Friday, March 3, 2017

The Lies We Believe About Love


I have a lot of ideals when it comes to relationships. I always have. My completely reasonable high expectations probably have something to do with the fact that I am twenty-two going on twenty-three and single. During the last few years I have come to learn that some of my expectations were less-than-realistic and I have to thank my older sisters mainly for this and for the example they have set in their marriages and relationships. We all have preconceived misconceptions when we walk into relationships and it usually takes a while before we are truly disillusioned. But it’s only when we can be honest and realistic about ourselves, relationships, and marriage that we can successfully navigate relationships and find satisfaction in them. So, what are some of the lies about relationships we tend to believe?

“When it’s right, it will be easy.

I was always taught that true love was difficult and required work, commitment, and sacrifice—and yet I never really believed this. I didn’t want to. I always presumed that when the right person came along everything would be easy. This is simply not true. Maybe it is easy to fall in love with the right person but feeling warm fuzzy feelings for someone does not make a relationship easy or marriage less work. It does not make commitment any less intimidating or sacrifice less painful. All of these other factors that play into a successful relationship are still very real, very necessary, and often times very hard. However, when it is the right person, the sacrifice will be worthwhile. And when both parties are relying on Jesus and following him, the sacrifice is ultimately rewarding.

“I won’t have to change.”

Wrong. You will inevitably change. I hope you change. And I hope you change for the better. Any good relationship requires acceptance for one another, but the best relationships are when both parties have a mutual desire to see the other fulfill his or her potential and there is mutual encouragement and accountability for growth. Jesus Christ exemplifies this by beckoning us to come to Him as we are and yet He does not simply leave us as we are in our estate of sin and misery. The Christian life is about change.  It is about repentance, sanctification, and perpetually putting off our old selves. Don’t find the person who will never change you. Find the person who you know will change you for the better, the person who is following Christ above all else and seeking His Kingdom first. Find the one who seeks your good—your eternal good—and loves you the way Jesus loves you. Because the love of Christ transforms us. His love was designed to change us, so our love for others ought to reflect this kind of love.

“Shared beliefs and values are not important. All that matters is that we love each other.”

We have all been sold the lie that love trumps everything, even your loyalty to Jesus Christ. I believe there will always be conflict and disagreements in any relationship. Maneuvering through conflict and learning to compromise is key to a peaceful healthy marriage. However, there are some things we should never compromise on and faith is one of those non-negotiables in my book. I know a lot of people disagree with me, but God clearly states in His Word “Do not be unequally yoked”(2 Corinthians 6:14). As Christians our loyalty to and love for Jesus Christ must take precedence over anything or anyone else we love. I would contend that if you are willing to compromise on the deepest issues of religion, belief, conviction, and values, then maybe you need to reevaluate how important your faith really is to you. Our faith can never be “just me and Jesus” because God designed his people and his church to live as a community in fellowship with one another and with Him. This brings me to my last point...  

“Community doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we can be together!”

As long as you love each other, you don’t need anyone else, right? Well, not really. Have you ever heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”? I would argue this applies to healthy marriages as well. Having a community that is supportive of your relationship and marriage is essential for a successful godly relationship. Hollywood likes to sell us this “nobody but you and me” version of romance and this is simply not realistic. You need people in your life to hold you both accountable. You need people who are friends of your marriage and the sanctity of your marriage. You need mentors to lead and counsel you. This is so, so important. It doesn’t matter if you find the “perfect man”. If the two of you do not have a supportive shared community of believers or if one party seeks to draw the other away from a healthy community of fellow believers, the relationship is inherently deficient.

Ladies, if he is simply coming to church with you because that’s what you want, that’s not enough. It may be a start, but if he never engages the community and church of believers for himself and if he fails to take initiative in his own personal relationship with God, then all I can say is...drop him like a hot potato. It's not going to work. It doesn’t matter how much you love him or how much he loves you. Your spiritual maturity can never compensate for his lack of maturity.

This is a heavy topic and like most heavy topics, I have really only started to scratch the surface. I would love to hear your input on this subject! What are some standards you have for relationships? Would you add anything to this list? Is there any point I made that you disagree with? Please share!

Related Articles: 
What He Must Be
What's the Issue, Dear? || Why I'm Single
Three Men Who Stole My Heart and What They Taught Me
A Relationship With Jesus Means Commitment to His Church
4 Reasons to Reconsider Praying for Your Future Husband

12 comments :

  1. I have been married for 20 years. It has always been right, hardly ever easy. I'm nowhere near the same person as I was 20 years ago. In my experience, the less you share, the less of a couple you become, and then what's the point? No matter how much two people have in common, friends and outside support through your life, are crucial to being a well balanced, healthy person.
    Andrea
    There is a ridiculous amount I could write on this subject. But essentially, I do agree with everything you have written here.

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    1. Thank you, Andrea! And congrats on twenty years of marriage. ^_^

      Dani xoxo

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  2. Very well put together. Nicole and I will be together nine years in July and I found myself nodding in agreement on every one of your points.

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    1. Thank you so much! Congrats to you and Nicole!! It's hard to believe it's already been nine years. I love seeing the photos and updates of your beautiful family!

      Dani xoxo

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  3. Oh Dani! Your well put thoughts and down-to-earth dealing with issues is so refreshing! I couldn't agree more with this!

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  4. Hello my ever so poetic friend. Yes, we do tell ourselves lies about love...we get caught up in the fantastic feelings of hopeless romanticism...but, to be honest, I will always be caught up on those feelings because I believe in it so very strongly.

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  5. Thanks for directing me to this article, Dani! You made excellent points here, I completely agree.

    From day one of meeting my now husband it's been challenging. I'm from Oklahoma, he's from Wyoming, and we met in New York at a Christian conference. In the year of our friendship turned courtship turned engagement ending in marriage, we spent only 30 days in the same state together. It was not easy! A lot of our relationship I had to rely on what I knew, rather than what I felt. Warm fuzzies simply are not enough to maintain a relationship, and when you live 1200 miles apart, clarity of mind is easy to have, thank the Lord. God grew my understanding of walking with Him through this season exponentially as 'walking by faith' paralleled my relationship with my man. Marriage has been one challenge after another, but I wouldn't trade it for the world as God has been growing my husband and I together and towards Him.

    Changing- This is why the covenant in marriage is so important! Because the fact is, I will change. So will my husband. Sometimes I won't be my husband's favorite version of me. Sometimes I may be downright annoying for a season! But our covenant before God stands no matter what comes, no matter what personality traits surface, no matter what financial challenges we may face.

    Shared beliefs- Amen sister! I know far too many young married couples who spent all their dating/courting/getting to know each other phase hanging out and doing fun things. Always. Not talking about theological matters, discussing financial stewardship, or anything! When the rubber hit the road (marriage!) they were immediately faced with a ton of conflict that could have easily been avoided had they approached their relationship with a sober minded, critical thinking attitude. Fun is fun, I have nothing against that, but with my relationship I wanted to be positive the Lord was leading us the same way- towards marriage, before I let guards down a bit to enjoy the fun side of things. I don't think that's a problem, because it honestly makes marriage even more fun! Not only can you go wherever you want to (alone!) but you can also kiss whenever you want! ;D

    Community- how many couples have you observed that isolate themselves in a little bubble? It's not healthy for them or for others. As the body of Christ we all need each other to motivate one another to grow in Christ and serve others. Community is vitally important- family, friends and church. You're absolutely right on the whole 'if he goes to church just because you want him to- drop him!' As I stated in yesterday's comment, who you are today is who you're going to be after marriage. Don't expect it to change. Only God can change our hearts and we have to be willing to submit and let Him!

    Again, excellent points. Keep pointing to Christ!

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    1. You're from Oklahoma? Me too! *high-fives* Thank you so much for sharing. It is so encouraging to hear from fellow Christians about the faithfulness of God in their lives. And kudos to you and your husband for making it through the long distance. I know several of my friends who met their spouses that way and I also know how difficult it was for them to breech that distance and trust God with the timing of everything.

      Mutual community is something I have been really convicted of in the last couple of years. My three older sisters are all married or well-on-their-way to getting married and their example was a huge testimony to the necessity of a common Biblical community, usually a church and family members, in a healthy relationship.

      Thanks again for sharing! I hope to see you around here in the future. :)

      Dani xoxo

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