Memory Verse: A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.
Challenge: Think back to your last, a past relationship or even a potential suitor. What were some warning signs that this person might not have been/might not be ‘the one’ but you ignored them?
I’ve often heard the phrase, love is blind but marriage is a real eye opener. Of course, we Singles laugh at this (or at least this Single used to), but I don’t think we fully grasp what this means to a person in that situation. What I take from this statement is that, when you are busy falling in love and thinking this person’s dirty laundry doesn’t even stink, you are unaware of all the things that you should be taking notice of. As a result, you get in a committed relationship with a person, or even a marriage before you really get to know the nature of the person. This translates into those long crying sessions with your girlfriends or those intense basketball games with your boys-discussing how they are no longer the person you married or first met. I don’t believe this is completely true, I believe that IS the person you married, you just dated the representative and didn’t bother or was too ‘in the love bubble’ to dig deeper.
INSIGHT: ‘DEAR LORD. I ignored so many warning signs in my past relationships. The most recent one, I remember expressing doubt in my journal the FIRST WEEK that he didn’t seem like ‘the one’-that he didn’t treat me like ‘the one’ would, yet I stayed for another 5 months. Why? Because it became easier and easier to ignore those signs, or to rationalize them into ‘he’s trying.’ Please. There is a difference between not knowing what is wrong and needs to be fixed, and knowing it but refusing to deal with it. The latter was what I was dealing with, until I finally realized that I couldn’t deal with it.’
My previous Pastor used to say when you date you should have both eyes wide open, wear glasses, use a magnifying glass and a black light; then when you decide to marry this person-close one eye and dim the lights. What does this mean? The dating stage should be the time that you acknowledge those red flags or those discrepancies in the person, then when you decide to marry them, you don’t nag about the things that you tolerated while you were courting. Before you decide to spend the rest of your life with a person, you should burst the love bubble (we will talk about this next week) and really discuss things in perspective. Once you walk down the aisle, you can’t turn back around and run up it, because you didn’t know he had 60,000 of debt or that she doesn’t know how nor have a desire to submit.
INSIGHT: ‘This is truth. Ignoring those things that you are telling yourself are small in dating, will become fights over these things in marriage. If it is truly insignificant, then it won’t fly back into your head every time you disagree, it won’t keep you up at night, it won’t cause you more tears than joy. If it does, then stop lying to yourself-it’s very significant. I was there—my struggle, your lesson. You are not doing yourself or the person you are dating a favor by ignoring that key desires and needs are not being met in a relationship, You are only prolonging the inevitable, and causing yourself to become more attached so that when it is clear that you should walk away-it will be even harder.’
Those essential things that you aren’t seeing in the mate should be addressed. Never simply think that they will get better when you get married. They might get worse, because now you have to share everything with this person and what used to irritate you only on Monday, Wednesday and weekends, will be making your living conditions miserable every night of the week.
This message isn’t meant to say that a man or woman has to be perfect to earn your affections, just that you shouldn’t be so casual and careless with whom you give them away to. Snoring isn’t a deal-breaker, but jealousy or insecurity might be. You see what I mean?
The TSA now has this slogan that you will see all around the airport: ‘See Something, Say Something’. This campaign is admonishing travelers to be aware of their surroundings and don’t simply dismiss something that could be suspect, thinking it’s nothing. That ‘nothing’ could be the bomb that changes your life. Same scenario; but in a relationship. That ‘something’ that you keep looking over and dismissing might be the thing that puts additional strain on that relationship and eventually breaks it.
INSIGHT: ‘This day is so personal because this area is still a bit raw from my most recent relationship. From the beginning, I didn’t feel treasured or valued. I felt like an option. I made decisions with him in mind, but it seemed like he made plans and then told me about them, if he told me at all. He wasn’t considerate of me or my feelings and when I would mention it, the response would be ‘you are too sensitive, you need to toughen up’. What I refused to see was that I shouldn’t have to ‘toughen up’ where my boyfriend is concerned. Especially with a boyfriend that loves to talk about making me a wife. He should be the safe place, where I can take my emotions and insecurities and feel valued and special-not the cause of my insecurities. I realized that this wasn’t going to get better, that it wasn’t going to change, so my situation needed to change.’
SEE SOMETHING. SAY SOMETHING. Everything shouldn’t be an issue, but some things should be. Choose wisely, and determine to go into every relationship with your eyes (not just your nose) wide open. If Samson would have done this, his fate would have been very different. We will discuss his particular foolishness tomorrow.
My friend has a saying ‘Everyone has their own brand of crazy, you just have to find the person whose crazy is compatible with yours.’ True statement, truer application.
INSIGHT: ‘I can’t stress enough how much this simple truth can change the nature of your current and future relationships. If you don’t feel comfortable telling your mate that you aren’t comfortable-that’s a problem. If your needs aren’t being met and you are too scared of the consequences that will occur by voicing it (as I was), then I say with confidence and conviction- that person is not ‘the one’. The one will allow you to express your concerns in a safe and nonjudgmental place, and they will value your emotions because they value you. Doesn’t mean they agree, just means that if something isn’t working, they will work to fix it, not make you feel stupid about voicing it. Transparency moment: I felt this way. In fact, I was called stupid for some of the concerns that I had. I put up with double standards and not feeling valued and being treated as less significant than his female friends, YET I STAYED. Why, I’m still trying to figure out. I think it was because I saw potential. We will talk about the dangers of dating/marrying potential later in this challenge. The lesson is that although I stayed for much longer than I should have, I did leave. It was hard because I was so emotionally invested, but I realized that I was beginning to be comfortable with settling and I was beginning to tell myself that this was as good as it would get. The devil is a liar and so was he. I got out. Now that the fog has cleared, I realize that what I experienced was not even my imagined best, so it couldn’t be the Ephesians 3:20 that my God promises me. Don’t trick yourself to believe it is ‘no big deal’ when everything within you is screaming that it is.’