Nobody enters into a relationship expecting to be played a fool. But somewhere along the line our hopes, dreams, fears, expectations, insecurities and a miriad of other variables get the better of us and we lose ourselves to the folly of the game. ‘The Game’, however, always involves two people and each is responsible for 50% of what happens inside the relationship (and after, if it should fail). We got junk. They got junk. Period. How do we handle the junk…that is the question and I believe what TRULY will decide whether two people are ever going to make it out of foolishness and into blissfullness.
We in the Christian community are encouraged not to date those who are unequally yoked. On the surface this means that a Christian should not, for instance, date an Athiest. Or a Budhist. Or any other faith that is not in agreement with the Christian faith. The spiritual direction is completely off and because we are spiritual beings, it will most certainly create a conflict somewhere down the line. This is not just true for Christians but of anyone who has a faith. Or no faith. I’ve learned over the course of my dating years that unequal yoking goes deeper than just surface spirituality. If a woman respects a man, but he doesn’t respect her, they are unequally yoked. If a man is overweight but makes comments frequently about his girl having less than a magazine cut out body, they are unequally yoked. If he shuts her up or she shuts him out or he shuts her in or she shuts him down, they are unequally yoked. If either of them are self seeking and self serving, they are unequally yoked. The common elements that make a relationship work are not boxed in only for the benefit of Christians, though. They are worldly guidelines that are useful and beneficial to our finding someone that fits us, not necessarily perfectly, but ‘rightly’, for anybody looking to find someone special to share their life with.
It seems so simple to me when read on paper, but here are some relationship indicators to let us know where we might be in the process.
Are you being played a fool?
*There’s an unsettling sense [or outright profession] of being rejected.
*There’s a lot of travelling – on guilt trips
*There is ‘punishment’ for actions
*Someone is always on guard
*Gifts, looks, aspirations, opinions, etc. are frowned upon or not acknowledged
*There is doubt and lack of trust
*There is jealousy
*Restrictions are set and someone feels boxed in
*Conversations are self-centered with little interest for the other
*Intimacy is lost [emotionally speaking]
*Sacrifices made are one directional
*There is no committment to anything (doesn’t necessarily have to be to marriage – just to making an effort)
When you are not being played a fool.
*There is fulfillment
*There is a mutual seeking to understand and know who each other are
*There is safety, self-worth is preserved and heightened, and mutual nurturing of each other
*You delight in each other
*The ‘head over heals’ feeling does not die after the initial getting to know you phase, but continues and increases over time
*You each want to know each other as individuals; with no intention to change who they are; unconditional acceptance
*There is courage and conviction to devote your lives to getting to know one another honestly and with integrity
There is more to each of these lists, but this tips the iceburg. I say that it looks so simple on paper, but our human nature/condition is so complex and complicated. Our baggage tends to weigh in heavily when we are feeling lonely or deprived or unloved. We will settle for anything less than perfect for some morsel of validation. Some morsel of relief. I’ve heard it said and I’ve used the term on many occassions…but we’re so thirsty for attention/love/affection/affirmation/SOMETHING that when walking in the desert, at the sight of a mirage, we’ll drink the sand. But we soon find out that drinking sand is not quenching at all, but actually causes all kinds of discomfort. And so it goes with our world of instant gratification and needing to know satisfaction RIGHT NOW. But anything worth having is worth the wait. Each person we meet along life’s journey offers us the opportunity to understand further who we are and what we deserve. We deserve nothing less than absolute adoration. And that IS out there for each of us. Sometimes it takes a fight but some things are worth fighting for. But we have to know and understand enough about another person to know if they are worth fighting for. We can’t just fight for them because we NEED someone. If they have any ONE of the qualities listed under ‘Are you being played a fool’, they are absolutely NOT worth fighting for. It’s time to let them go. Know we deserve more/better than that, pick ourselves up, and try again. Hopefully next time we’ll recognize the cues so that we don’t even go there. Perseverance builds character. And, we can learn a little something from light bulbs…
When Thomas Edison was interviewed by a young reporter who boldly asked Mr. Edison if he felt like a failure and if he thought he should just give up by now. Perplexed, Edison replied, “Young man, why would I feel like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp.” And shortly after that, and over 10,000 attempts, Edison invented the light bulb.
Hopefully it won’t take any of us 10,000 tries, but we will be successful not when we find the right one, but because we continue to believe in who we are and what we are worth and what it is we are pursuing. Our other half will be realized when we know full well the number of ways that don’t work for us.
For those of us who have good guys (or gals) who show no evidence of treating us a fool, I think I might have more to say about that thing called hope that keeps us holding on…but I have to ponder it a bit more. Stay tuned.