Today I want to talk about relationships.
And I’m going to talk to girls.
Almost every Christian girl I know has a list of traits that her future guy must have, or not have. And they’re pretty specific, too. Of course you have the generic ones–Christian, loves his mom, and protector. But then you have the other ones. Never swears. Dresses like a gentleman. Knows how to do laundry. Can cook. Has a good job. Volunteers to play with puppies in his free time. You get the picture.
All of these are great traits. However, I think that often we start to look at guys as numbers checked off on a list, instead of who they actually are–people.
And often I see girls wait for their perfect guy, and wait and wait and wait. And he never comes. So instead of just reevaluating their standards they decide “Screw it all” and go for the extreme, and end up hurt and feeling like a fool.
But I think that most of this stems from a lack of understanding of what it actually means to have a meaningful relationship. From my own experience and watching a lot of people go through great (or awful) relationships, I started to re-shape how I saw the whole thing.
So here are five thoughts that have changed my way of viewing relationships, which are somewhat against what I’ve been told all my life.
1. He can still be a good guy, even if he struggles with sin
Newsflash: he’s human. And guys find it a lot harder than girls with a lot of sins.
I know a lot of great Christian guys who are going to make some girl really happy. But most girls would completely look them over, because of their crazy-high standards. They swear every now and then, they like to grab a beer with their friends, etc. I’m not saying that these aren’t important, or excusable–I believe that as Christians we are called to aim for perfection. However, I am saying that if you choose to focus on the one fault they have rather than the person as a whole you may be missing out on something amazing.
Now, if that sin is a real deal-breaker (like they’re into something messed up or do drugs or something), then yes, it’s a good reason. But for the most part I think we expect too often these guys who are imperfect human beings to become this perfect man-god for us to worship.
Here’s something I’ve had to come to understand: I’m human. And so is he.
2. He’s Still Young
Guys tend to take a lot longer to be ready for a settled life than girls do. Lots of guys also aren’t taught the skills that girls are when they’re kids, so don’t know how to cook, clean, do laundry, manage money, or run a household. And yeah, this can seem childish and frustrating, but remember that he is still young. He’s learning, and these kinds of things take time.
I’m not saying you should date someone if they’re totally inept and have no interest in helping out at all–but if they are willing to learn and try to grow up, encourage them in that, and help them along! Just don’t write someone off simply because they aren’t a man yet–that will come with time.
3. Stop Picking on Him!
A lot of girls are actually really mean to their boyfriends behind their back. Talk about the stupid things he did, rant about his annoying habits, make fun of his hobbies… it’s sad, really.
You want a meaningful relationship? Then stop being mean. If you wouldn’t want him to talk about the times you’ve embarrassed him, what he doesn’t like about you, or how you could be a better girlfriend with all of his guys, then don’t talk about him with all of your girls.
Now, there’s a difference between gossiping and talking things out with your best friend. I believe everyone should have someone they can tell everything to outside of the relationship. But it’s unnecessary to tell everything to everyone, and it’s actually a pretty jerk-ish thing to do.
Instead of focusing on his faults, why not build him up instead? Tell him what he’s good at, and encourage him when you see him improving in something he’s been working on. If something is really bothering you, talk to him about it like adults and get it resolved. Either you’ll realize that you overreacted or he’ll apologize and try to fix it, if the relationship is healthy. Just don’t be mean, and don’t be a gossip.
4. You Are Not the Most Important Thing in his Life
At least, you shouldn’t be.
In chick flicks you always see the guy just fawning over the girl day in and day out–catering to her every desire, never getting enough of her.
But in reality, that rarely happens. Or if it doesn’t, it’s short-lived. And that’s healthy! Especially while you’re so young. If it’s exam time, give him space. If he wants to hang out with the guys, let him! Don’t smother the poor boy! If he doesn’t text you back for a few hours, it doesn’t mean he hates you. He probably was just too busy to have a real conversation.
Now, if he’s taking you for granted and not showing any effort, that’s not good, and I would seriously reconsider the relationship. But just because someone isn’t giving 100% of their time and energy to you doesn’t mean that he’s a bad guy or a bad boyfriend–it just means that he has other things in his life which he also values.
You need to understand that yes, you are his girlfriend. But no, you are not his world. Until you are married you are two separate entities–you are individuals, not one single being. His family should come before you, and God will always come first. You are third. God, family, girlfriend–and that’s how it should be.
So don’t get mad at him if he ditches you for a family dinner. Don’t get hurt if he can’t hang out because he’s got an exam the next day. And don’t feel betrayed if he wants to go out with the guys and you aren’t invited–this is all healthy, and part of an adult relationship.
5. Stop Trying to Find Mr. Right
…and become Miss. Right instead.
I honestly think most girls are just delusional when it comes to guys. We paint this picture of a perfect man in our heads, and just hope that he’ll come along someday. But think about yourself–can you honestly check off everything in your own list, when it’s applied to you? Are you asking more of some guy than you do of yourself?
Most of the time I find that girls have a pretty selfish worldview about this whole thing–I want you to be perfect, but don’t expect me to change.
You can’t go looking for a relationship with the sole purpose of finding someone to complete you, or make your world perfect. It just won’t happen.
He’s going to have faults. He’s going to have struggles. Your job, in a relationship, is not to find the perfect guy for you–it’s to become the perfect woman for him. Your job is to help him overcome those battles, teach him skills he may not have yet, and encourage him in his walk with God. The only perfect being in your relationship is Jesus, and if you believe your man is perfect you’re only fooling yourself.
So spend this time and learn how to become a better woman of God. Read your Bible, pray, serve, be a good friend, listen to people’s problems, offer to help when your friend is in need–learn how to become the kind of person other people want to be around, because your focus is so totally off yourself and so totally on God.
Relationships can be messy, but they can also be a lot of fun, and a great learning experience. So don’t stress too much about perfection, and instead focus on the One who is Perfection, and he will work everything out.