Thursday, 27 July 2017

Love Island: What got us all hooked?

By Daisy Vanderputt

‘Do you wanna hang out tonight?’
‘sorry I can’t, Love Island’s on at 9.

Sound familiar? The ITV2 summer show Love Island completely blew up the internet and had well over 1 million viewers every night.
The show saw a group of single islanders in a Mallorca villa for a summer of ‘love’. Weekly recouplings saw the girls and boys debate who they were going to pair up with and who they would be sharing a bed with for the next few nights. After hours, bed - hopping antics are a huge part of the show, watching the islanders fall in and out of love within days, if not hours of meeting and coupling up with each other. New islanders sneak into the villa occasionally over the summer to add a dash of drama and to test the strength of the couples loyalties to each other. Viewers voted for their ‘favourite couples’ leaving the ones with the fewest votes booted out of the beautiful Spanish island and fans of the show were frequently left heartbroken for their favourite contestants when their other half would leave.

Put as plainly as that, why did this show capture the hour of 9pm for the nation? Before we get started on this, I just want to clarify that this is not a blog to condemn your choice of evening entertainment by any means, but maybe an invitation for you to question a little more deeply what about it had you hooked.

This years Love Island compared to previous years was a much bigger hit, and the differences in the show compared to previous years was that it focused a lot more on the relationships that people had with each other in the Villa. Just typing Love Island into google will show you a multitude of articles on who the favourite couple of the week is and why. Reasons would include: the possibility of a committed relationship off of the show, meaningful glances caught on camera, and straight up real talk about where they are at. We love it. We love it enough to watch 6 weeks of it and to cancel plans with important people in our lives!

Not too long ago I was having a conversation with a 5 year old girl about why she loved fairytales so much, she simply told me it makes her feel fluttery inside. Whilst we’re not five anymore, and don't read fairytales, the desire for love, for adventure is still in our hearts and is stirred up in many of us during the hour of Love Island each night. But more than this, we want true, authentic sacrificial love.

Watching the show and seeing headlines, fake people are not welcome or wanted. Wasn’t it funny how quickly everyone turned on Gabby when she failed the lie detector test and questioned about where she was really at. We are yearning for true love, and to see that it exists. Every single day we are bombarded with the message that lust is more important than love and whilst it’s somewhat appealing because of how available and easy it is to find, we know deep down that it’s not satisfying us or the people around us. We’re seeing our friends in broken relationships or even in broken relationships ourselves, the LGBT community fighting for acceptance, abortion and euthanasia on the uprise, and well, I know for me personally, I’m left questioning if this whole ‘real love’ thing is real and find myself seeking it out in a reality TV Show on ITV2.

It’s just so so easy. Couple up, exchange a few meaningful glances and we think we are sorted for love. The show is appealing because that’s what we see. Let’s be honest, we wouldn’t watch 7 weeks of Olivia and Chris fighting, however, we know that there is more to be found than a few empty and romantic gestures. Unfortunately, a large proportion of the world hasn’t heard the memo that there is more out there and so we settle for whatever we can find. Even I, after hearing nearly every day that there is more, am inclined to settle for less. Pope John Paul II writes:

“Genuine love … is demanding. But its beauty lies precisely in the demands it makes. Only those able to make demands on themselves in the name of love can then demand love from others.”

All I want is to do is be complacent and take the easy option but I know that it’s not enough for me because I crave genuine, authentic love. And this, my friends, is what we were made for. People have forgotten that the Bible is the deepest, most perfect love story that we could ever experience in our lives. In her book ‘Captivating’ Stasi Eldredge says:

"The vast desire and capacity that we have for intimate relationships tells us of God's vast desire and capacity for intimate relationships. In fact, this may be The most important thing we ever learn about God--the He yearns for relationship with us. "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God" (John 17:3). The whole story of the Bible is a love story between God and His people. He yearns for us. He cares. He has a tender heart.”

He yearns for our hearts just as much, in fact infinitely more than what we crave so much from watching Love Island and he yearns for it because he can fulfil it in our hearts.

He is offering you something more perfect, more extraordinary than you can ever find in this world. So as the Love Island blues hit you find comfort in another bomb quote from JP2. (A master in real love):

“It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle."


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