There is no such thing as the perfect life partner. Sorry not sorry to burst your Hollywood bubble.
It takes two imperfect people to make a mature decision to do life together and keep to that decision come what may. Some would say – and rightfully so – that the success of the union is largely dependent on the two people in it. So the better your choice of your significant other, the better your odds.
But how does one go about making a “better” choice? If the litany of articles, books, movies, courses…on the subject is anything to go by, it’s a question plaguing many minds. Yet I find it ironic that the focus is usually on the other person when in real sense the only one you have any say over is yourself.
I’m here for the tide of change that’s navigating the conversation away from finding a good partner and steering it towards becoming a good partner. Part of why I started this monthly Marriage Bed series, was to help us be better. Yes us, because I drink from this well before anyone else does. This is the last place you’ll find anything about changing the other person. The focus is squarely on you.
It’s difficult to judge the suitability of a person as a life partner – including yourself – solely based on who they are right now. Because that’s not who they’re going to be a season or twenty from now.
Anyone who’s been in a long term relationship, whether dating or married, can tell you that the person they started off with isn’t who their partner is today. Neither are they. We all grow and evolve over time. We continually change and adapt and this could be in a positive or negative way.
I don’t blame the world for some of the messes people find themselves in because quite frankly they don’t know any better. Darkness and light don’t comprehend one another. They can only do the best they know how.
But my standard for anyone who claims to be a Christian, more so a spirit-filled one, is through the roof. Why? We have a treasure that the world doesn’t have – the Holy Spirit.
While you may not know for sure who you’ll transform into, who your significant other will be years down the line, and even if the future versions of yourselves will have the capacity to sustain your relationship, there is Someone who does. The Holy Spirit. As One who is omniscient, He is intricately aware of our past, present and future. He knows who we’ll be at the end of a season before we even take our first step into it.
Unfortunately, far too many of us want to use the Holy Spirit on our terms. There are plenty of people who have God on emergency standby. The only time He’s ever dragged into their life/relationship is when there’s trouble. In every other thing, God has no say and place. You’d think it’d be obvious that you can’t game God but when feelings and desires get in the way, our ability to reason gets clouded pretty fast.
If all you’re hungry for is an okay relationship, then you’ll settle for what is okay in your sight and you’ll get exactly what you want. If you’re hungry for more, if you’re hungry for what only God can give you, then you need to accept that you can’t live by the same standards as the okay person. The cost you have to pay is infinitely higher because what you’re getting is infinitely more valuable.
I’ve come to accept that not everyone is willing to pay the price for more. Many will talk a good game but when it comes to making the hard choices, they falter at every turn. Is it a wonder we perennially turn our attention to the other person? Indeed, it’s easier to pick out the speck in their eye than address the log in ours. We want them to change while we stubbornly remain the same.
“The proof of your desire is in your pursuit.”
– Mike Murdoch
This is ultimately what it comes down to.
If you’re single, do you tick all the boxes of the ideal partner list you’re expecting someone else to meet? What does it require for you to become the best life partner you can be? What are you willing to live with? What are you not willing to settle for? Go to God with that. Pray for yourself for a change. Find rest knowing that there’s someone else out there who God is leading through the very same process. And when the time is right, He’ll bring the two of you together with your focus aright – first on Him, then on each other.
If you’re dating, it’s all the more important that you answer these questions. Don’t waste someone else’s future spouse if you’re not ready to commit for the long haul. Don’t waste their time and emotions when you know full well you’re looking for a quick fix…for a distraction. You may not put a ring on their finger but you better believe God will hold you accountable for how you’ve treated them.
If you’re married, my prayer for you is as it is for myself – that the Lord would help me grow daily in becoming a better spouse for the person whose heart He entrusted me with. It’s a sacred trust I don’t take lightly. Neither should you.