We all have had relationships. They have extremes going from really good to tragically bad. Thankfully most fall somewhere in the middle.
A disclaimer, I only ever write my own observations, and my own life experiences. It may include bits and pieces from materials I have read, but my thoughts are my own. That being said, I’m no excuse for professional counseling, I don’t have a degree or a license, and I didn’t’ even stay at a Best Western last night. Sorry, I’ve always wanted to say that.
I am an introverted person. I’m not the one you see in the middle of a large group of people making friends. I have a couple of really good friends, and that’s it. I know I could use some more, but I am picky when it comes to my friends.
Relationship Number 1 – With Christ Jesus
The first, and most important relationship that anyone can have is a relationship with God through Christ Jesus. I believe C.S. Lewis said it best when he said:
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
When it comes to dating relationships there are multiple kinds out there. Sadly I’ve fallen as the bad party in a lot of these relationships.
Relationship Number 2 – Intimate and dating relationships
I don’t want to be alone.
There is the type of relationship that springs fourth from not wanting to be alone. Very recently I’ve had the encounter with a woman who was like this. She has 2 wonderful kids, and I dated her for a time. I wasn’t ready for it then, and I was a total mess so it didn’t work. I was entertaining the idea of dating her again, but I was hesitant because it always felt like she wanted to date me so she wouldn’t be alone. Don’t’ get me wrong, I’m certain she liked me, but it wasn’t a good fit.
A long time ago, before my ex-wife, this was me. I didn’t want to be alone. I wanted a partner. As I mentioned earlier, I am an introvert. I don’t have a lot of friends, and the ones I do I hold really close. I love them all as if they are my family. I wanted desperately to have a woman in this group so I wasn’t alone. In high school I couldn’t be alone. I always had a backup relationship ready for when I felt like the relationship was falling apart. I wasn’t like that to hurt the girls, but to protect myself.
Sex = Love
This type of relationship is often tied together with quick sexuality, and the ever so present sex is love mentality. This is something I still struggle with to this day, but nowhere to the extent that I did when I wore a younger man’s cloths. I was very active when I was younger, but I wasn’t active to “sleep around”. I’ve only ever had one or two one night stands. I don’t like being intimate with someone I have no feelings for. I have always confused having sex with someone as being in love with them. There are very few women I’ve dated that I actually loved. I can count on one hand that feeling.
Sadly, those women that I did truly love felt the burden of over attachment from me. All I wanted to do was be with them. I was really clingy towards them, and when we broke up it would devastate me. I can think of two girls that this happened with. One of which was a girl I went to school with. When we broke up it devastated me. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even stand to see her. I went out of my way to avoid any route that she might take. The town where I grew up is pretty small, so that meant going way out of my way. I would go as far as 5 miles out of my way, just so I wouldn’t see her. She accused me of stalking her, but it was the exact opposite. I had heard one day that she moved into apartments here in town, so I changed my route to not see her. Well sadly, she moved to the other set of apartments and I drove right past her. Yea that one hurt.
I’ve been on the receiving end of this as well. I dated a crazy girl my senior year in high school on and off a few times. She was obsessed with me. She would call me at all hours and would threaten suicide if I didn’t want to talk to her. It was really messed up. Thankfully, I was never like that about a girl.
On a bright point, I did end up coming to Christ as a result of my overly attached relationship.
Apathy and not wanting to be alone (again)
Several of the relationships I have been in have been filled with apathy. Sadly, my marriage was like that too. It’s the kind of relationship you get into because you kind of like the person, you can stand them, but they aren’t everything in the world to you. I was going to say that I’ve never been on the receiving end of one of these, but that’s not true. At the end my ex was like this towards me.
The other types of relationships are bad, but this is the worst. You are in this relationship merely for routine more than anything. It is just to check a box and have someone else to share things with, even if they aren’t the right person for you. Staying in this relationship tends to come from the fear of being alone and not being able to find anything better out there.
This is the hardest and most devastating of all relationships, at least for me. I have had a crush on the same girl for almost two decades now. I noticed her in middle school, and she has always been my true ideal ever since.
Now that I’m divorced and have 3 kids, I don’t believe I am good enough for her. She loves the Lord and deserves someone that isn’t broken like me. I don’t talk to her often, though I’m friends with her on Facebook.
My feelings for her aren’t as strong for her as they once were, but they will never go away. I just have told myself I can’t act upon them no matter how much I may want to.
The Happy Normal Relationship full of love
While no relationship is perfect, this type of relationship may contain pieces of the above, but they have moved beyond them and has become something genuine. Two fallen broken people have come together and have scars that are compatible enough that they make it through the rest of their lives together.
This type of relationship is rare today. Even when married so many people focus on me, rather than us. That’s the real trick to these type of relationships. They chose to love the other person no matter what. This is what God wants all of our marriages to be like.
I was at the zoo with the kids this weekend, and I saw happy couples. It actually made me really sad because that is what I long for. Someone to share my joy and my pain with. Someone who will love the kids and treat them like the gifts they are.
Relationship Number 3 – Family & Children
Our family relationships are very important. They help define who we are. They can be good, or bad, but they define us. We are called to cleave, to separate ourselves from our parents when we get married. Marriages are meant to last forever and form a new family unit. It’s the way God designed it.
I believe that the most important family anyone should have is between them, their spouse, and their children. At least when they are married.
Our children are gifts, entrusted to us by God to raise in the way that they should go. They are to grow up and become their own people, leave the home, and start a life of their own.
In our society today, we treat our children as a burden, rather than a gift. We lock them at home so we can work and do other things that are important to us. We are raising a generation of latch-key children. So many of us, myself included at times, miss the point. We want to be friends with our children, or we want to rule our children with an iron fist. Many kids don’t have rules because all they believe we are supposed to do is love our children.
In the book of Proverbs Chapter 13 verse 24 it says:
“Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
I believe we’ve gone from one extreme to another as a society, and there is a place in between where we should be. I often struggle to find this. I fall more towards the totalitarian side than the love side, but I am constantly working on tempering that. The more I can temper that the more I see my children grow. Truth in love is the key, I just don’t have it figured out quite yet.
To be continued:
I’m going to split this into a second part and do another post soon on the different types of friendship relationships, as well as acquaintances, and maybe strangers if I’m feeling daring.
Feel free to leave comments below with your thoughts and ideas. I welcome an exchange of ideas, and alternate viewpoints.