I also wish a happy 40th wedding anniversary to Janice Jagger and Colin Jagger who were formerly from Halifax, West Yorkshire, and who now live on the coast. Enjoy your special day, Janice and Colin, and we hope that you have many more happy years together. We also keep Colin’s health in our prayers and thoughts.
My song today is ‘Suddenly’. This song from 1985 was co-written and performed by the Trinidadian-born, British-based singer, Billy Ocean. Co-written and produced by Keith Diamond, it is the title track to Ocean's 1984 breakthrough album. The song reached the top five in the ‘UK Singles Chart’ in mid-1985. It also peaked at Number 4 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ chart. It also reached Number 5 on the ‘Billboard R&B Chart’ and was Number 1 on the ‘Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart’.
They do say that love is never planned, it just happens. And like a bolt of lightning from the blue, it tends to strike when least expected. The refrain of today’s song says it all:
“Suddenly, life has new meaning for me. There’s beauty up above, and things we never take notice of; you wake up suddenly, and you’re in love.”
I naturally love all things that bring me immense pleasure, and chief among my greatest of pleasures was that initial moment when I realised that ‘I was falling in love’ with a beautiful woman. Now, please let me explain.
During my romantic late teens, I displayed my willingness to ‘fall in love’ at the sight of the next beautiful girl to come my way. However, I never felt my proneness to ‘fall in love’ ever carried any expectation of ‘permanency’ with it. I did not have any difficulty in making the crucial distinction between ‘falling’ and ‘being’ in love. To me, ‘falling’ always implied that the emotional experience being entered into was a ‘temporary’ state, and would soon pass, whereas ‘being’ implied a greater sense of ‘permanency’ and had a ring of ‘finality’. To me, ‘love’ was as clear as crystal. I had the ability to drink from it and see through it. I had always considered ‘falling in love’ experiences implied that after the ‘fall’, one would naturally ‘rise up’ once more, having regained one’s senses, and find one's head and feet back on solid ground; as well as finding oneself ‘out of love’ again.
On the other hand, ‘being in love’ always held a sound of ‘dull finality’ to it. I always found the experience of ‘falling in love’ far more exciting and thrilling than ‘being in love’, and the sound of the former experience rang truer to me than the sound of ‘being in love’.
Imagine a perfect crystal glass and a human called ‘Crystal’ whom you marry for the purpose of this morning’s analogy.
To me, ‘falling in love’ was always meant to be a repeat performance during my years on the romantic stage. The more enjoyable the experience was, the more encores and bows I took. No matter how many times I ‘fell in love’, I made it a point to ‘fall back out of love’ soon after; just to enable me to ‘fall back in love again’ with another beautiful woman. My romantic experience was akin to pinging pure and perfect crystal; each time I tapped the glass, I got the same sharp ‘ping’ which rang true.
Now herein lies the distinction between ‘falling’ and ‘being’ in love. Whilst ‘being in love’ may prove to have a few perfect pings in it at the beginning of the romantic relationship, if you decide to follow through and marry the ‘Crystal’ in your life as opposed to sup from her, after a few years when the shine of new love has worn off, you will start to notice the odd flaw appear in your ‘Crystal’. Each time you try to ping her thereafter, all you will get back is a hollow dull sound!
One’s commitment to marriage can be the most satisfying and rewarding of all contracts two people in love can solemnly make, and when it works out for them, and their ‘Crystal’ partner maintains the same true ring throughout a lifelong relationship, life and love tastes sweeter than the nectar of the Gods.
However, and sadly for almost half of the population in Great Britain today (according to 2017 official statistics), their ‘being in love’ and subsequent marriage will progress through the stages of gradual disillusionment before ending in acrimonious dissolution and divorce. Without realising it at the time of their marriage, an imperfection will have already found its way into their ‘Crystal’; a flaw which will inevitably become more noticeable month after month of married life.
It will suddenly dawn on most husbands one bright morning that their once-doting, loving, and charming wife has inserted new conditions into the contract of marriage which the man never signed up to. The wife will direct her husband to the small print of the marriage contract which he never bothered fully reading. The full implications of your marriage commitment are realised chaps, the very moment your wife starts to improve you, which often begins before you both return from your honeymoon. From the moment she tries to change you for the better, your wife has already stopped regarding you as her husband. Henceforth you are her project, and progress in the making!
The rot may have started before the ink on your marriage certificate had dried, or on your honeymoon, or during the first week, the first month, or the first year of married life; but rest assured, that for half of all married men, it will have started! The sad truth unfortunately is that imperceptible and gradual changes commence for most men the moment they move from ‘falling in love’ to ‘being in love’, and to saying, ‘I do!’ From that moment on, what once was sound in their relationship will gradually grow duller and will no longer ring true. However often the man pings their ‘Crystal’ and tries to recapture that ‘falling in love’ experience, he will sense a deadening experience and start to witness the fragility of the ‘Chrystal’ he now holds in his hands.
To end on a brighter note, however, never forget that just over 50 percent of all marriages in Great Britain do not end in disillusionment, dissolution, and divorce. Do not forget that many loving couples ‘fall in love’ and ‘stay in love’ for the rest of their lives. Some married couples even get to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary (and beyond). For all these fortunate married couples who stay together, no matter how many times they ping their ‘Crystal’ during their married life together, the sound they receive back will always ring true as the words which resonate from their mouth echoes, ‘I love you’ and ‘I love you too’.
Love and peace Bill xxx