For years I’ve said I should write a book about all my dating experiences since my divorce in 2006. I’d entitle it “Cereal Dating: The Flakes, Fruits & Nuts I’ve Met Being Single”. The last chapter I would save for the one I’d spend forever with. That chapter would be entitled “The Breakfast of Champions”.
I am sure however, that I could easily be featured in some man’s book as a flake, fruit or nut. I am blatantly aware of my imperfections and am not immune to having my own seasons of not being quality dating material.
Imperfect people act imperfectly. Shocking, I know. The truth of the matter is that as long as you are in relationships with other humans, you are going to have to deal with messes. Some big. Some small. Some hurt. Some confuse. Some anger. Some frustrate. Some make us bitter. Some make us better. Irregardless, it’s the type of clean up of the mess that determines the strength and depth of the healing afterwards.
Show me a relationship that has had no difficulty and I’ll show you a really shallow relationship. Show me someone who leaves when it gets difficult and I’ll say “good riddance!”
I recently had a three year relationship end. I guess we stopped learning together so we grew apart. I pray daily for God to use me and I am confident that God put me in that man’s life as a gift to that man. God did not put that man in my life for me. (Thanks for using me Father!!) No blame here, just two imperfect people who couldn't communicate effectively enough to honor the other.
But what is honoring the other supposed to look like in dating? Do we give up our own needs to make the other’s needs more of a priority? If we are to use 1 Corinthians 13 as a guideline, should we ever leave a dating relationship?
Here are my thoughts:
Dating isn't marriage. I believe dating is for finding out if marriage to the person you’re dating is a wise idea and eventual wise choice.
I can’t believe I am still dating at age 52, but nonetheless, I am.
I’ve learned to love patiently, kindly, not rudely, not enviously, not boastfully, not proudly. And, I am proud of how I loved some.
Dating the past 16 years has taught me so much about God, myself and has given me a depth of emotional stability that I find to be spiritual. God has done a mighty work in me through dating and He has shown me how strong and resilient I am, he has grown my capacity to love selflessly, and He has taught me deep self respect through dating.
So back to my question, should we put our partners needs above our own?
No. However, I am convinced the most powerful word in our existence is the greatest gift in all relationships. The greatest comfort. The greatest healer. The greatest joy.
G • R • A • C • E
Be generous in giving it as our Father is in extending it. But if your forgiveness, grace, understanding and patience is being discarded, disregarded, and disrespected - your partner is a flake, fruit or nut and it’s ok to make a different cereal choice and don’t settle until you find your bowl of Wheaties!