Most people want to be accepted for who they are. Additionally, accepted and appreciated for whom they are not. All too often people confuse the person he/she is (the one God made them to be from birth) with the person they have chosen to be. We are a combination of both. If we accept that the person we are today is going to be the person we will be in the future, we accept a life of stagnation just adding years to our lives. God has so many mind-blowing things in store for us, if we would just allow Him to work in us. But the first step in that direction is submitting wholeheartedly to Him. Then making a deliberate effort.
Consider the echoes of the past and present of, ‘I am not changing for anyone.’ Really? Not even for God? Not even for yourself? Not even for the one we claim to love more than anything in the world and whom we said we would do anything for? We need to ensure we truly mean what we say, and say what we mean.
Have we thought about who we are? I mean gotten REALLY honest with ourselves? Have we considered that our past experiences alone are not enough to know how to have a great marriage relationship? However, we shouldn’t minimize their importance either. Have we dreamed, prayed and/or meditated as to how we would love and show the significant other in our life how much they mean to us, and how much we love them? A lot of what we need and want is what they need and want.
Conversely, perhaps we should give ourselves more credit than we have given ourselves. Also, if we believe that certain characteristics about us are what God wants us to have and is supported by credible relationship mentors, then we should not stray from that either. It’s a balancing act.
It is interesting how we want to be loved and accepted, but then do not look at how part of whom we are, is how we do things within our relationships. And not everything in the manner in which we do things is conducive to a MUTUALLY fulfilling, functional, joyous, intimate, passionate, long-term, high growth and committed relationship.
Let’s consider a comparison: In the first example, we base our relationship skills and knowledge on our experiences alone. Consider whom we have modeled, starting with our parents. Then consider the second half of that – our own experiences within our own serious relationships/marriages. That is crawling from New York to California – painful and tedious.
In the second example, we consider the ones in the first example. ADDITIONALLY, we enhance our understanding by: Reading books, most prominently the Bible if we are Christians; speaking with a counselor, religious leaders, and/or trustworthy friends that have some valuable and credible relationship knowledge and will not judge us. Most importantly we spend some time soul-searching as to who we are, who we aren’t and what our legitimate dreams and needs are. We also consider what we want to GIVE to our current/future relationship/spouse. Lastly, you unravel what didn’t work in the past and what did, as well as what that means in the future. That’s flying to California from New York. Why would you crawl when you could fly? This isn’t to say we shouldn’t enjoy the journey, but after we get to California, there will be other places to go. Everyone is ready to BE LOVED and fulfilled within a relationship, but not everyone is ready TO LOVE the other person. Remember that love is a verb, in addition to an adjective and noun.
If we have been in (a) relationship(s) in the past, starting from when we were children, where we were beaten down, abused, were never encouraged and never shown what love really is, then we need to work on not being so hard on ourselves and knowing our worth to God first. Then knowing our worth to ourselves. No one should submit to a tyrant/dictator within a relationship – big difference. We can be our own worst critics also.
To a person who has been through this, it might appear what is being said here is brutal, but that’s not the intention. Rather, we have additional work to do before we can expect to have a great marriage, and we need to come to the realization that the marriage we need, want and expect in the future isn’t the relationship(s) we had in the past. We need to put ourselves in our partner’s shoes. Remember that our partner wants what we want too – to be valued, appreciated, loved and connected. So we have a part to play too. Love should be a dance, a two-way street. It should be 100/100, not 50/50. That is the only way it can grow. The only way we can become one flesh and thrive together, not just survive.
Why is all this the most important thing in life? We were built to be this way, experience it, God’s greatest instructions entail it, it is one of the sources of the problems in the world, it can transform our lives, our partner’s, our friends and extended family members and maybe most importantly our kids. The future of the world is in our hands – our kids are our greatest resource. We say our kids mean more to us than anything in the world, right? We want them to be happy and fulfilled too? If they do not have a positive model to follow, how are they supposed to know what to look for and how to do it when they become adults? It is our responsibility as adults to teach them this through indirect, non-verbal instruction through our relationship with our spouses. Moreover, what are we going to be left with when the kids leave the nest?
All in all, it’s a process of unlearning what leads to dysfunction, and learning what leads to mutual fulfillment and functionality. There is no substitute for due diligence.
‘For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.’ (1 Corinthians 13:12)
‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ (Romans 12:2)