Thursday, October 17, 2013

A New Partner Won't Fix You

by Andrew Cromwell

We love the idea of a “match made in heaven” and “soul-mates”. Our movie industry makes millions rehashing this idea over and over. The romantic comedy movie genre churns out movies eagerly gobbled up by a public who is fascinated with the notion that people are made for each other and must be together. These movies are full of cheesy lines like “you complete me” and “death cannot stop true love, it can only delay it for a little while.”

The problem with this notion, that there is one other person in the world that perfectly matches you, is that it is bogus. Honestly, the reason we like this idea so much, is because we are so incredibly selfish! We want a relationship that is exciting, romantic, sweet, and passionate — and who wouldn’t — but we want it to be easy. We tell ourselves that if we were married to the right person, love, care and concern would just flow out of us. Our partner would make us want to be a better person because they would meet all of our needs and we would make them a better person as we meet all of theirs. And this beautiful love cycle would just self-reinforce as we live on in bliss until the end of time.

Have you noticed that these movies are all about finding the right person and overcoming all the obstacles until they finally get together? Once they are together, the movie ends. It is as if the greatest challenge in the world is to just find the person whose soul fits perfectly with yours and once you have done that, the rest is easy!

Just remember, movies are made to entertain, not reflect reality. But this idea is so powerful, that we adopt it, sometimes without even realizing it. And when we hit difficulty in our marriage, we cannot help but begin to question whether or not we found the right person to begin with! After all, had we found the right person, we wouldn’t be having this kind of challenge.  And before long we have decided that the answer is to get unhitched from this partner so that we can find the one that completes us.

And the cycle goes on and on.

The sad reality is that we are selfish and lazy and we give up too easily. We blame our partner, we blame the circumstances, we blame the stars, but rarely do we stop blaming and buckle down and do the hard work of love. We talk about love, but we forget that it means that we have to forgive, think the best of our partner, and keep loving even when we don’t want to.

I’ve heard lots of definitions of love, but none is better than the source. As you read it, ask God to help you actually live this out with your spouse and to stop looking for a way out:

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything, trusts God always,
Always looks for the best, never looks back,
But keeps going to the end (1 Corinthians 13:3-7).

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