In Love-Like-Limo or Lies – “Being and Becoming: Accepted and Beloved, in mutually beneficial relationships can be both happy and/or rather confusing times. Often, we cannot tell if we are in like, in love or in limbo somewhere in between the two. This is because we are all in the process of being and becoming, and we tend to label others and ourselves according to mental models. These mental models are built from notions of good, bad, or indifferent personality types and lifestyles.
In the teens and twenties, these same mental models can cause young people to pattern themselves after persons who fit preferred models. In so doing, people label themselves as students, employees, athletes, musicians, and/or the gainfully employed. Often, these labels help classify who we are and the type of persons we want to marry. If someone marries young, the relationship takes on another level of faith; as they must have faith that their partner will actually become the projection of their ideal self. In some cases, partners actually graduate from college, start the business, or recover from addiction. In other cases, the college degree does not guarantee financial stability and/or the business may take several years before it becomes profitable. In either case, people tend to grow closer or further apart when they inaccurately label themselves and their partners.
On the other hand, when finding a partner in the 30s or 40s, people tend to be more settled in their careers and have established moral or immoral character patterns. While this idea of striving to become one’s ideal-self can carry over into the 30’s and 40’s; often; the individual’s life patterns can be traced and observed. Then, other labels come into play. Labels include: single, divorced, many children, no children, veteran employee, habitually unemployed, productive citizen, or habitual offender, and many other combinations. Amidst the combinations, we tend to build relationships with the people who can help reach mutal goals.
In Limbo or Lies - This navigation process can also make partners wonder if they are in limbo or in lies. Even if both persons have been honest in self-assessments and in their assessment of their partners, it may honestly seem like someone is lying or being deceptive. This relationship dynamic reminds me of that old saying, “When 2 people meet – 6 people are present.” In that each person holds a unique view of themselves (2 people); a unique view of their partner (2 people); and then who they really are (2 people). I find this to be true, as we naturally hold a view of ourselves that includes blind spots that we may need help working through. Then, we tend to have a unique view of our partners. This may be a viewpoint that their parents, relatives, or co-workers may never get a chance to observe. Lastly, there is the third idiom of, “who they/we really are,” which is also subject to perspective. I would like to think it is God’s perspective of who He has called them to “Be and Become.” The third idiom is not only God’s perspective of who they really are; but also all of the people, places, and things He has set in place to help each achieve His divine purpose and destiny.
This is a very interesting perspective, as we tend to reach our divine purpose and destiny through prayer, meditation, contemplation, and obedience to God. With this in mind, the fundamental question is, “Can my friends and potential mates help me grow closer to God?” This is very important, as sometimes, Christians tend to naturally seek the best in others. As we mature in the faith and redefine relationships with our families, friends, and potential marriage partners – we must question their ability to help us mature in our relationship with God. After all, all relationships should be a love triangle. Where the two people are at the bottom of the triangle and God is on top. This way, when they grow closer to God, they naturally grow closer to one another. Then, the opposite is also true, if one partner begins to grow away from God, it means their moral character has shifted, and the relationship is in limbo. This is a definite sign that something is wrong in the love triangle.
In Like or in Love – While the love triangle is the optimal situation, often relationships are built or torn apart by childhood developmental issues surrounding trust v mistrust; autonomy v shame; and industry v guilt. In that, the most emotionally stable individuals have found balance in trusting relationships, which allow for a sense of autonomy (independence) and industry (productivity). Moreover, the friends and partners may further grow in relationships when they purposely choose to speak the truth in love to minimize both guilt and shame. After all, in relationships, sometimes tough and embarrassing conversations arise. Yet, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the conversations may be embarrassing at first, but positive resolutions will cause love to grow deeper with time. This is because we have spent enough time in their presence to know that their words are not formed to hurt us. In addition to the words, their actions are in love and that knowing causes us to feel secure in the relationship. Moreover, when a person knows that the partner’s love is embedded in obedience to God, the force of love’s synergy helps propel the partnership into His divine purpose and destiny for the relationship. Then, like Mark 10:9 admonishes, “What God has put together, let no man separate.” This always leads to the question, “Did God really put this relationship together?” We will discuss how to answer this question at the end of this chapter.
Conversely, the most dysfunctional or troubled relationships tend to be built on lies, deceit, and distrust. They also produce feelings of guilt or shame. While no relationship is perfect, most relationships fall somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. Finding a comfortable balance between each stage in the relationship is what makes us wonder if we are in like, in love, in lies or limbo.
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