1 Peter 3:3,4 NLT
Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
One of the challenges of our current generation is something researchers are calling the ‘illusion of perfection’. Through social media we see our ‘perfect’ friends, living their ‘perfect’ lives and we compare this external image with our imperfect internal world and conclude our lives suck.
Furthermore, we build an expectation of a perfection we want to attain. Our measure is no longer as simple as – get a good job, keep steady, provide for the family – our measure is ‘am I having fun?’, ‘do I love what I do?’, ‘Is it instagram-worthy!’ There is nothing wrong with fun and loving what you do,but sometimes doing something simply because it is the responsible thing to do is also okay.
And so this current generation is living with a pile of unrealistic and unmet expectations. Being fed with the thought they should have made it in the area of love, work, money and adventure in the first decade of their adulthood!
Now overlay this tension onto relationships.
The person I should marry should be … and we begin to make a list that starts to look like perfection. Rarely does such a person exist. And so we end up in a state of paralysis, not making a decision to date her (or to marry him if we are already dating); or we are afraid to commit.
We need to know how to manage our expectations if we are going to successfully find a marriage partner. By the way these principles work for you if you are already married and want to strengthen your marriage!
SO IMAGINE DATING YOU! (or imagine being married to you!)
Quite frankly, broadly speaking, you are likely only to ever attract a person roughly of similar calibre to you.
What do I mean by ‘calibre’? I am talking about depth of character, passion and strength of ambition, how you carry yourself and your value system. I’m not talking about having the same background concerning financial means,but rather a similar value of financial responsibility; I’m not talking about colour of skin but colour of character; I’m not talking about the same level of career aspirations, but a similar level of passion for what they do in life.
Have you taken a look in the mirror lately? If you are dressing down and overweight, why are you expecting to attract the slender gym enthusiast who dresses sharp?
Have you taken a look in the mirror lately? If you are irresponsible with money, in and out of different jobs regularly, why are you expecting to attract the career go-getter?
Have you taken a look in the mirror lately? If you are casual in your faith,why are you expecting to attract someone who is passionate for Jesus. I have news for you my friend – that just is not going to work!
If you want to attract someone passionate for Jesus, get genuinely passionate yourself! If you want to stay passionate for Jesus stop looking at that person who is casual in their faith. If you want to attract someone who values making something of their lives, sharpen up your motivation too. If you want to attract someone who looks after themselves, start with YOU!
Try dating you before you expect to date someone out of your league! Manage your expectations.
How can we do this?
Firstly we can adjust the areas of our lives that, if we are honest with ourselves, we are not happy with anyway. Sharpen up! Work on you, grow the depth of your values, your character. Don’t aim for perfection, just aim to start working on the fundamentals that you believe are important in any future marriage partner.
If you haven’t picked it up already, the undertone or even overtone of this blog is – change you not them! Never enter a relationship thinking, “I can change that part of him”, “I am believing God will work on that part of her” – sadly this rarely works. If he is casual in his faith now don’t date him on the expectation that that might change. That is not fair on him or on you. If she is irresponsible now, but cute – yes she may remain cute, but also likely to remain irresponsible – why enter the relationship, starting from the basis she has to now change?
Wait, keep working on you and you will find the right ‘calibre’ of person will want to date you.
Secondly stop aiming for the sky. Even if you do manage to marry ‘up’ (and by the way any person who finds themselves genuinely in love will believe they are marrying ‘up’) that person is NOT perfect. So rather than aiming way out of your reach, consider the person who may be in your world right now who captures the values that are actually most important to you.
Stop aiming for the image of perfection and make a decision to date that person today who matches your values.