Single Parent Faith

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Our Happiness— Expectations We Place on Partners

For those of us who are single and ready for that special relationship, if we are not wise, we may unwittingly set ourselves up for failure when we begin our search upon a foundation that is error-laden.

This happens when we put our hope in ideals and fantasies we have about relationships. One such fantasy is that a new man or woman, the “right one” of course, will deliver us into a realm of happily ever. This concept often assigns the responsibility to the other person, to take us there. In essence, we have heaped a lot of expectations upon the role that this person must fulfill. We basically rest on them as our foundation for our happiness.

When embarking on such a fantasy, inevitably it is interrupted when the discovery is made that “they” no longer “make us happy.” Or as I was once told, “You are no fun any more.” The fantasy ends with one or both bolting away from the relationship in search for another “they” to fill this unrealistic perception of relationships and love.

I would like to say that I am describing what teens and children do, but unfortunately, this type of behavior is repeated throughout all adult age groups. In fact, I would venture to say that children are more mature than this, than to bolt at the first signs of reality. After all, they have a lot of practice putting up with adults.

A friend of mine recently lost a lot of weight. When I saw her she said with enthusiasm, “Now all I need is a man to be my motivation to keep losing!” My heart hurt for her when I heard this. When we assign to someone else other than ourselves, this role of driver and catalyst for change, we essentially sign away our power and place it in the hands of another. Nothing long term and sustainable results when this happens. A few years back she lost a lot of weight and met a man who swept her off her feet. She assigned him then, the role as her catalyst to continue losing weight. In less than 2 weeks he was prophesing he loved her, in over a month they were engaged. Then out of nowhere he disappeared and would not return her calls. I think you know where I am going with this. Sadly similar scenarios have occurred to a variety of people, though the details may vary, the outcome is typically the same. When the relationship ends, the weight comes flying back on.


Because we heap our expectations of deliverance onto someone else. We give the other person the role that we must own. We are constantly looking for someone else to make us happy. Weight issues are never just about liking food too much. If you dig deeper you will discover the root cause. This can be said for any addiction, not just food.

Running away can be an addiction, also.

Some adults are addicted to remaining perpetually in childhood.

I know someone who kept coming into my life, then bolting at the first sign of anything he was not equipped to handle, basic life and relationship skills.  When I let someone into my life, I have to take responsibility for my choice. If instead I focus entirely on what he did or didn’t do, and his issues as I perceive them, then I am pouring all my energies into something I have no business doing: living someone else’s life for them. In the interim, who is living mine? My job is to see what this is to teach me about me. My life requires I pour my energy into solving my own mysteries. Making my own discoveries about myself, and learning where I need to grow.  

In the initial phase of dating, before you make the decision to go on that first date, the second, and so on, you must have an understanding of yourself—What your core values are, what you believe, what you struggle with, where you need to grow, whether you want to grow, and what are you doing about it? Without this, you cannot determine clear character traits this person must possess and won’t be capable of differentiating if they are present, or have the strength to say “no” to the wrong relationship if it appears in a deceiving shiny attractive package.

But first, one must come to terms with the expectations of the role for each adult participant. We cannot assign to the other, the ownership of our happiness. Our foundation must be sturdier and more solid than to put it in the hands of flawed human beings.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
Its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”  (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

Notice that this bible passage is clearly expressing reality, not a fantasy. It foretells that heat will come. It doesn’t say “if” but “when” heat comes. It doesn’t say “if” a drought arrives, but ”in a year of drought” meaning to expect droughts to come. The reality is that these challenges happen on earth, just as they happen in relationships. When the heat arrives, what do you do? Do you run? When things get uncomfortable, tough, do you run? If we do not put our confidence in the Lord, which is a steady foundation with life pulsating roots that run deep and whose source is living waters, we are putting our confidence in someone (the other person in the relationship) who is flawed. When you base your foundation on something flawed, it will succumb to fear when the problems and challenges arrive, as they always do in every relationship.

The person who believes in fantasy, believes that there is a relationship (just around the corner, possibly the next one) where they will not experience any discomfort or sacrifice. It will always be “fun” and light and require no work out of them. Wee!

Reminds me of the passage,
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a childWhen I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” (1Corinthians 13:11)

Adulthood is a time to assess our childish ways and readjust our thinking regarding the lies we have believed which have not yielded beneficial results. The lie that relationships are supposed to be effortless and no work, is a classic lie that only works in the cinema where a relationship is limited to ninety minutes.

I am encouraged when I meet single men who understand reality and are not afraid of it. Men who place their trust on a sound foundation. Below is an exerpt I am sharing from such a man, to be an encouragement to all the women who believe the lie that all good men are taken or married. This is from a divorced man who has done his work and gets it:

“Another thing I am realizing, at this age in life, is that we each have different experiences and cultures and it is not possible for two people to see everything the same on every issue. We need to be wise enough to discern differences that really don’t affect the closeness of a relationship and differences that will pull apart a relationship. Because the differences will be there.

I say all this to point out that I want to be very open about the many facets of my life, past, present and future. My plans, and feelings, even at the risk of you rejecting me. I would rather have you reject me now than later. If I am not willing to do that, then I don’t think you should even want to get to know me. How can you make an honest evaluation of whether you would want to allow a person in your life if you don’t really know what you are signing up for?

It’s important to share similar “character” like honesty, fairness, responsible, doing the right thing even when it is a sacrifice. And of course, foremost, and I remember your profile pointing out a similar thought, a real love for God and a commitment through trials to keep focus on God. Not an up and down waverer, going on feelings. And in looking for all that, I have the responsibility to be that way myself. And I am not meaning perfection, for either of us, but generally in life, we should be able to trust one another to live their life accordingly.

Trustworthiness is a biggie, and I think we all have to make effort to not be selfish, and look to our own desires, at least at the expense of the other. And bible study and prayer and just so much more enters the picture. And I am still learning too, don’t want to portray I think I have arrived. I know there is much I don’t understand. And am not afraid to admit it.”

So refreshing to know that single adult responsible men who trust in God exist! 

Ella Venezia
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