In the past year, Loveology had come across my radar a few times. I suppose I’ll be honest and admit that it was a bit like my assumption with The Taylor Swift Christmas video; I avoided it for a minute then finally I had to find out what it was all about. Speaking of Taylor Swift, I don’t care what anyone says -- I will always be a fan of hers. In terms of the book, my sole intent in picking it up was to understand the message it was teaching others. In all honesty, I in no way expected that there would be anything buried within these pages that I would find insightful or even considered the possibility that; I myself could find something applicable.
With that said, I would like to issue my formal apology to the book’s author, John Mark Comer. Mr. Comer, my assumptions were wrong and your insights have rocked my world! In all seriousness, the book has forever changed my perspectives on relationships, marriage, and love. Because of all this, I must not only say I am genuinely sorry for my original perspective, but also that I am truly grateful for what the book has taught me.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. There were more people raving about this book in particular than anything I’ve heard about other recently written book. Even after seeing and hearing about this book a few times, I was surprised to find out it was written by a dude. Really?! Aren’t all love/relationship books written by females? Apparently, girls aren’t the only ones who have figured out the formula. Crazy enough, this book was written by one of the few guys I feel has an understanding of what can make a relationship successful, along with how you should think about marriage. The problem with this book is that sadly it goes unnoticed by men, a lot of us. For whatever reason (I have no idea why) Loveology was published with pink pages and a “cute” pink typography on the cover; maybe it was a crafty marketing tactic to target a female audience. Now after reading it, it’s my opinion that it should be reprinted with a few changes. For example, it should have a picture of a man on top of a mountain wearing a plaid shirt holding an axe. It should also smell of camp fire and be printed on pages made of polymer so that it can be read on Arctic expeditions through gale storm winds. Forgot the “Loveology” title -- the cover should say “Everything society, movies, and magazines have told you about love is wrong.” Here’s the point I’m getting at - it’s my opinion this book was actually written for a dying breed, known as the “Modern Gentleman”. Who is the Modern Gentleman? Well for starters, it’s us guys in our 20s-30s who don’t have Tinder on our phones. It’s us guys that live for a purpose. It’s us guys that know how to start a fire, change an alternator and tie a figure eight knot. Us guys that open doors for girls, carry out the groceries for the elderly women, and purchase a meal for the guy who looks hungry and down on his luck. Sad to say it, but currently we are the minority.
I believe we are in the early phase of a Renaissance of the American Gentleman. This may not be what you’re used to, but lately I see more guys interested in making something with their own two hands than collecting a commission for something someone else built. I see more guys spending their weekends trekking out into the backcountry rather than sitting in the Ultra Lounge VIP section. Men everywhere are wanting more out of life than what we simply see in culture every day. This book is a great starting point for that. What I love so much about this book is how John Mark takes us back to the simplistic beginning of the why and how the male + female relationship began and where we need to start with it in our own lives.
For example, take a look at the knowledge passed down from his father of what being a Modern Gentleman looks like.
Now hold on a second… Let’s break this down and think about how crazy this is. Imagine you are walking into Starbucks when you spot your Ex walking out with a guy who can only be her boyfriend or husband. This new guy recognizes you, knows enough about you that instead of it being awkward or tense, he comes up to you with a handshake and makes the point to genuinely say “Thank you for taking such great care of my girl”. Whoa, that’s awesome! Unfortunately, we rarely see guys like this, and more importantly we rarely act like boyfriends in a way where someone would say this to us later down the road.
Lucky for me I was fortunate enough to be raised by a father that instilled in me the value of being a gentleman and how to treat a woman properly. I think this quote nails it and, heck, it doesn’t just belong in a love book. It should be included in the “Raising a Son” Training Manual. This is what living with honor looks like -- being able to treat her well enough that her future boyfriend or husband recognizes the level of integrity in which you live your life. As a man, this is a concept we should keep ever present in our minds and strive to uphold.
Let me brag on a few other aspects of the book. First, I will be honest that as I creep into my 30s I have started to feel like the last kid on the bench to be chosen for the dodgeball team. All of my awesome friends have started amazing marriages followed by creating beautiful children. I don’t really know where this yearning comes from, it must be buried in my genetic code. For as long as I can remember I have deeply held onto this concept of life starting on my wedding day. John Mark proposes reframing how we think of “singleness”.
The point he is making is that singleness is a gift and that the gift of singleness is the ability to serve in ways you can’t if you’re married. You don’t have the commitment to the time it takes to create and maintain a successful marriage. You have the ability to take risks and go out and do something great, to take chances. John Mark goes on to say:
I’ve always thought about what I’ve been missing out on by not being married, but John Mark has helped me realize what I could be missing out on if I was married! It’s ironic to think about and it has definitely opened my eyes to new opportunities.
The second aspect of the book that I really have admired is how love as a concept is presented. There is such a spectrum of emotion attached to love, and I don’t think there is anything like how John Mark nails this thought in the opening chapter.
Everyone knows the excitement and butterflies of blooming love as well as the devastation of heartbreak. I sometimes ask myself if the highs are worth it enough to go through the lows of dating. When I think this, I just focus on the thought that if I can just make it to my wedding day, boom we are there. We are committed and we can just quit the lows completely because we will be together forever and we have a reason to work though the issues. I figure the lows come rarely, or at least there’s a lot less lows and a lot more happiness. After all, I like everyone else just want to be happy. John Mark, however, totally wrecked my perspective.
What a simple reminder of how the equation should be written and yet so different from what some of us think. So different from what we have been told. “You complete me!” says one actor in a popular movie. However, there is no one human out there that can “complete” us, and we have been looking at it all wrong.
The third and final thing I’ll say about Loveology is the deep respect I found for John Mark as he tackles a subject that I find so many people in the church getting wrong. He is one of the rare guys that are willing to take a stand and say that the church has gotten it wrong. He stands with me on the label of Homosexuality.
Let’s be honest, John Mark is throwing some heat in this chapter. This is something that I have felt for a long time needed to be shouted loud and far. The point John Mark and I are both making is that we have forgotten that it’s all about love. Plain and simply, it’s about love for all, unconditionally. There are no rankings and no one individual is more or less important than the other. We need to love on everyone. Don’t get me wrong I believe that marriage was created a long time ago for the intent of one man and one woman, committed for life. However, I really believe that everyone should have the freedom to do whatever it is they want to do as long as it doesn’t hurt and one else. I don’t think gay marriage in any way cheapens traditional marriage or weakens the level of commitment I will have for my wife. So if my two buddies’s want to tie the knot and make that commitment to represent their Love, then awesome. I will be front row at there at their wedding to share in the celebration and I will stand in support of their commitment.
With all this said, I stand behind this book as being a must read for any guy that is single, in a relationship, or currently engaged. It will either be a fantastic reminder of why your roots are planted deeply in the right place or it will be an opportunity to consider some new perspectives. For either reason, I can guarantee you will walk away a better man. I know I have.