Only Girl (In the World)
A Quick Music Discussion Guide for Parents
The Song: “Only Girl (In the World)” by Rihanna
Main Point of Discussion: God’s design for sex and relationships is the best (and most fulfilling).
Vital Info Before You Get Started: (The following should help you contextualize this very popular song so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.)
- The video has spent some time at #1.
- The lyrics reveal two opposing viewpoints on sex and relationships that our culture struggles with. Since Rihanna is—as the American Psychological Association puts it—“sexualized,” it’s a bit surprising to hear her singing about wanting what sounds like a monogamous relationship.
- Above all, don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.
Want you to make me feel like I’m the only girl in the world
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):
Like I’m the only one that you’ll ever love
Like I’m the only one who knows your heart
Only girl in the world…
Take me for a ride
Oh baby, take me high
Let me make you first
Oh make it last all night
A: Sex and love and the need to feel connected to one special person are all part of the same package.
Q: What’s the message of this song?
Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this song?
A: Sex and love and the need to feel connected to one special person are all part of the same package—but only in the context of marriage. Outside of marriage, you can love and feel a special connection to another person, but sex doesn’t fly because of its powerful effect on bonding two people together—and if those two people don’t end up together for life, the bond is still there…and affects both people (and their future relationships) profoundly.
Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this song to actually living out those opinions?
A: By making it a practice to talk openly about biblical views of sex every time a new relationship begins. Which, of course, means it’s MUCH better to date a Christian than a non-Christian—because a believer in Christ worthy of that description will agree that temptations leading to sexual behavior need to be handled properly, whereas a non-Christian may only give lip-service to such a discussion. Also, we should find our self-worth and desire for intimate connection in Jesus first, not in fellow, flawed humans who are more than capable of disappointing and failing at any point.
Where to Take It from Here:
Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, try out another song. Keep engaging them.
For Deeper Discussion: (If your kids seem into diving in deeper, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)
CLICK HERE if you want to look at a quick training article on small groups and drawing questions out of young people—you may find much of the information applicable as you go through this subject with your family members.
“Only Girl (In the World)” seems to paint two very different pictures of sex and relationships: The first is common in the vast majority of songs that use sex as subject matter—but the other actually represents a design for sex and love and relationships that goes back thousands of years. Let’s take a deeper look at its opposing views on sex and relationships.
More Discussion Questions:
- HAVE A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: In the song lyrics, where do you see the culture’s view of sex and relationships, and where do you see God’s design for those subjects?
- HAVE A FEW OF YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Rihanna wants to feel like the “only girl in the world” to this guy. Do you believe that’s a common desire? Or are most teens into being casual?
- HAVE A FEW OF YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: If you know peers who’ve hooked-up casually, what have been their emotional reactions to their experiences?
Read the following passage from the Bible:
There's more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn't you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.
1 Corinthians 6:16-20 (The Message)
- ASK ONE FAMILY MEMBER: According to this passage, why does sexual sin have its own category? (parent—answer you’re looking for: It violates “the sacredness of our own bodies…made for God-given and God-modeled love for ‘becoming one’ with another.”)
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Does it make sense to you that sex is more than “mere skin on skin,” as the passage states—that there’s a spiritual element to it? If so, why? If not, why not?
- ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you believe that people who have casual sex will have a more difficult time staying married? Or do you believe they’ll stay more committed since they “got lots of sex out of their systems”?
- ASK ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS: What are the potential upsides and downsides of committing yourself to purity and saving sex until marriage?
The best way to think about God’s design for sex is to imagine a fire burning in a fireplace. When it’s contained within its proper boundaries, the fire gives warmth and enjoyment. But if the fire burns outside of the fireplace with no restrictions, great devastation usually happens. The marriage commitment is the “fireplace” for the mystical union of sex—but when it spreads outside its boundaries, it usually wreaks hurt and heartbreak. I realize most of you “know” all of this, but it’s important to talk about in a continual way—because our culture pushes sex and infidelity 24-7, and we think about it almost as much. In fact, we practically worship sex and engage in immorality at staggering levels. So tonight I’d like you to prayerfully consider dedicating yourself to purity and come up with a few ways you can start avoiding sexual sins such as pornography, heavy petting/hooking up, etc.
Devote any minutes you have left to allow your kids to think about your challenge, then let them know you’ll be available to talk to them about their decisions after the meeting and throughout the week.
Close in Prayer
Written by Lane Palmer
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