Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven
where moth and rust cannot destroy and thieves cannot break in and steal

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Will I Ever Find A Good Person To Marry? Part 2/3

Yesterday's post listed traits of an emotionally and spiritually healthy person. And before you say anything about the above list, YES these kinds of people do exist. If you don’t know any, then you need to change your circle of friends. The reason that these points are evidence of emotional health is because I never see these kinds of people in counselling for relationship issues. There is no need for them to come for help because they have peace in their lives; they know the Giver of peace on a personal level and they obey Him out of love and appreciation for what He has done in their lives.

When looking for a future partner, instead of looking for the quality characteristics listed above, an unhealthy person might say something like, "Can she dance?" "Is s/he cute?" "Does he like to party?" "What kind of a car does he have?" "Does she make a lot of money?" "Is he popular with others?" "He’s kind of wild and dangerous, I like that." They won’t care one bit if this is a person of integrity. Instead their lives display a philosophy of "show me some attention and I’m yours."
Developing a character of integrity is extremely important IF you want a quality relationship. On the other hand, developing a character of integrity is a side-benefit of receiving a healed, forgiven, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. History is filled with examples of the worst human beings having their character being completely turned around after giving their lives to Jesus.

Regardless of all that, the facts of relationships are these: -
. As far as you are from emotional health, so too will someone be who you are attracted to.
. As far as you are from emotional health, so too will someone be who is attracted to you.
. As far as you are from spiritual health, so too that person.

. As far as you are from being ready for a healthy relationship, so too that person.

Remember - Wanting a healthy relationship is not the same as being ready to have a healthy relationship. That’s why the statement "I think he/she will be good for me" needs to be taken with a grain of salt. That person will be no better for you than you are for that person.

You might say at this point, but my boyfriend / girlfriend / husband / wife is worse than I am. And I will say, if that’s the case it is only because you have grown in maturity since you two met. When you met, you two were roughly the same.

And as a point of interest, let me ask you three simple questions.

(1) What do you look at when judging whether a group photograph, that you’re a part of, is good or not?
(2) Do you see yourself as being a better driver than most people you know? Or do you see yourself as being a worse driver than most people you know?
(3) Do you see yourself as being emotionally healthier and more mature than your partner or former partners? Or are you less healthy and less mature than your partner or former partners?

It is the very rare person for whom one’s perceived self-importance doesn’t show up in these questions. That is how out of touch we are with the reality of our corrupt nature. So what has this got to do with relationships? Well, it’s been my experience that most people who get a divorce are so blind to their own personality that they actually think that they’ll be good for someone else. The vast majority of divorced people think the marriage ended, not because they were miserable to live with, but that it’s the other person’s fault that the marriage ended. It’s human nature to not recognise our own corruption. I'm not being judgemental. I'm as blind to to my degree of corruption as other people are to theirs. The reason you don’t feel corrupt is the same reason a fish doesn’t feel wet. Because it is immersed. You won’t recognise your corruption until you find a way to step out of it and view it from a distance; until you view yourself from Creator God's perspective. You can’t know that you need to be rescued until you first recognise that you’re lost.

Getting back to relationships, let me give you an example of what I mean by "We are roughly the same as those we attract." I hear from clients on a fairly regular basis, "I’m not at all like my spouse. He/she had an affair and I would never do that." I can tell you that in virtually every case, with a little processing, it soon comes out that if given the opportunity to have some ‘payback sex’ soon after finding out about the affair, the person in my office would have jumped at the chance. You might counter with, "that’s different. That person had already been hurt." And I will say to you, "It is no different at all!"
What we are measuring here is the quality of character, and a healthy character is made of nothing less than emotional and spiritual health.

(1) An emotionally and spiritually healthy character is able to say "no" to emotionally damaging thoughts and behaviours no matter how badly that person wants what s/he wants.
(2) An emotionally and spiritually healthy character does not go looking for emotionally damaging thoughts and behaviours regardless of what’s happened to that person.

Let me continue with the example of sex. Lets assume that someone other than your spouse wants to have sex with you. If you are emotionally and spiritually healthy you would be asking yourself, "Why would I want to be with someone who is so cruel and so selfish that he/she would do that to my spouse?" On the other hand, if you as a married or c/l person are considering having sex with someone else (especially if that person is also married), then the question I would ask is, "Why would that person want to be with someone like you, who is so cruel that you would do that to either of your spouses?" What is it about you that is attracting such an unhealthy person to you?

If the answer for either of you is, "We find danger, cheating, and snubbing God and His desires for us appealing and exciting," or if you say that you don’t care about how your spouses feel, then I would also say that emotionally and spiritually you are both in a truly pitiful state. There is nothing in either of you from which you can build a healthy relationship. Don’t get me wrong. You may be able to have a relationship, but it will be no better than average, if that. 

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