woensdag 1 april 2015

Looking for an emotionally and spiritually mature partner

It is better to live in a corner of a roof Than in a house shared with a contentious woman. 

Proverbs 21:9

Thoughts on looking for a mature partner

There is a big difference between someone who can harness his childlike spirit, and be playful, loving, funny, and obnoxious, and someone who is still stuck the fragile emotional state of a teenager. Such a person can suddenly change like a leaf in the wind and blow up, loose their temper, become contentious and so on. A person like that is not truly ready for a mature adult relationship and will first need to work on his/her emotional development.  Such people can be recognised by the following characteristics:

1). They never explored their own emotional landscape or done inner personal work. They resist critical self-evaluation of their emotional make-up and responses. They certainly avoid extensive therapy or personal and emotional coaching.

2). They do not take responsibility for their errors or wrongs. They expect others to accept and forgive their emotional outbursts, issues, triggers, unresolved childhood stuff or dysfunctional family imprinting without wanting to talk about it, let alone ever take responsibility for personal emotional change and growth.

3). They are insecure and project their fears and emotional wounds onto you, but try to spin it in such a way that others look like the ones who have issues.

Emotionally stunted people are an epidemic in our culture where puberty seems to last longer and longer and sometimes a life time. A lot of emotionally stunted people have awesome and attractive personalities on the surface. They are really cool in every way until things do not go as they want or people do not do what they want.  They can hardly tolerate any hardship, conflict or disappointment and are unable to deal with their emotions in a mature manner.

Almost all of us get caught up with these types at one stage or another until we wise up. Why is this? Because in Western culture the emotional intelligence of people has been neglected for rational intelligence. Besides it often takes some time for people to see others as they actually are. Unfortunately a lot of us are so starved for connection that we then begin to make excuses for the immature behavior significant people in our lives display. We may even get roped into long-term relationships or marriage when WARNING LIGHTS have been flashing the entire time.

How can we avoid this in marriage? Stop falling for someone’s potential. Too many men fall in love with the idea of how a woman is, rather than with who she really is. Also too many women fall in love with the idea of how their man is and keep their eyes closed for who he really is. They sacrifice deep emotional intimacy and mutual caring friendship for good looks and hot sex, and then complain once the relationship fails.

If we enter into a long term relationship with someone who is emotionally immature we may end up babysitting, playing mommy or daddy, and in fact enable them to continue to behave like big spoiled irresponsible children.

We must encourage them to seek Gods help and the help of others to work through their issues. However we must avoid nagging them to do so. The desire to change must be genuine. It must come from within them and not from us or any other external pressure. For if they are not motivated to change it will never work. At most they will do better window dressing in order to appease us and give us the false impression all is now fine when it is not.

It is important that we choose partners who wholeheartedly value growth and emotional and spiritual development and demonstrate this in the way they live.

But a one-sided relationship where we are basically a surrogate-parent to our partner will eventually leave us and them unfulfilled and lonely if not bitter and resentful.

In our search for a partner we should therefore be looking for someone who stands out because he/she is seriously striving to follow Christ; Someone who does not hide or deny their sinful nature and human weakness, but seeks Gods help to overcome these. Someone who takes responsibility for overcoming his/her weaknesses in the genuine desire to be changed more into the likeness of Christ guided and aided by the Holy Spirit. Someone who by their whole lifestyle challenges us to grow as well.

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