"We've seen many singles who are so tired of waiting for their ship to come in that they don't even have the energy to go to the proverbial dock. Sometimes it's
because their expectations are sky high."
(Dr. Les Parrott)
Today, in the Christian world, we meet so many lonely people who cannot find a right life companion, and are scolded and tormented and do not experience the fullness and joy of life.
Often when communicating with unmarried people, I realize that this is because we are creating unrealistic expectations. From the time we're old enough to listen, we hear our parents tell us how cute and wonderful and exceptional we are, so we start to believe it. But what most of us need in life is someone willing to be honest.
The truth is, you are not perfect, and the person you marry won't be perfect, either. And that's not a bad thing. Our flaws are what make us unique, and keep us humble. God uses our flaws to grow us into what he wants us to become, and we never really stop becoming.
If you're looking for a really great marriage partner, look for someone who knows their flaws and shortcomings and is willing to grow. Someone who readily admits that they have issues, and is ready to mature and work through them in order to build a healthy, lifelong relationship.
When I and my husband married, we were both far from perfect, we both had endless flaws, some of which we didn't even realize at the time. Even today, after 17 years of Marriage we are still imperfect, but with God's unveiling, showing, and empowering power to change from within, many failings have been turned into advantages. I clearly understand that I will never be perfect on this earth, but the basic principle I strive is to become the woman my husband needs. I know my husband does the same for me, and the result is a growing love.
Having said all that, it's still important to have healthy standards when looking for a potential marriage partner. There are many expectations that are very realistic and essential, and you shouldn't be willing to compromise on those things. The key is to learn what you really do want and need from a partner, and then concentrate your search on people who seem to possess those qualities. The first step in setting realistic expectations is to throw away your list of superficial and unimportant desires and instead focus on things that are truly important.
We all have non negotiable standards that should never be compromised. You are better off staying single than to settle for a person who is emotionally abusive, unable to make a living, or is simply unattractive to you. Your goal is to refine your expectations, so that they are healthy and realistic, not non-existent.
As a Christian, the most important quality on your list of non-negotiable should be someone who is just as dedicated to their faith as you are. Someone who loves Jesus, and displays the fruits and qualities that committed believers are supposed to have. Getting into a relationship with someone who doesn't share your faith is a monumental mistake, no matter how you try to justify it. So finding a strong and faithful Christian should be at the top of your list of expectations.
Other things may be important to you as well. If you are extremely athletic and health conscious, it would be a mistake for you to marry a couch potato. If you grew up on a ranch and dream of owning horses, you wouldn't be happy with a city boy who doesn't know a cow from a chicken and owns a closet full of skinny jeans.
Your non-negotiable are unique to you, and not the same as everyone else's, but they are just as important and valid. So don't be afraid to make that mental list, and then keep it in the forefront of your mind.
Hold Yourself to the Same Standards
Once you've nailed down a clear list of non-negotiable traits you need in a mate, it's time to turn the tables and look in the mirror. Ask yourself if you display the same qualities and character traits that you're expecting from someone else. More than that, do you possess qualities that will actually attract someone who meets those criteria?
For example, if one of your non-negotiable character traits is a strong and independent person, you won 't find them if you are helpless and needy. Not if they are emotionally healthy. If you want someone who is caring and compassionate, those kinds of people will never be attracted to a diva. So make sure you exude the qualities that someone of that calibre is looking for.
If you want to find the right kind of person, begin by being the right kind of person.
"Do not equate human worth with flawless beauty or handsomeness! If you require physical perfection in your mate, he or she may make the same demands of you. Neither of you will keep it for long. Don't let love escape you because of the false values of your culture."
(Dr. James Dobson)
Be flexible and Open Minded
The reality is, the person you think you need may not be the person you find. Because none of us are completely dialled in to what is best for us. God may have a completely different person in mind for you than you have in mind for yourself.
Growing up in Church from my teenage years, I was firmly convinced that my future husband will be a long-time believer, God and Scripture knowing young man of faith. I had very high standards - I prayed that my future spouse would have the heart of David and the wisdom of Solomon. And this is certainly not a daily mix. When I met my husband, I didn't even have the idea that this guy, who had recently been born again and was constantly asking questions about faith (in my opinion, "totally immature") and who enjoyed spending time with friends would be my spouse. I knew what I needed, but God intervened and changed my attitude, my heart started to change and God showed me that this young man had the qualities I was praying for, and more, he had those qualities that I really lack.
At the end of the day, none of us really know what God has planned for our future. So when looking for a potential mate, expect the best, but always give God room to work.
When you're moving in God's will, sometimes the best plan you can make is to plan to be surprised.
Prepared by Jūratė Kapačinskienė
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