Thursday, January 1, 2015

Waiting for "The One"

The sad, but true reality of Christian dating...

I felt like I was watching my life on rerun the first time I saw this video: a frighteningly accurate montage of modern Christian dating.  I've seen the disappointing consequences of this flawed paradigm play out in my own life and in the lives of too many people I love.  It makes me wonder...

How Did We Get Here?

I was talking to one of my long-time gal friends on the phone recently and, as often happens when girls talk, the topic of boys / relationships came up.  I asked my friend regarding relationships: "What advice would you give a younger you?"  Both of us have scars to prove we've learned things the hard way on the battlefield of love, so I thought it would be fun to join our collective wisdom and spare the next generation (and ourselves!) from the common pitfalls along the way.  Here are just a few of our ponderings I thought were worth sharing.

When we boiled it down, we realized, in essence:

We Had Great Expectations Off Of Wrong Information!

Here's what I mean:

#1:  Are We There Yet?  Our Readiness For Relationship is a Function of Perspective, Not Time

When you're a young pup, you want everything now.  Right now!  Yesterday, preferably.  But with a little seasoning, you realize some things get sweeter with time.  Including us.   We waste so much time being mad at God for not bringing "the one" (*See below*) soon enough.  We get tired of waiting, so we make poor relationship choices or we strive earnestly to prove we're qualified to be in a relationship.  We overcompensate by working to achieve great success, working out, having a bunch of friends to prove we're worthy of love, when really we were worth it all along!

"Waiting on God" doesn't mean staring at a clock and getting mad when X amount of time passes.  Waiting on God means enjoying your life where you are, right now.  It means being thankful for the many people He has already given you to love in your life today.  It doesn't mean I have to be a certain age or "have it all together" to qualify to be in a romantic relationship.  What are we waiting for?  Our readiness for a relationship is a matter of our perspective, not time.

#2:  Selfishness or Selfless Love?

My friend and I also noticed our initial desire to find a romantic relationship was born out of a desire to be loved rather than to love someone else.  It was selfish.  When you really love someone, you care about them, not what they can do for you.  True love seeks not its own.  (1 Cor 13:5).  When we love, we of our own free will decide to care for and nurture one another.  When I love you, I care for you for your benefit, not my own.  Yet, all the while my needs are met, because I know I am completely loved by a God who is Love.

#3:  Love is Not a Flash in the Pan, But a Steady Hand

Romance movies thrive on flashy coincidences where two star-struck lovers emerge out of nowhere, but, in reality, love grows; it's not fallen into.  A movie of grass growing would take too long, so we always get the cheapened, Hollywood version of love, where the hero swoops in and saves the day in three hours or less.  Yet, in Hollywood, romances crash and burn as quickly as they emerge.

In reality, the things of God come quietly.  Building a love that lasts takes time and trust.

#4:  Waiting for "The One":

We set ourselves up for disappointment when we wait for "the one" who is perfect (in our estimation).  Newsflash: none of us are!  My man is going to have flaws, and so will I.  "Prince charming" is not perfect, and neither are we!  He will be sincerely disappointed if he's looking for a perfect mate in me.

We err when we put people on pedestals, when we place unreasonable expectations on ourselves and others.  When those unreasonable expectations are not met, people fall off our artificial pedestals and we're disappointed.  Really, we should view all people, not just our romantic partners, as people to love and cherish, not as the solution to our every insecurity.

In waiting for "the (perfect) one," we're missing "the ones" standing right in front of us.

Any of this hitting home to you?  Come back next time for more musings on relationships, dating and God.  We'll talk about the Savior Complex, the "Friend Zone," and the Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men.

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