get in the way of something so great.
But that’s just from my point of view.
How about you? How important is “the spark” to you? Do you have see problems with The Spark, or are you a big fan? Would love to hear from you and hear your experiences, as I’m sure would the rest of my readers.