LENGTH: 10 minute read.
This post is the sequel to Part 1 Figuring Out What We Want In A Relationship. Read it here.
In Part 1 we were set the equation:
(a) Really Knowing Oneself
+ (b) Indiscriminately Meeting New People
+ (c) Taking Responsibility For Your Own Happiness
(will equal) = Knowing what we want in a committed romantic relationship.
I know we finished with some questions to ask ourselves, our 3 closest friends, and a mental list of what we're looking for in a partner. I have to admit, I spoke hastily. I realised we can't talk about those things until we do the following:
Take a moment to ponder the deeper meaning of everything in life over an Early Grey iced tea where you will forgive me when I ask you, in the gentlest tone I can muster:
Why exactly do you want to be with somebody?
THE DILEMMA: NOTHING LASTS FOREVER
Singaporean Spoken Word Poet Deborah Emmanuel states in her award winning poem “I Love You”:
“I thought that this was what love meant,
a struggle to possess when we only fully possess ourselves,
a need to have another person exactly how you want them,
an unwillingness to accept that everything is impermanent.”
I salivated over these lines because they hit the nail onto my skull:
The measure in which we can love another in a way that brings them life, is a reflection of our relationship with permanency and our understanding of impermanency.
The eternal and the temporary, the long-term and the short-term.
Even our Top 40 love songs imply the "forever" aspect of a committed relationship. We can criticise Taylor and Adele all we like. They seem to flit from relationship to relationship practically asking for their hearts to be broken.
While I'm on the cautious end of things now; as a Feeler personality myself, I totally get it. Falling in love is addictive.
Whether you aren't looking for anything serious, or you are ready to find the love of your life - I'm sure you at least hold onto friends who understand you deeply. And this is what the heart seeks:
To be known fully, and to be loved deeply despite our imperfections.
- Timothy Keller (paraphrased)
And when we find this person, we want them to stick around forever and a day.
Alas, there implies the contract of a committed relationship - the sacrifice of some of our freedom for the gainful, daily joy of having one person to do life with. Forever.
CONTROL AND INFLUENCE
Day to day, this manifests in our understanding of control and influence. My partner is responsible for himself, as I am responsible for myself, but the beauty is in the choosing to let each other in.
For we only "fully possess ourselves".
- You can't force someone to love you.
- You can't convince someone to be in a relationship with you without making them feel unhappy and coerced.
- No matter how happy you might be together, your lover will never truly understand every chink and crevasse of your mind. (Like your simultaneous thoughts on world poverty AND how delicious Starbucks green tea frappuccinos are.)
- You will change. They will change. It's inevitable.
- If they decide to leave you tomorrow, that is completely up to them.
You cannot control anybody but yourself.
You cannot make somebody do something they do not want to do.
You can influence, yes, but true influence comes from a person who can communicate to another that they honest-to-God, genuinely care for the other's best interests. And that person will come around if they sell themselves on the outcome that you both want.
To the person who is proactively pursuing the best version of themselves I say this:
If it's meant to happen, it will happen. If it doesn't, it wasn't meant to be. It is pointless to try and force it.
J A Santosa
WE CAN ONLY CONTROL OURSELVES
So how do we not keep a tight grip on our lovers who inject every bit of light into our lives?
Weren't we made for community, for oneness with another human being? Yes! We certainly were!
But to pour all the weight of our expectations on another human being is to crush them. That's why I don't encourage marrying too young, before one really understands themselves and what they can realistically expect from another human being.
Your other might try for a while but they will eventually feel smothered, pressured, controlled, inadequate for the task. And that's because frankly... they are. I've seen this happen time again to my friends, to past clients I had as a Social Worker, to distant relatives and family friends.
In my church-girl-world, they call this pressure "idolatry". The act of making someone or something your idol. Only God was meant to carry this honour and burden.
There's a belief I've held for 11 years, and that is the hope I have in a God who created me and adores me. I believe humanity was made in the perfect image of the Creator, meaning that toxic emotions, a stunted life, and limiting beliefs are just a small cut of the enemy's work in our minds.
I believe that we were all created to smash life, to overcome challenges, to be surrounded by healthy relationships, but that it's our choice to pursue a clear, healthy mind so we can create this for ourselves. Before we overcome our own mind-prison, we won't be able to contribute effectively to a deeply hurting world.
The hope we have is to pursue the best and truest version of ourselves. Then we can change the world.
For when our minds are clearest, we are in a better place to choose the best career, friendships, and life partner that is consistent with our values and calling.
So try new things, make mistakes. Figure out your "perfectly you". Figure out what makes you tick; what revs your internal engine.
Where do you feel the least effort internally? Which of your friends do you feel are little to no effort to be around? What comes naturally to you?
Until you get to know this person - this "perfectly you", you will be constricted to a limited version of yourself, overvaluing traits in people that aren't good for you, or recognising them too late.
We should never go on dates just to ease our loneliness. Rather, view them as opportunities to see if there is an organic connection.
We don't want to miss this opportunity to really touch, feel, taste, smell and see someone's character for what it truly is.
Let's make assessments of others while single, happy and complete. After all, this is the most important decision of our life. No pressure - I'm in the same difficult boat as you.
HOW I SOLVED THE PERMANENCY / IMPERMANENCY DILEMMA
Assuming you are a mortal person, even the most permanent, intimate and voluntary human to human relationship (i.e. marriage) inevitably ends in death.
Woah. I know, intense.
Thus, meta-narrative-epic-love-story-wise; this is how I have solved the permanency/impermanency dilemma:
I prematurely committed to someone when I was 17 years old. While I didn't fully understand at the time, our 11 years together were full of wrestling and growing intimately in love. We have been in a very serious long term relationship. It is longer than marriage, stronger than death. I have tucked myself into Him. He will prepare a room in eternity for me.
So this is His name - Jesus. He qualifies as my official forever-person.
I could distract myself with The Hobbit marathons, going rock climbing in the Blue Mountains every day, building up this blog so it becomes an online library of internal strength literature and reaching my dream of making a living off writing as dictated by me – those are all enticing pursuits, and the composition of my purpose, but: *VULNERABILITY ALERT!* I know my heart just longs to find my forever-person in another human being, til death do us part.
Unless he is Legolas from Rivendell, he will most likely die a mortal death, and cease his love contract with me. So I have Jesus Christ. And let's face it - Jesus is so much better.
And while I am on this Earth, I want to produce babies with someone who loves Jesus and loves me. (More on that topic later, as soooo many people ask me why I don't get into relationships with non-Christians).
So why do we want to be in a relationship? Here's the cheater's comprehensive back-of-book answer:
To be fully known, and truly loved to add to our already complete selves, for the duration of our impermanent life here on Earth.
Let's not ever settle for anything but this.
 Emmanuel, Deborah, When I Giggle In My Sleep, Loud Mouth Volume 1, Red Wheelbarrow Books, Singapore (2015)
STAY TUNED FOR PART III, LIVE NEXT MONDAY 18 Jan 2016! Please click like, subscribe or share so we can create a world with healthier, lovelier, & happier relationships.
READ MORE OF THE WEEKLY COMFORT BLOG:
- Jun 15, 2018 How to Play the Dating Game with Integrity Jun 15, 2018
- Mar 12, 2018 Stop Worrying About Getting Older Mar 12, 2018
- May 31, 2017 How To Not Be Intimidated By Really Attractive People May 31, 2017
- Apr 21, 2017 How To Let Him Pursue You Apr 21, 2017
- Jan 18, 2017 A Note on Work Ethic Jan 18, 2017
- Nov 1, 2016 9 Thoughts on Christian App & Online Dating Nov 1, 2016
- Oct 25, 2016 A Note to The Creatives Oct 25, 2016
- Jul 31, 2016 A Note on Money Jul 31, 2016
- Jun 30, 2016 Like Does He Have A Car? Why Financial Stability Is So Important To Women Jun 30, 2016
- Jun 8, 2016 Part 5. Navigating Christian Dating Culture: The 10 Blindspots of Faith-Filled Single Gents Jun 8, 2016
- Jun 1, 2016 Part 4. Navigating Christian Dating Culture: The 10 Blindspots of Faith-Filled Single Ladies Jun 1, 2016
- May 26, 2016 Part 3. Navigating Christian Dating Culture: In Defence of the Friend Zone May 26, 2016
- May 19, 2016 Part 2. Navigating Christian Dating Culture: Some Practical Applications May 19, 2016
- May 10, 2016 Part 1. Introduction to Navigating The Christian Dating Culture May 10, 2016
- May 4, 2016 The Self-Respecting Person's Guide to Networking May 4, 2016
- April 2016
- Mar 30, 2016 The Love We Crave Series: Parents Mar 30, 2016
- Mar 24, 2016 A Note on Intimacy Mar 24, 2016
- Mar 17, 2016 So Cool Was SoCal: Mexican Food, Margaritas and Money Matters Mar 17, 2016
- Mar 6, 2016 So Far in SoCal: Observations from an Asian Australian Tourist Mar 6, 2016
- Feb 24, 2016 5 Truths to Help You Annihilate Self-Doubt Feb 24, 2016
- Feb 19, 2016 4 Reasons Why I'd Like To Stop Swearing Feb 19, 2016
- Feb 10, 2016 The 7 Benefits of Being Asian Feb 10, 2016
- Feb 1, 2016 4 Things You Need To Know About Your Personality Type Feb 1, 2016
- Jan 19, 2016 Part 3 – Figuring Out Who We Want To Be In A Relationship With Jan 19, 2016
- Jan 12, 2016 Part 2 - Figuring Out Why We Want To Be In A Relationship Jan 12, 2016
- Jan 11, 2016 Part 1 - Figuring Out What We Want In A Relationship Jan 11, 2016
- Jan 4, 2016 7 Strategies for Controlling Negative Emotions Jan 4, 2016
- Dec 31, 2015 The 1 New Year's Resolution That Will Actually Work Dec 31, 2015
- Dec 29, 2015 10 Questions to Test Your Self-Awareness & Self-Respect Dec 29, 2015
- Dec 21, 2015 5 Tips On Handling Rejection Well Dec 21, 2015
- Dec 12, 2015 7 Tips to Help You Kill It On Stage Dec 12, 2015
- Dec 7, 2015 Poetry: 5 Life Lessons That Took Me Forever to Understand Dec 7, 2015
- Dec 1, 2015 Short Story: Power Dec 1, 2015
- November 2015