This article was written by Debra K. Fileta. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in Relationship and Marital issues. She is the author of True Love Dates. Visit www.truelovedates.com and follow her on Twitter to get your dating questions answered and to learn more!
But there are also times when mistakes we make can be detrimental. And often, the worst of mistakes are ones that can easily be avoided with a little guidance, wisdom and planning ahead.
As a relationship specialist, I get emails and messages from people from all over the world struggling through relationship mistakes. Here are some of the most common dating mistakes that I deal with across the board; mistakes that I believe can be avoided if we know ourselves, set our boundaries and take our time along the way:
Letting Feelings Lead the Way
Feelings are a great compass that can guide us in the right direction, but they aren’t an accurate roadmap.
In fact, considering all the things that influence our emotional world, feelings can’t always be trusted. Letting “chemistry” and pure emotion be your guide to relationships is asking for trouble. Feelings come and feelings go, and so a healthy relationship is always based on so much more than that.
Going Too Deep Too Fast
It’s tempting to let go and bare your heart and soul when you find someone you genuinely connect with. But giving too much of yourself prematurely is a recipe for disaster in the making of a relationship.
Healthy relationships are formed little by little, with the natural give and take that comes with the unfolding of time. Every good thing takes time to blossom, so don’t rush a relationship by giving yourself too quickly. Trust has to be earned one step at a time.
Allowing Fear to Influence Decisions
I recently took a survey that revealed that many millennials admit to making relationship decisions based on fear—fear of abandonment, fear of being alone, fear of rejection, fear of getting hurt.
We end up staying in bad relationships, or leaving great relationships, simply because we’re afraid of what could happen. But if we’re to really open our heart to healthy relationships, we have to be driven by faith, not by fear.
Getting Stuck on Sex
Want to bring major confusion into your relational world? Bring sex into the picture. Hands down, the number one thing that has left people confused and broken in dating relationships is the binding power of sex.
Sex is like super glue in a relationship, and outside of marriage, it has the power to “bind” you to someone you were never intended to stay with. It’s the emotional novocaine that numbs you to problems, flaws and deficits in your relationship rather than allowing you the unbiased opportunity to work through those things.
Blurring the Lines Between Friendship and Relationship
We live in a culture of ambiguity. Relationships are undefined, sex is casual and commitment is old-fashioned. But following culture’s rules is a surefire way to end up feeling used and abused in the end.
Scripture teaches us to let our “yes be yes, and our no be no,” meaning that talk is cheap, so it’s important to make sure your actions are backing up your words.
Don’t allow yourself to walk the line of ambiguity, wasting months—or even years—of your life in a relationship in which you don’t know where you’re heading or how the other person is feeling.
A healthy relationship is made up of clear communication and deliberate actions that follow suit. Don’t be that person that gets strung along for life. Take control of your relationships before they take control of you.
Relationship mistakes are everywhere. But with a little planning and wisdom, and a few protective boundaries, you have what it takes to avoid these relationship pitfalls and choose better for yourself. What’s holding you back?
This article was originally published on truelovedates.com
Read more at http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/5-dating-mistakes-youre-probably-making#mIU3Bf6L32JDuLer.99
Despite the reality that prenups are on the rise, few of us stand at the altar promising to love, honor and cherish one another while simultaneously planning our divorce. We all want marriages that last a lifetime; marriages that meet our emotional and sexual needs; marriages that foster connectivity, creativity and a sense of shared mission.
Are we expecting too much? Are we setting ourselves up to fail? Maybe, but the bigger issue is that none of us have any idea what marriage will demand of us. Once that gold band slides down our ring finger, we have bound ourselves to a limited human being who will never be able to completely satisfy all of our dreams and expectations.
A Promise to ChangeMake no mistake—despite your best efforts and overall wonderfulness, you will occasionally hurt and disappoint each other. Yet if my 20 plus years of marriage and pastoring have taught me anything, it’s that vibrant, satisfying marriages are absolutely possible—under one condition.
In the months leading up to the wedding, we are typically so intoxicated by love hormones and so distracted by choosing a DJ, wedding garb and appetizers for the reception, that we fail to realize one important detail: If we actually want to fulfill our vows 365 days a year, we must also promise to change.
The type of change that transforms marriage is less about self-fulfillment and more about self-denial.
Whether or not we’ve given it much thought, the concept of change, or malleability, has been inextricably woven into the fabric of American life. The idea of becoming bigger, better, faster; of maximizing potential; of upward mobility all presuppose that we can become different people through sheer willpower and/or intelligence.
Though this type of transformation might result in higher earning potential or more power at the boardroom table, it will not necessarily translate to an improved marriage. In fact, the type of change that transforms marriage and allows us to enjoy each other more with each passing year is less about self-fulfillment and more about self-denial—less about establishing our little kingdoms and more about bringing God’s Kingdom to our spouse.
A Partnership with GodSuch change is not simply behavior modification (i.e., eliminating critical comments or reining in excessive TV watching); it’s partnering with God to change from the inside out and become more like Jesus in thought and action. The apostle Paul described this process:
“And we, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Each one of us began to change when we admitted our fallenness and made the decision to follow Christ. If we want our marriages to thrive, we must invite God’s Spirit to expose our sin on a regular basis. If we dismiss or minimize our sin, we have no impetus to change—a reality that makes our marriages vulnerable to stagnation or failure.
Jen Pollock Michel writes in Teach Us to Want, “Without the doctrine of sin, we are led toward being unusually optimistic about our humanity. We will refuse to face the viciousness of our capabilities and will trust our desires too much and fear ourselves too little.”
Being mindful of our sin and its impact upon others—namely our spouse—is not meant to make us feel guilty; it’s meant to motivate and inspire us to change.
Acknowledging ImperfectionsMy husband and I said “I do” 24 years ago. Though we were both well aware of our imperfections, we had no idea how those imperfections would impact our marriage.
To paraphrase poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “How do I sin against thee? Let me count the ways.” I am a hoarder—not of stuff but of time. Here’s a snapshot of how that affects my husband: I’m sitting at my desk writing and he calls to talk. Despite my crazy love for him, I resist his invitation and respond in a distracted, aloof fashion because I value my needs over his. My selfishness leaves him feeling dismissed and me feeling guilty. Though it would be reasonable to chalk this up to extroversion vs. introversion and simply go back to work, after it happened repeatedly, it’s obvious that God is inviting me to work on, rather than ignore, this dynamic.
Simply being aware of my selfish behavior does nothing to extricate me from this pattern—or help me better love my husband. But, if in that moment of awareness I allow my guilt to move to conviction, then confess my selfishness as sin, and ultimately draw from Jesus’s resurrection power, maybe at some point in the near future, I will be able to put the computer on sleep mode and engage when he calls.
We have to want to be a different person in year 10 of our marriage than we were in year one, want to love more consistently and want to faithfully serve our spouse.
Though such revelations and sequential choices might seem insignificant, they are gradually transforming us into God’s glory and radically impacting our marriage in the process.
A Slow TransformationThis kind of transformation happens incrementally and only when we prioritize it. We must want to be a different person in year 10 of our marriage than we were in year one.
As a comparison, athletes don’t become world class by standing in front of their teammates and stating their long-term goals. They train. They dedicate their lives to reaching those goals. Likewise, we will not magically become amazing husbands or wives simply by speaking an earnest vow before friends and family. Just like the athlete, we must train and dedicate ourselves by faithfully responding to God’s directives.
In his book The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller writes, “What, then, is marriage for? It is for helping each other to become our future glory-selves, the new creations that God will eventually make us.”
That such remarkable transformation happens in the context of an enduring commitment between two frail human beings is nothing less than miraculous.
by DOROTHY GRECO 4-30-15
Read more at: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/marriage-and-change#08MHjTciiYL2kM2l.99
I'm a Christian counselor who loves to help people get to the root of their current problems so they can live from a place of authenticity and freedom!