FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: RE-THINKING LOVE IN OUR GENERATION
A Review of THE VOW: The True Events that Inspired the Movie written by Kim & Krickitt Carpenter with Dana Wilkerson
Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). I believe that wholeheartedly. But I also believe that in order to truly give, you must know what it is to truly receive… and as a result, you will know how to give to others (Page 178)
My love for books makes me turn aside whenever I see a bookstore. Even when I’m in a hurry (and I’ve been accused so), the mere thought of missing out on a very good book haunts me badly and literally teleports me to the shelf of a bookstore. This was my experience a couple of weeks ago as I perused the collection of a much advertised ‘new in town’ store. So, I came across this book – The Vow – and the first thought that flashed through my mind (and I bet any other youth my age because I saw another lady ordering the same book), was “Okay…Relationship book, let’s add this to the usual list”.
Two days ago, I finally got round to finish reading the book and I realised I couldn’t be more wrong about it being just a relationship book. It practically renewed, nay, redefined the whole notion of love my generation has grown to know. So, I thought to share my colloquial review of the book in a few statements. Mind you, there are about a hundred reviews already online, of both the book and its adapted movie. This is not to speak to the specifics of the book but rather an attempt to make you think again, as I’ve thought over and over, about what love truly meant.
In this 183-page book, Kimmer Carpenter narrates his real-life experience with the love of his life- Krickitt, who couldn’t recognise him as her newly-wed husband barely two months after their marriage due to a severe brain damage she suffered after a devastating car crash. One would hardly believe this after reading the first chapter which sums up the typical boy-meets-girl scenarios we found everyday around us. The very fact that their marriage went through the normal course love takes on its journey to suffering and rejection makes you jitter as you envision the future of your own story. The couple who were once back-to-back against the world could now no longer sustain an emotional connection for more than few words due to a single incident. That is unbelievable, right? So I thought too as I clung the book to my heart desperately hoping for a miracle to happen to Kimmer & Krickitt, and it did happen, but not quite as I’d expect.
After Krickitt’s miraculous recovery, drowning every last cent of their medical insurance (and that reminds me, medical insurances are not there for nothing, especially when you’re/planning to be in a relationship), therapists, including her husband, struggled to help her regain her lost consciousness, especially of events that occurred in her life in the previous years but to no avail as she was always stuck in her past participial life (for the record, always make records of every moment you share with your loved ones). It was almost as though the world and even God turned against Kimmer for fighting tough to keep the vow he made: For better or for worse, now that’s where I’m going.
Thoughts like: why did he have to stay…Couldn’t he have just bailed, after all, he didn’t cause the accident and moreover, he has tried all he could, yet the woman don’t seem to remember him…does that kind of love still exist? etc. streamed across my mind, and I can imagine across most people’s mind who have read the book. You can’t blame us, we live a generation that sees, sings and acts love as a commodity that can be disposed of when it becomes of no more use. Even when we make vows at the altar, we say it with much enthusiasm, yet with little or no understanding of what we’re about to get into, and when we actually get into it, we go through the door at the slightest possible test of our faith, who wouldn’t, right? After all, we are humans and our feelings are unpredictable and fluid-like oscillating to the conditions of the present. No wonder the divorce rate keeps soaring high every weekend as much as ‘owambe’ parties and the average young person is scared (although they won’t admit it) to truly commit to a lifetime relationship.
‘For better or for worse?’, imagine that, how about ‘For better or for the best?’ we often think to ourselves. We’ve overused the love word so much so that we begin to lose its actual meaning. ‘I better bail before it gets bad, much less worse, after all, I’ve still got my lifetime before me, and a lot of other choices too’. These days, you hardly find couples who’d be willing to fight hard for the love they claim to have for each other, rather they’re much attracted to the materialist foundation on which their relationships was built and would not think twice before jettisoning the vows they mumbled before God and before people. How I wish we make less vows and much heart-to-heart talks on weddings. Are vows even still for real? NO, I don’t think so, not in this generation.
As I drew to the end of the book, I saw how God gives us a glimpse of His love in the everyday challenges we encounter in our love relationships with other people: ‘Sometimes you feel rejected despite all you’ve done/tried to do for this person, yet you must keep pressing hard to win their heart all over again’ and this was the story of Kimmer as he struggled to win back Krickitt’s love for the second time, which has always been his. He weathered all the storms and shame the world threw at him and kept true to his vow. This wasn’t all for nothing as God used his story to create global impact. It will surprise you that this book was written about 16 years ago (revised in 2012 after the movie was created), and it still gets to your heart. That is what happens when you make God the centre of your life: your ambitions, your writing, and your relationship.
Let me end where I started, my most famous quote from the book is when Kimmer affirmed that “… I also believe that in order to truly give, you must know what it is to truly receive… and as a result, you will know how to give to others”. In other words, you can’t give what you haven’t received, and to give love, you had to have received it from the author of love Himself – Jesus Christ.
And so I’m asking us, ‘Is our love for real? ’
P.S: If you don’t think you’d cry when reading this book, try listening to Timi Dakolo’s new single of the same title –The Vow, late at night or very early in the morning. There are few things that can make me almost cry than that atmosphere. You’d love the book anyway.
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