These past few months have been interesting, it’s as if someone turned on a switch. For the first time, I’m really giving a lot of thought to my future. I thought that I’d take some time to reflect back and try to make a succinct thought on what my expectations are for my next relationship. At the same time I thought it would be great to look back at some of my previous thoughts, and see how they have evolved. Since turning 34, I’ve been really thinking about my future, both marriage and career. I’m not one to just jump into anything blindly, call me cautiously optimistic, I’m also the type that has to HAVE A PLAN! I know some of you neurotics will get this. Of course in preparing for this post I wrote down a few key points that I thought I should cover, but as things go, that plan quickly went out the window. Before I get into it, I wanted to make clear that I’m currently reading a book called “The Sacred Search- What if it’s not about who you marry, but why” by Gary Thomas. I wanted to state this upfront because as I was reading, I realized that many of the points I was making in my previous posts, were more succinctly made in this book. I’ll do my best at being clear about what are my thoughts and what are from The Sacred Search.
The One, a single person’s Unicorn!!
Movies and society seems to have a narrative about “The One” when you find them, they will complete you, make you feel whole, they’ll be your light in the darkness. This person posses something you lack. It’s interesting though, after a break-up you hear a totally different narrative, work on yourself first, learn to love yourself, you need to heal yourself before you move on. So of the two which is true, they’re opposite points so they both can’t be true. In Sacred Search, Gary Thomas points out a possible hurdle with thinking that “The One” will complete you. You see when you depend on someone else to make you whole, you’re coming from a place of weakness. We’re all human and have our own faults, what happens when that person isn’t physically able to carry you? What happens when the stresses of life and work are too great for them to carry, and have to carry you too? That could create a situation where that person feels too much pressure, and when they’re not able to carry you, what then, how will you go on? In contrast coming from a place of worth and self-confidence in yourself, you don’t need another person to carry you through the relationship. For me what I’ve noticed is that relationships should be Mutually Beneficial, instead of the other person picking you up and carrying you. If you’re both there to guide each other on your respective paths, if the other person is physically incapable of guiding you at a certain point, you’ll be more than capable of helping yourself. Because you already possess the strength to carry yourself, you’re also capable of helping your partner through their difficult times. Life isn’t always what we imagine, sometimes you finally get that dream job, and it’s not as you’ve imagined. What happens when the insatiable romance fades, what happens when you get to know the other person better, and they’re not everything you thought they’d be? If life has thought us anything, it’s that in most cases when you put a person on a pedestal, most of the time they don’t have the qualities you thought they had.
We just had Sex, OH I think I LOVE YOU!
I’m no Scientist or even a psychologist, but why is it that when you have sex with someone, after being intimate for the first time, or even after a few times, you find yourself thinking, wow are they “The One”? Perhaps Science can help explain this better than I can, there are chemicals that are released in our bodies. One such chemical is the hormone Oxytocin (also known as the love or bonding hormone)which is released after sex, and makes you feel more connected to your partner. One of it’s effects is the desire to cuddle, while this hormone is present in both male and female, they do effect them differently. The human body and brain are very complex, and the various chemicals released could cause a false sense of a connection that might not be there. Instead of just focusing on the strong feelings you get after sex, or in the beginning of a relationship, Sacred Search cautions us to wait until at least after the 1st year before we make any big commitments. I’ve seen first hand friends’ relationships that end, and you hear the old saying “I don’t know who you are anymore.” While physical attraction and sexual chemistry are important. A healthy sex life does more than satiate your sexual urges, it creates a deeper connection (chemically). That’s why it’s ultimately important, for the longevity of your relationship, that you’re in it for more than the sexual chemistry and physical attraction. Gary Thomas points out this is the reason it’s important to also base your relationship on deeper things such as Values, Beliefs, and Life-Goals. Ask any married couple, that insatiable sex drive eventually fades. Of course there are exceptions to that rule, you probably know of a couple that are even more intimate than when they first met many years ago.
I’m committed to you, WELL except for A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I. Besides that though, I’m totally committed!
In my naive mind, I saw a relationship as something you stick to for the long run, well that is unless you come across major differences. In that case, sure divorce might be an option. Not to get biblical or anything, but the Bible never saw marriage that way. When you get married you’re committing to stay together forever, and work out your differences. Now you’re probably thinking “What if my spouse develops or I uncover some serious problems?” That’s why asking yourself “Why am I getting married” rather than who you’re marrying is so important. Gary Thomas suggests that instead of being blinded by the Intense Infatuation you feel in the beginning, remember the chemicals in your body are automatically giving you a false sense of connection to that person. We should find out about the other person, ask questions to see if our values and beliefs are aligned. Remember it’s possible to feel intensely connected to a person, and then find out they’re verbally or physically abusive. Sadly many people still stay in these relationships. In my writing and reflection I did in the past few months, that’s the conclusion I came to also. When you make a commitment, it’s FOREVER, through sickness and health, for better or worse, in richer or poorer. People are inherently flawed, we all have our battles we’re fighting, and at some level you cant hold it against your spouse for also being broken. At the same time though, when buying a car or a house we do our research, and marriage is supposed to last longer than all of those things. We can’t be naive, we should definitely ask the tough questions, sure we may have to walk away from that relationship, and breaking up is HARD. Not to sound insensitive, but if we choose the wrong person to spend the rest of our lives with, we’re going to end up doing much more damage to both of us, and our families that have to endure those relationships.
Seriously GOD why haven’t you given me a perfect Wife/Husband Yet!
“Have I done all that I can?” “Have I put in the WORK?” These are a few of the questions I started asking myself a few months back, not just about my relationships, but about my career also. In my reflection I found that I sometimes came from a perspective of privilege, feeling that I’ve worked hard enough, I DESERVE to get it easy now. That of course is a fundamental flaw in looking at life through that lens. Life doesn’t care if you’ve been good or bad, whether you’ve worked hard or not. It will be life, it will have it’s good moments of immense joy and jubilation; and it will also have it’s moments of deep despair. How we approach each situation depends on us, when you put in the work you get to reap the benefits. Aside from a few fortunate ones, many people that are rich are that way because they have sacrificed a lot to get there. There’s no easy road. Whether you’re religious or not, have you found yourself saying “God why haven’t you sent me the perfect wife/husband yet?” I didn’t know this, but as far as biblical references, aside from a handful of times, God never specifically ordained a spouse for anyone. When talking about marital choices the bible talks about “wise or unwise” choices. I know that Romance movies idolizes two people meeting, that were destined to be together. What we’re forgetting though is that those are the exceptions not the rule. We’d all like to feel special, but for most of us we have to work hard for what we want. If you want a dream spouse, then you have to go out and find her/him
For those that are embarking on that journey to find the partner that’s best suited for them. I hope these few words can help guide you in your decisions. Relationships are inherently hard, we don’t need to create our own obstacles. Whether you’re thinking about marriage, or just looking for a long-term relationship, we have to go into it with as much information as possible. Making a bad decision is already painful enough, but if you can avoid it all together, why not take that extra step. As always go with love, and may you find peace and joy as you embark on your journey.