Are you in love with the idea of romance or the perfect mate? I was and I didn’t even know it! The romantic story we have in our head is not the story that will play out.
Our lives are not movies with perfect outcomes to every bad situation. There will be twists, turns, and imperfect unscripted scenes and endings.
As a Christian woman, I painfully admit that I have idealized the concept of marriage and romantic partnership. I put the feeling of love, the promise of never being lonely, and the ideas of romance as the main reason for finding a partner.
I realized my expectations would have left me VERY unhappy in any romantic relationship. I had my future planned out with a heart stained by pride and entitlement. NO man could come close to the perfect man I created in my prayers, daydreams and imagination. I felt that I had spent years perfecting myself and I deserved perfect.
My idea of perfect meant that Mr. Right would be rich, tall, romantic, ambitious, emotionally intelligent, etc. I thought: “I have faithfully waited for my man so there would be no emotional pain in the relationship!” I don’t know where I got this perspective! I guess… I assumed God to be a genie that would give me everything I want and remove all obstacles in life.
The truth is… A lot of the things that we expect in relationships are not biblical nor important. We have to really remove most of the expectations we put on relationships if we want to live a happy and content life.
Since then, I’ve learned what is more important in a partner: A healthy relationship with plenty of room for me and my partner to grow and become better people. Now, my #1 deal-breaker is dating a man that refuses to change and grow!
Related Post: 4 Ways To Attract Mr. Right
5 WAYS TO AVOID UNHEALTHY EXPECTATIONS
1. Put friendship as the focus.
Get to know each other. Decide if you like hanging out with the person without fancy dinners or romantic gestures. Support each other during highs and lows. Learn who he is, what he likes, what he is afraid of, etc.
2. Mind Reading.
Your partner will not magically know what you want or what you consider ‘romantic’. They might come close in some areas. But, you will have to teach your man how you think and how you’d like to be loved.
- Communicate your preferences. Preferences are things you would like to experience or have. Your preferences should not be demands or ultimatums; You should be able to love your man without it! If you’re unsatisfied in the relationship due to this… You may be in a relationship for the wrong reasons.
- Learn what makes you feel loved and cared for. Then, let your partner know what makes you feel romanced.
- Start communicating in the dating phase. How you both work through these tensions will be reflective of what marriage will look like.
Related Article: Building Trust: 6 Steps To Encourage People To Let You In
3. It’s NOT all about me!
Relationships are about serving the other person. Sometimes you will have to give 80% while he is giving 20%. 20% might be all he is able to give. Are you able to still love your man? Don’t forget that men need to be romanced as well. Will you fight the urge to grow bitter and stop doing special things for him? Marriage is a commitment to stay open and loving even when the other isn’t pulling their weight.
4. Also, ask yourself the hard questions:
Are you settling for someone you are not attracted to and will that eventually be a problem? Does his personality embarrass you when you are out in public? What if your man thinks your manipulating him when you express your emotions? What if you find out he is chronically depressed after one year of marriage? What if your man did not propose on one knee? Or, his idea of romantic was watching television with you?
Or, he hates the idea of traveling? What if he doesn’t trust you talking to other men? What if he does not understand how his words hurt your feelings? Or, how his jokes cut you deep in the core? What if you partner doesn’t ever want to lose weight or eat healthy? What if his family hates you or he can’t have kids? What if he does not understand you and you have to constantly explain what you need in the relationship?
Related Article: Am I Toxic? Quiz + 11 Healing Tips!
Maybe, you feel the sex was not worth the wait? Suppose, he develops a disease and loses the ability to walk and you were the primary caregiver?
As the difficulties of life come, do you love the person enough to weather the storm together?
Conflict in relationships are unavoidable no matter how hard you prepare. Honestly, no one knows the full potential of the quiet storm inside themselves. We are all constantly growing and learning things about ourselves. New experiences and challenges bring emotions and reactions out of us that we think we are not capable of!
5. You can’t ever be fully prepared for the roller coaster of life. But, you can find a partner that you’d really love to experience it with.
I suggest choosing someone that you find so internally beautiful that you want to love them through the beautiful and painful moments in life. Someone you want to support and help be the best version of themselves. Someone that really loves YOU and wants to learn how to love you even better.
Related Article: Am I Toxic? Quiz + 11 Healing Tips!
In my article, What is Love? I explain that Love is a choice, not a feeling. Sometimes we will have those beautiful feels but other times we must decide that the person we love is worth standing beside – through thick and thin. Choose someone that is worth fighting for and not someone that you are constantly fighting with!
I challenge you to think about what you expect in your relationships.
Are those expectations healthy? Are they biblical?
Are they centered on getting to know the person or to fulfill your own needs? Whether you’re single, dating or married your expectations need to be centered on real love or they could hurt your relationships.