Monkeys on an Island (our need for relationship)

Today is Valentine’s Day. I’m reading all sorts of sentiment about this holiday – I’ve seen Facebook posts of the hopeless romantics, the head-over-heels lovers, and the self-proclaimed perma-singles. Everyone seems to have something to say about V-day. But why?

We’re created to connect… but beware!

Unhealthy Conneciton

Our culture heaps so much pressure on us to feel the need to have a significant other. I remember in early middle school being asked by friends if I had a girlfriend, with the understanding that if I didn’t have one, I was not as cool, not as important, not as good as the rest. Media and entertainment conveys the same message on an hourly basis through our tv shows, movies, and songs.

Many, many guys I’ve spoken to, ages 15 – 25, live a life of desperate searching for “the one.” That, somehow, once she’s found, life will be complete. Many times, these dudes, once they find the girl of “their dreams,” and date for a short time, become disenchanted, break up, (or be dumped), and resume the search. Why? Because I think many guys (gals, too) are not looking for a relationship, but the IDEA of a relationship. I think many of these easily disenchanted types are driven by codependency. I know several guys who have a new girlfriend (or two) each time we speak.

As long as we NEED a girlfriend or boyfriend to be happy, fulfilled, or complete, we will never be happy. If you are in this crowd, the last thing you should do is have a boyfriend or girlfriend. This type of relating dumps a ton of pressure on your significant other’s shoulders. Even if you don’t explicitly say that you NEED that person to be happy, he or she will sense it. The pressure on them to be everything for you will drown that person and sour your relationship. Every time.

Season of Singleness

The best relational advice I heard was to wait at least two years after my divorce before looking for someone, to use that time to figure out who I was, to allow myself time to heal, and to become whole in Christ. Whether you’ve had a meaningful dating relationship before or not, take an extended period of time (at least one year) to work on YOU. Ask God to reveal to you your emotional and spiritual needs. Ask Him to be your strength. Spend daily time journaling your journey. This will be difficult at times. But, if you allow God to show you through the Bible and through His Holy Spirit, you will learn some surprising things about yourself. You will discover some really cool things, too. Above all, this season of intentional singleness will help you develop trust in the high level of care God has for you.

Healthy Connection

In response to the question, “What five items would you have with you if you were stranded on an island,” a great gal I’m getting to know said she’d want, among other things, the game “Apples to Apples.” She then proceeded to explain that she’d teach the monkeys on the island to play the game. What a funny picture! However, her response shows our innate need for relationship, for interacting, for inter-dependence (not to be confused with co-dependence).

We are wired to connect with people. We’re not meant to be hermits. We’re meant to interact with other people, and with God, on a variety of levels (see my blog post, Let’s NOT Talk About the Weather).

But, the catch, I think, is that the best way of connecting with others is when we have been filled by Christ. From the overflow of His provision in our hearts, we can be a blessing to those we are around.

Be encouraged. If you’re single, count yourself blessed to have an opportunity to hear God’s voice about who you are and what you need. If you’re in a relationship, take the pressure off of your guy or gal and connect with him or her from the overflow of your relationship with God. Then sit back and enjoy a healthy relationship together!

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