I’m not a fan of dating. Nor am I its poster child.
My current position on dating? It’s awkward. Who texts first? How many days do you wait before seeing each other again? What do you wear? I’ve been on some very sweet, well-planned dates and I’ve been on other dates that have been frustrating, to say the least. But there comes a point in a string a thoughtful and pleasant dates where you decide if you really like the guy.
Scenario A: If you’re anything like me, suddenly that poor fella is on a pedestal. But he’s not just standing on it. You’ve dipped his feet in cement and stuck him high above you. How am I worthy of your presence, oh sincere-handsome-clever one?
Not healthy. You can already tell that this relationship is doomed for fantastic failure.
Scenario B: Once again, let’s role play here- you are me. Ugh, this just isn’t going anywhere. I don’t like the way he parts his hair, or the neon shoelaces he wears in his shoes. And what’s with the funky laugh? Who’s on the pedestal now? You’ve got it. I am.
Yet again. Not healthy. Not even cool.
Once in my dating past, I referred to my always-wise mother for her motherly advice on what I should do about a guy I was seeing. Think Scenario B. I was giving this guy one more shot to see if I could “get over” the little grievances that were obscuring my vision. Because in all fairness, he was a very sweet man who was passionate about his occupation and went “all-in” on life. I just couldn’t get past what I saw to be fatal flaws. So in her infinite wisdom, my mom said a phrase I’ll never forget: “Just remember, he’s just a boy. Just like you are just a girl.”
Here I was thinking I was the one in control and I knew what would work and what wouldn’t. I was on the pedestal. Heck, I was Queen of Relationshipville.. And in one half of a second, my mom brought me back down to earth in her kind, gentle, and loving way.
She’s right, you know. A relationship should never be about who’s above the other. It’s not about who is in control. From what I’ve experienced and learned from role-model relationships around me, it’s about partnership. It’s about celebrating and encouraging the great things in the other person and loving their worst parts. Because guess what? There are some things about me that aren’t so pretty. In fact, they’re downright ugly. So who am I to pick out the things I find frustrating without looking inward? There’s a Bible verse that I think applies here:
“It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this I-know-better-than-you mentality again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your own part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.” (Luke 6:42)
A relationship: Offering the washcloth after you have removed your own mistakes.