Take Me to Church by Hozier

This song has been around for awhile now and while it is super catchy and difficult to get out of your head once you’ve heard it on the radio, the message might be catchy in a destructive way. After helping a few clients through codependent relationships this song had a whole new meaning to me. It goes to show that there is a culture of codependency in relationships currently. Instead of mutually supportive, interdependent relationships it has become normal to be dependent on the other for our worth or identity.

Hozier’s lyrics say:

 I should’ve worshiped her sooner

 If the Heavens ever did speak

 She is the last true mouthpiece

While it is natural to care about what our significant others think, giving them this much power is dangerous. If we decide that their opinion is god-like then the moment they’re upset with us, hurt by us, criticize us, or simply have a different opinion than us, we’re ruined. I’ve found that in these relationships the person is quick to do whatever it takes to get back in the other’s good graces, even if that means forgetting who they are personally. In a healthy relationship each can have their own thoughts and opinions and be respected for them. No one’s thoughts are more important or more right than the other. 

The chorus says:

 Take me to church

 I'll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies

 I'll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife

 Offer me that deathless death

 Good God, let me give you my life

Whenever we choose to worship another person whether it be a spouse, friend, boss, or parent, we forget that they are just as human as we are. The line about worshiping like a dog creates the sense that this person is worth less than the significant other. Seeing ourselves as less than human never goes well. Often this mindset results in making decisions that keep us in this “less than” mindset. The relationship described does not sound appealing and yet the person seems content to be treated this way. Being vulnerable with another should never result in an opportunity for them to use those things against us. In a healthy relationship, the other listens and supports when fears, mistakes, failures, or concerns are shared. These thoughts should not be used as ammo later on in arguments.

At the end of the song, after talking about how he has gone through her criticism and tried his best to please her, Hozier says:

 Only then I am human

 Only then I am clean

In codependency we often stay in a relationship much longer than we should simply because we need the relationship too badly. The relationship is doing something for us. It makes us feel loved or accepted or needed, so we are willing to put up with the abuse. The opportunity to be human and clean is that “okay-ness” he was looking for and why he stays around. If there is some sense of relief and accomplishment then he thinks the relationship is worth it. If we know we are able to find this fulfillment elsewhere we won’t stay. In a healthy relationship each party is treated like a human simply because they are human. This is not treatment that has to be deserved. 

Set boundaries with the people in your life. Make sure you’re in a mutually supportive relationship where your thoughts and opinions are being respected. Make sure your mistakes and failures aren’t being used against you and being treated like a human is a given. Don’t give in to worshiping your significant other. They’re only human.