(Photo courtesy of Landry Cantrell)
Lessons From an Indian Summer
Relationship Advice With Landry Cantrell
By Sarah Komisky
Landry Cantrell is on the cusp of something new. Surrounded by music since his youth via his family and his church, he later toured and released a series of albums initiated at the age of fifteen. Around the same time, music collided with an unexpected relationship found on an open seat of a high school choir tour bus. After a four hour conversation on the road, Cantrell’s connection to a girl named Kelsey was evident. Little did he know she would become the love of his life, dating over the course of next seven years. This June, Cantrell’s public and personal life reached an apex with the release of his newest project, Projections featuring the hit single, “Before You,” as well as his engagement to Kelsey. At this exciting point in time, I had the privilege of chatting with Landry, where he shared with me about music and his relationship. As Marked Ministry is currently spotlighting Proverbs, dedicated to wisdom, we thought it would be great for Landry to share some of his relationship advice with us.
When asked about how he felt having the opportunity to collaborate with his fiancé on the song “Indian Summer” on his new album, Cantrell gushed, “That’s like my favorite thing ever, it’s like all the things that I love kind of collide into one thing but that song in particular is a special one because it is our love story.”
In his own words, an “Indian Summer” is defined as a series of warm weather after winter has already come. Applying it to their story as a period of unexpected happiness to come in life, he was inspired to write the song alongside Kelsey to share their tale of how God brought the two together.
Yet finding each other at the age of 17 didn’t come without challenges. One was criticism from their peers for being together at a young age as reflected in the bridge of their song that says, “what if there’s better love out there/ we’ll find it together.”
He confesses, “Our peers would say, ‘well, how do you know this is what you want? Because you’re so young and you haven’t really seen what else is out there. You should get out there and date around and see if there’s something better out there. How do you know if this is the best love you can find?’ People would always hit me with that and then one day I just thought, ‘you know what, if there is better love out there, that’s cool, and you know what, I will find that, but I will find it with Kelsey, we’ll find it together and grow and become that’.”
Now at 26 Cantrell is looking back, a month away from his wedding, reflecting on the journey and offering candid advice to other couples facing similar situations.
“The main thing is that the relationship is centered around Christ because things will never be the way they want it to if God isn’t first, and then the second thing is that it really doesn’t matter what anybody says as far as criticism. I mean obviously listen to the few people in your life like your pastor, your parents, those kinds of influences because they will be able to see things about your relationship that you cannot see just because you’re too close to it and be open minded to listen to those people. As far as like criticism from like [I hate the word] but like ‘haters,’ there couldn’t be something smaller to focus on, really. It seems like such an insignificant thing because it shouldn’t be apart of your relationship. You shouldn’t have to juggle their opinions and allow them to weigh on your mind because if you truly care about this person and truly love that person, then it shouldn’t matter what any people like that think about it.”
Having a long distance relationship living five hours away from Kelsey is something that he (contrary to popular belief) believes bettered their relationship, commenting, “I think being so young and having a long distance relationship really allowed our relationship to grow at a slow pace, which I liked because we were able to thoroughly enjoy every step of developing a new relationship all the way down to the very beginning in developing a friendship.”
In turn, he encourages readers, “Seriously take your time with a relationship because every phase that you’re in, you’re only in that phase one time. Each phase as it passes is kind of over. If you rush through it, you’re not going to have the beginning phases of a relationship. Keep God the center of your life.”
Not hiding away from the fact that choosing to have a pure relationship is not an easy thing, Cantrell notes with assurance that it is possible. One of the ways Cantrell and his now fiancé made it work was to invite those they love, trusted, and who knew them best to hold them accountable and to heed the guidelines they set for them.
Cantrell reflects, “One thing that always frustrated me being a young person was that my pastor would say look, don’t do this, don’t do that when it comes to dating, as far as don’t be out late, don’t be out alone late. Things like that really got under my skin when I was young, but as I got older, I started realizing that those guidelines were just there to protect me from these certain pitfalls––dangers that we might encounter as a young person falling in love.”
When it comes to choosing and pursuing someone in a relationship, Cantrell wants to spur others on to choose wisely.
“For me, my whole mindset was, I’m not going to even look or pursue somebody if that wasn’t their priority (God). So, I think it’s extremely important especially as a believer, I think if you don’t find somebody with the same priority in serving the Lord, either your walk with God has to give a little bit or your relationship has to give a little bit, you can’t really serve the two masters in you life, one being God and then the other being this secular relationship that you’re developing,” Cantrell says. “So I think that it’s completely important and I think a lot of people truly don’t realize how important it is and they think that it’s not a big deal but, I think that once they get into it that they realize that they wish they would have made that a priority in choosing the person that they chase after.”
He continues, “You’re fully capable of choosing the person that you pursue. You’re in control of your own choices. Guard yourself because maybe you can’t choose who you fall in love with, but you can choose who you open yourself up to and you can kind of guard yourself before it ever gets to that spot.”