Today on my blog I am re-posting a blog written by a single young man. He is writing about relationships and for those single women, or those in a relationship it is worth the read! This was originally posted here at the heartsupport blog and is re-posted by permission of the author.
When it comes to relationships, I have almost no experience. I’m clueless, naive, new, and frustrating- just ask my girlfriend. Despite that, for the short while I’ve been in my first relationship, I’ve learned a few things, but God has been nothing short of gracious. As I type this, I’m really kind of amazed how little I actually have to say. I’m not a pro. I’m an amateur. I just have experiences and circumstances that I hope you can relate to.
I’m an introvert, not an extreme closeted one or anything, but I’m an introvert. Large groups of people intimidate me, I get quiet, sometimes freak out, and then when I get home find shelter in the safety of my bed with some music or something. I’m twenty years old and as time has gone on, I've become an incredibly independent person. I pay my own bills, I buy my own clothes, accessories, appliances, food (mostly), and take care of myself. I’ve done this for a consider amount of time. When I was seventeen I was made a manager of a Jimmy John’s, went to the corporate office, and became a certified manager. I went through all of high school without relationships, ever attending a dance or event, and only went on one date with a girl who I’m pretty sure just felt bad for me.
Here I am now, twenty, a little college, former functioning general manager of a restaurant, kitchen manager of a Chick-Fil-A, having moved out and back into home, paying my way, taking care of myself; a somewhat successful (for my age) independent introvert.
Then I met her. That one girl who captivated my attention and I managed to build affections for, and even crazier she reciprocated them back to me (and she still does!). Life’s peachy. She’s smart, beautiful, kind, gentle, and loving- not much more I could ask for.
Here’s the thing though. She’s not me and I’m definitely not her. I don’t understand her and sometimes she doesn't understand me. I don’t understand a need for security or conversation very well. I especially don’t understand the need for physical contact. There’s nothing wrong with these things, but now I’m finding this girl who I’m fond of has ‘needs’ that I don’t get and feel inconvenienced by. To make it worse, she doesn't understand my ‘needs’ for solitude and tranquility, or how I get overwhelmed by social stimulation sometimes. It only took a few weeks for awesomeness to turn into frustration. Sure, sometimes it was better than others, and sometimes it wasn't, but for a while it was really straining.
Then I started thinking how unhappy I was, how inconvenienced I felt. It was all me, me, me. I lost my ideal world of self-sufficiency. No longer able to do as I pleased when I pleased. Needing to communicate better, make time for her, and whatever else went on. Then all I wanted to do was leave. As soon as she inconvenienced me, I was ready to walk out and leave her behind.
One thing really stuck in my mind: When Happiness Trumps Holiness. When people start putting being “happy” over being “holy.” Dads leave families, parents divorce, people commit suicide, people turn to sex, drugs, or alcohol. Whatever it is, we get this idea that my happiness transcends all else. So now that I was unhappy, I was in the clear to leave, even if it meant crushing her.
False. False. False.
What I've learned is that relationships are a mess worth making. They hurt- a lot. But relationships are so important God died to make and keep them. Jesus died in order that we can be in relationship with God again, that we can be forgiven.
Jesus has set the precedent that relationships are to be humble. This isn’t about me pleasing me, but me serving you. When I put my concerns aside and look how I can serve my girlfriend, all my frustrations disappear, because my misery comes when I think about how much I am being inconvenienced. So when it’s all me, me, me, I want to walk, but as I put myself to the side, and resolve to forgive her for her wrongs she does (and vice versa), and serve her, this becomes far better.
Relationships point to something greater. They point to Jesus and His bride. They point that He came from greatness, was made humble, He served, He was rejected, despised, and for the joy set before Him died for our sins, reconciling us to God. He forgave us and forgives us, as we ought to others.
Whether your married or dating or single, this is true for us all: forgive, forgive, forgive. Christ forgave us, so forgive your friend/spouse/whatever. Christ served us, so serve your friend/spouse/whatever.
Now here I am, still with the same lovely lady. We still have problems, we still fight, we still argue, and we still get frustrated. But when it happens, the more we forgive, the more we serve, the more humble we are, the more we look to make Christ known in each other, the easier this is getting.
Don’t give up because it hurts or its hard or you've made a mistake. For the short while I've been dating I've made plenty of mistakes, but Jesus makes all things new, He heals, and He forgives. Let’s follow His example and despite our inconveniences or how we feel, love, serve, and forgive like never before.