Just watch any romantic movie and you’ll see one of the many reasons why there is so much pressure to have the “perfect relationship”. Whether you are single or married, currently looking for someone or in a committed relationship, the stress of #relationshipgoals is real.
I understand that we all long for companionship, for someone who will commit to sickness and health, death do us part. Proof in the pudding? Dating apps, articles on how to improve/start/find/end/grow/keep relationships, bridal magazines, “find the perfect match” quizzes, the list goes on and on. We try and find the perfect relationship that will check off all the “must haves” on our list of expectations.
I remember my very first “crush” in third grade. When he bought me a pop at summer camp, I didn’t know what to do with it. I was literally freaking out. My dad, who was a counselor at the time (probably to keep tabs on my shenanigans), laughed and told me to drink it. But he also warned me that’s all I would be doing since I was only in third grade and didn’t need to concern myself with boys. I’m sure he kept his eye on said “crush” for the rest of the week. So began a long career of “figuring” out what boys were all about, at least until I finally sealed the deal with my husband.
We were made to crave relationship. When God created Adam in the garden, God gave Adam a companion – someone to do life with – and it was good. But somewhere along the way, we’ve begun to idolize that perfect relationship, longing for someone who “completes” us, someone who can complement every part of us, the “perfect” boyfriend or girlfriend, our soul mate. Someone who meets all of our expectations – and surprises us with more.
My husband is amazing. He is gifted with wisdom and logic and really, many of the things that I lack. He sharpens me, challenges me, and loves me with unconditional love. He is the perfect partner for me. But he does not complete me, and he is not perfect.
As a high school teacher, I watch students who obsessively compete for that perfect relationship. They use the hashtag #relationshipgoals on Twitter and Instagram, and they post beautiful photos of idealistic dates and sweet sunset kisses. There is nothing wrong with celebrating these things. What’s wrong is finding and searching for IDENTITY in someone else.
This even happens in marriage relationships. Or when parents have kids. We begin placing our identities, our worth, in other people. Then when those other people let us down, the world crashes around us. When we look for others to “complete” us, we never actually feel complete. We are wildly following a street that will dead end. Perfection is never to be found. It is an impossible dream. And disappointment abounds when we continue to look for the answer to life’s biggest questions in other people.
Don’t get me wrong. Brady is my best friend. But I am constantly tempted to rely on him for my worth. If I am dependent on his compliments, his support, his love for me to find myself, what will happen if he passes away? Will my identity and worth pass away with him? If I am constantly pouring my worth into my daughter Kayden, priding myself in being her mother, her confidant, her main source of advice, and I would lose her, would I lose my sense of purpose?
My family is everything to me.
But my worth? It is not dependent on anything or anyone. For me, my worth is based on God’s unconditional love for me, the fact that He created me and wants the best for me. He gives me purpose. My identity needs to be in the very One who completed me before I was ever even born. Because you see, He never leaves. He never dies. He never walks away. And when my identity is in Christ, I see my husband with different eyes. I see my husband as human, just like me. I am able to drop the expectations and love him like Jesus loves me.
It’s important to have high standards when it comes to your relationships. It’s important to find people who make you better. But it’s most important that those people point you to the One who fills that “perfect relationship” void, because if they don’t, you’ll find yourself constantly being disappointed by the humanness of the people around you.
If you find yourself looking for who you are in someone else, you’ll never be satisfied. If you find yourself seeking approval from people, you’ll never feel worthy. If you find yourself looking for the perfect relationship, you’ll always be disappointed.
If you need to feel complete, you need to find Jesus.
Look for Carrie’s book, Choose: An Invitation to the Best Day Ever Adventure, to launch on October 10, 2017. If you’re interested in getting an early copy and being part of her Street Team, e-mail Carrie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re interested in more posts about relationships, check out this post about boyfriends/girlfriends in high school or this post about relationship red flags.
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