By Amber Ginter, Crosswalk.com
When I was a teenager, I daydreamed about what it would be like to have someone special to care for and hold. Although I wouldn't admit it, every boy that caught my eye was a spectacle for examination.
Could he be the one?
Does he love Jesus?
Will he like me back?
Over the years, I created a list of qualities I wanted to see in that future, Mr. Right. While some were reasonable — such as being a Christian — others, like having brown hair and loving the same activities, were not.
To this day, I am thankful that the Lord saved me from countless heartbreaks and held my heart until the right guy came along and pursued me first.
Am I Expecting "Too Much"?
I was the girl who wore her heart on her sleeve throughout high school and early college, and if I liked you, it was generally apparent. It took me a long time to catch and develop feelings, but I was as easily hooked like a fish once I did. It was not until my final year of college that I surrendered my singleness and desires to the Lord. I learned that I had been expecting too much from a non-existent but hoped-for relationship.
Shortly after I relinquished my desire to be in a relationship to the Lord, he dropped Mr. Right into my lap. I was not looking for him, and because I had never dated or been asked out, his pursuit caught me off guard. Two weeks before our first interaction, I cried out to God, confessing that if he wanted me to be single forever, I was okay with it. How little did I realize that he was preparing me for the first love connection that I never tried to control or pursue!
Expecting "too much" from a relationship looked like me before this guy came along: desperate, clingy, and overly emotionally invested.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/KatarzynaBialasiewicz
Before, during, or after being in a relationship, it is essential to realize that you are a complete, whole, and satisfied human being on your own. Yes, man was not created to be alone (Genesis 2:18), but if you believe that dating someone will complete you, then you've got it all wrong.
A relationship will not make you happy, whole, or meet every need you have 24/7, seven days a week. You are in charge of your behavior, completeness, and taking care of yourself; that's called being independent.
As sad as it is to admit, my despondent actions were ignorant before I met my current boyfriend. If a guy didn't like me back, I believed it was the end of the world and took it very personally. In reality, I should have seen it as a blessing from the Lord, protecting my heart until the right time.
Now in a relationship, it is also imperative to not cling too tightly to what doesn't have a ring or covenant place on it. Although I want my relationship to end in marriage, we have to be willing to admit and submit that the Lord is in control.
Proverbs 16:9 of the AMP reminds us, "A man's mind plans his way [as he journeys through life], But the Lord directs his steps and establishes them.” In the ERV, the verse reads, "People can plan what they want to do, but it is the Lord who guides their steps.”
As much as you love your boyfriend or girlfriend, it is essential to remember while dating that you are your own person, and every individual needs time apart. It is said that distance makes the heart grow fonder, but more important is the development of your spiritual, mental, social, emotional, and physical well-being while dating.
It is not your partner's responsibility to complete and fulfill you. If you are expecting them to be the perfect person 100% of the time, or cling to their side 24/7 because you can't live without them, then you've overstepped healthy boundaries. While it may differ from couple to couple, wholesome borders advocate time spent together and growth as individuals.
Romans 12:10 and Mark 12:29-31 remind us that we are to love God and love others, but we must also prioritize our relationship with Jesus above our significant other. Remember, we are called to love God first and others second, and if we're clinging more tightly to a relationship than to God, then we've whacked the whole order out of proportion (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10; 1 Peter 1:22). Worshipping your spouse over the Lord will not end in beauty.
Besides the fact that I am a female with a hundred and one emotions experienced daily, weekly, and monthly, it is evident that the Lord blessed us with these feelings. However, they are to be felt and not control every action or decision.
Steven Furtick calls these intense sensations "Moodswingers" to either build, bend, or break our interactions with others. Thus, if we notice we are sharing too much or making every conclusion based on the love we feel at the moment, then I'm afraid we're again expecting too much.
Proper emotions look like sharing and caring about how you feel at the appropriate time. If I am upset with my boyfriend, being passive-aggressive will not benefit me or give him the cold shoulder. Similarly, choosing to make out when heightened with problems or anxiety because it feels good will not lead us to successful places. Keeping a level head, analyzing the situation at hand, and praying about your faith over your feelings will help to combat these fluctuating responses.
Proverbs 28:26 in the TPT writes, "Self-confident know-it-alls (those who trust their instincts) will prove to be fools. But when you lean on the wisdom from above, you will have a way to escape the troubles of your own making.”
Feelings are not facts, nor is your intuition instinctively correct. Expecting too much from a relationship with your emotions looks like carelessly living in the moment without care or concern for the future or repercussion of your actions.
It is good to have high expectations, but if these demands come from desperation, unhealthy clinging, and emotional disturbances, we anticipate and wait on the wrong things.
Tim Gardner, author of "Great Expectations in Relationships," offers an excellent questionnaire for couples to see if they are demanding too much from their partners. While it is good to desire a partnership with someone, want to spend time with them, and share your emotions, these habits must be filtered through appropriate lenses.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Koldunova_Anna