(Relationship Myth Series - Part 2 of 3)
Myth #1: Immediate attraction is the most important thing.
If you’ve grown up watching romantic movies and shows, you’ve been sold this idea that there is some kind of feeling that’s essential to every relationship. It would have been referred to as a “spark,” “chemistry,” “butterfly feelings,” or “sexual attraction.” These are all feelings that come and go. Sparks fizzle out. Chemistry can be built on superficial things that don’t make a relationship work long term. Butterfly feelings actually stem from anxious feelings. Sexual attraction can lead you astray and make you focus on the wrong things.
While attraction is important in a relationship, and you should definitely be attracted to your partner, it doesn’t always come right away. Attraction is multifaceted and can be built over time. There is spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical attraction. Don’t be quick to dismiss someone because you’re not immediately attracted to them or are not feeling this “spark.” Get to know them spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally and see if there is attraction in those areas. Let your decisions be led by logic not feelings.
Myth #2: I have to marry the person I’m seeing.
What’s your reason for dating? If your answer isn’t, “to find the person I want to spend the rest of my life with,” then I would highly encourage you to reconsider your reason and motivation. But if you are truly seeking the answer to that question, then you know there are two answers to the question. It’s a 50/50 chance that the answer is either a yes or no— yes, they’re the right person for you, or no, they’re not.
There’s no such thing as a failed relationship. If the outcome of your relationship/t is discovering that you two are not a good fit for each other, and you break up, then that relationship is just as successful as the one that ends in marriage. Because at the end of the day, you were able to answer that critical question: Is this the right person for me?
Use the time of dating or engagement to truly get to know your significant other. As long as you keep Christ as the center of your relationship, and always seek His will, you can’t go wrong.
Despite cultural pressure, and the fear of a “ruined reputation,” you do not have to marry the person you’re dating or engaged to. Which leads me to my next point.
Myth #3: If we break up, my reputation is ruined.
While this may feel like a cultural “truth,” rest assured, it definitely isn’t a biblical one. It’s also up to us, the future generation, to change this cultural norm. We have to stop looking at people as damaged goods if they’ve already been engaged or seriously dated someone.
Ladies, don’t be crippled by this fear, I know our culture tends to judge us more harshly than our male counterparts, but do not underestimate God’s grace in allowing you to move forward in your life. If you have Him as the number one goal in your life, everything else will fall into place.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Some might start dating someone at a young age. Although they’re not ready for real dating (that's dating with the intention of marriage), they rush into it anyway. Years may go by until they realize this isn’t the right person for them. But instead of ending the relationship, they stay in it because they fear no one else would want them. Please don’t let this be you.
Myth #4: The red flags will eventually go away.
Red flags are red flags for a reason. They are not meant to be ignored. While everyone’s red flag list may look different, here are a few that make it to most people’s list: abusiveness (verbal, physical, or emotional), uncontrollable anger, dishonesty, addictive behavior (substance abuse or sexual sins), and manipulation.
If something on your red flag list keeps coming up in a relationship, then allow that person some time to work on themselves and heal before you continue your relationship. As hard as it may be, sometimes a break is what you both need. Know that you cannot change someone. That person has to be willing to do the hard work of changing themselves. Even if their words are promising change, don’t turn a blind eye to their repeated actions. Please don’t enter a marriage hoping or wishing these destructive behaviors will go away, because they most likely won't.
Myth #5: I’m marrying my partner, not their family.
How many times have you heard someone say, “I’m marrying this person, not his/her family.” Truth of the matter is, you are marrying their family as well. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Family plays a huge role in our life, whether we like to admit it or not. When someone signs up to be with you they are also signing up to be part of your family.
Whether your parents are angels on earth, or quite the opposite, it’s the Lord’s commandment to honor them (see Exodus 20:12). Everyone has a different relationship with their parents, siblings, and extended family. Some families want to be really involved and some will have little to no involvement at all. It’s important for you and your partner to discuss your boundaries and make sure you are setting up healthy ones together. It's also essential during the dating period to understand your partner’s family dynamics, how they will be involved in your life and know what you’re signing up for.
With input from friends, here is a list of things couples wish others would stop doing:
Telling them about their partner’s past. It's not helpful or even relevant the majority of the time.
Comparing their timeline to everyone else’s.
Asking them when they’ll get engaged or married. Everyone is on a different timeline.
Cutting off your friendship because they’re in a relationship and you assume they’re too busy for you.
If you see them in an unhealthy or toxic relationship, and you’re close to them, then please speak up. They know you have their best interest at heart.