Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Relationship Lites and Wrongs

Superman should have a trigger warning on it for me.

For many years, when I saw Superman, I thought of the night I saw the movie with a sweet, funny guy the summer before college; he put his arm around me and made me blush in the pitch black theater with glee. It was our second "date" (get together? meet-and-greet?).

Annnnnd, in the beginning, it was over. I didn't get it: it went so well. I kept in touch: I should have just let it go. But I thought communication was key in relationships?

Oh, the drama llamas of high school dating had nothing on college courtship. At my college,  people "courted"... what the heck was that?? Talk about marriage? I just met you! I'm 18! Let's go eat ice cream and talk about something other than our classes!

Needless to say, dating was frustrating if non-existent. I went on dates, but I did not date anyone exclusively. In retrospect, it was much better that way. I made plenty of mistakes, and learned more about myself, what I wanted, what I do not want, and the importance of trusting in God to help see me through many dark days.

A beach in South Korea... on a cloudy day
I did, eventually, see the light. It took a lot of heartbreak. It took a lot rejected feelings. It took meeting guys and thinking, We don't mesh even though we sort of like each other. It was the unrequited likes.

It was with the guys whom I really matched with -- temperament, likes, our sense of humor and sensibilities ... only to know that liking a person and moving into a relationship [towards marriage, possibly] was not a good idea. The emotional attachments were there. The taste of growing more mature often had the satisfaction of swallowing pea soup.

It can seem hard to imagine liking a person (and being liked in return) and knowing that dating should not be a possibility. Square peg, round hole.

I call these "relationship lites": good practice in how to be a good friend.

But I also know how a "relationship lite" can be all wrong. The respect wasn't there. The feelings were, and so was the trust - undeservingly. In my own experiences, I can only say that it was my love of God who protected me and guided me from making mistakes. The Lord will hear my praises all my days because I sincerely believed I was saved from myself, weak and tempted.

For people who wish they were in a relationship - this is a good desire. Companionship with love is one of the highest goods.

There must be a foundation. I used to think friendship first was a necessary requisite, before I met my husband. We would have never been friends without romance - he doesn't keep in touch, most of our hobbies differ, and our schedules are tough to match.

Halloween 2013
We built our love through philosophical conversations during hikes, my willingness to play tennis and lose badly (he is much much better), his deep respect of me and my personhood, our mutual interest in knowing each other, and our shared temperament, beliefs and faith.

He was the light who turned on in my head. He made me realize that all the relationship lites were good, and that building good relationship with males without the entanglements of physicality only added new depth to our romance. He knows about my mistakes, prideful and shallow, and he trusts me with his.

The wait is worth it -- and not just the wait for sex. Sex is important and over-glorified. There is more intimacy in knowing who a person is, having the hard conversations with them, sharing in pain and disappointment, glowing in joy and happiness, being content with who you are, and accepting them for who they are - loving in the light of knowing, not the darkness of disguise. Love, true and selfless, is worth the wait.

When you go on dates, have fun. Laugh. Tell funny stories and listen to the other person. Dating is getting to know another person. Do not worry about the next date until it has arrived. Trust that you are enough, and know that you are worthy of the highest love.

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