Some songs, I have no interest in giving a second listen too. Up until a few days ago, Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” was one of those songs. I agree with whoever said it first, her video certainly did ruin a perfectly good song. However, I should mention I have not and do not ever intend to watch this video. Hearing about it from others is enough for me.
After a brief discussion with my family I decided to give this song a good listen. I have to say I was surprised by what “Wrecking Ball” can teach us about physical and emotional intimacy in relationships.
I was reminded of what Christopher West has named some popular artists “Twisted Mystics” I agree with his point, that many artists speak truth in their work. Their longing for deeper meaning, love and truth about their own human dignity and their sexuality shows in their work. They may go about it all wrong. I dare say, Miley Cyrus is a ‘twisted mystic’.
Without breaking down the song line by line, here is my take on the lessons we can draw from this song. You can read the lyrics here.
It’s a song about a girl who fell in love hard and fast. Which implies that she gave herself physically very early in the relationship and obviously outside of marriage, as the relationship developed she desperately and forcefully sought emotional intimacy. Her force only resulted in pushing him away and she is left burned and wrecked.
It’s a natural defence mechanism to build an invisible wall around ourselves. If someone attempts to break down that wall by force, we will frantically work to reinforce it. Hence begins a war of sorts.
The only situation in which another person will let us inside the wall is when they feel safe enough. The best way for another person to feel safe, is when we open up. By letting the other inside my wall, I am saying that I trust them. This will usually be reciprocated in time. In any relationship, where there is to be intimacy, parents and children, siblings, friends, and husbands and wives, we have to show that our heart is a safe place for theirs. If we are forcing our way in, they will feel threatened.
Is that all that went wrong for the girl in the song? This is a tragic break up song. Not only do we see how we cannot force the other into emotional intimacy. We also see the damaging effect of starting the relationship with physical intimacy. There is a reason God’s plan for marriage includes physical intimacy once the emotional barriers have been removed. The emotional intimacy provides that safe place for physical intimacy to occur. Even those who are married today, who did give themselves to each other physically before marriage, face consequences for having gone about attaining intimacy contrary to God’s plan. After years of marriage, they are still trying to attain emotional intimacy that was not established concretely from the start. When we have already invested so much of ourselves into the other person, it is difficult to accept that they are not letting us into their side of the wall.
Contrary to the message in Lady Gaga’s song, when we attempt to give our bodies, without giving our heart we will end up wrecked. We cannot separate our physical body from our spirit, our emotions or our soul. I could write a separate post on how what we do with our bodies affects every aspect of our human being.
There is a powerful lesson in Miley’s song, not only about providing a safe place for our spouse, children, parents and friends to be emotionally intimate, but also for our youth to understand the benefits of practicing chastity.
Chastity is a virtue that strengthens every vocation. Giving yourself physically to another outside of marriage does nothing to strengthen marriage. Chastity isn’t about saying “no” to sex, it’s about saying “yes” to authentic love, truth and beauty.
There are many resources for those who do want to say “Yes” to authentic love. There are apostles who have dedicated their lives to spreading the message and beauty of chastity.
Here are a few resources: