3. If you find the right person, your relationship won’t fail.
Cultural romance makes you believe one person exists for you. And only one. Therefore, your greatest task is finding the one.
When love is about finding the one, it inevitably becomes an idol.
This creates a family of problems. First, you expect perfection from everyone. Flaws of any magnitude are red flags signaling that person is not the one.
Another member of this family is co-dependency. If there’s only one person for you, you can’t lose that person. You need them to be complete and whole. Losing them means you lose love. They become your god. I’m not a relationship expert, but that sounds unhealthy.
Another problem with “the one” thinking is it naively believes failed relationships are “their” fault. It never assumes, in other words, the problem could be the person in the mirror.
Maybe this explains why someone with a track record of break ups or multiple divorces usually believes the next one will work out. You probably know a person or two like this.
This great lie seeps into our minds at a young age. So, you can imagine how I responded when my first year of marriage was a mixed bag of arguments and failed expectations. At the time, I thought Tiffani was the problem. Turns out the opposite was true.
4. Looks are more important than character.
The cultural picture of men includes qualities like strong, rich, and powerful. Women are painted as beautiful and perfect. Just watch a movie or music video about love. I’ll just say this: if looks or money make your top 5 values in a future spouse, you’re doing it wrong.
My wife is gorgeous. But I didn’t marry her for looks. And she certainly didn’t marry me for money. What I saw in her was a woman whose relationship with God far outweighed her relationship with me. She had values, and she refused to comprise them.
For a relationship to last, you must choose someone who’s identity isn’t found in you. They love you, but they don’t need you. They tell you what you need to hear rather than what you want to hear.
5. You can change someone if you try hard enough.
This is the classic example of “Beauty and the Beast.” If I try hard enough for long enough, I can change him (or her). More recently, Frozen featured a song with the words, “He’s a bit of a fixer upper,” as if men are dilapidated real estate whose only hope is Chip and JoJo Gaines. Shoutout to Fixer Upper.
In our culture, the belief that we can change someone is a huge threat to healthy marriages.
You can’t enjoy someone when you’re trying to change or fix them. In my seven years of marriage, this is the greatest lesson I’ve learned. I can’t change Tiffani. But I can change me. Whenever I catch myself wanting her to say or do a certain thing, I stop and ask what this reveals about me.
What you will see more is that when you focus on changing you, the other person changes as well. But you haven’t changed your partner. In fact, your partner hasn’t changed at all. You’ve simply changed your perspective.
You realize your spouse isn’t the problem. You are. Few realizations bring freedom and peace to a marriage like this one.