I recently received some dating advice from a dear friend of mine. I'd heard it before, but it never really resonated with me because I wasn't in a relationship. Over the past couple months I've had the pleasure (insert sarcastic tone) of filtering through my emotions and deliberately praying about my possible feelings for a close guy friend. I absolutely hate dealing with my own emotions and to be honest, I have a difficult time figuring out what I'm feeling and why I'm feeling it.
I confronted a friend of mine asking her for some advice on what to do. She told me that I needed to look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
" Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
She suggested I replace the word "love" or any place where the word "love" is assumed with the name of the guy. For instance,
"____ is patient, ____ is kind. ____ does not envy, _____ does not boast, _____ is not proud. ____ does not dishonor others, _____ is not self-seeking, ____ is not easily angered, ____ keeps no record of wrongs. ____ does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. ____ always protects, _____ always trusts, _____ always hopes, _____ always preserves."
When she first told me this, I was so excited to try it. I believe my thoughts were "YES. LOOK AT GOD. THE BIBLE IS ALWAYS RELEVANT!" I pulled out my phone, yes, my phone because not everyone has jean pockets big enough to hold a cell phone yet alone a small New Testament only Gideon Bible (That's right. I'm looking at you ladies' jean designers. I'm not bitter.). ANYWAY. I pulled out my phone and looked up these verses. I tried it out and found that this guy scored a whopping 5 out of 14.
I was immediately disheartened. It wasn't a terrible score....okay, it was a terrible score. I really like this guy; he's really great! As Jacque Clouseau would say, he's like an artichoke. You have to peel back a couple layers before you reach the heart.
I was so confused. He's a good guy!
Annnnd...that's when God slapped me in the face.
He slapped me in the face with something I couldn't believe I'd been so oblivious to. I've never been the person that God directly speaks to frequently, but He couldn't have been any clearer.
"You do not understand My love, true love. You cannot expect him to fulfill all of these, when you yourself cannot fulfill all of them."
In that moment I realized I'd received the best dating advice from the best, most reliable source.
We cannot expect our boyfriends/girlfriends to be perfect. They won't be nor will they ever be. Neither will you be. I feel like in today's society we expect everyone else to measure up to impossible standards that we ourselves cannot meet. We embrace these unrealistic expectations expecting them to be fulfilled. It doesn't work that way. Love, doesn't work that way. No matter how hard we try, we will never be able to check off all 14 requirements stated in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. We may meet a few of them from time to time, but none of them will remain consistently checked off. We have to destroy the idea that perfect people exist, because they don't.
However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to find people who are striving to adapt to God's definition of love. Because people like this do happen to exist. The realization that nobody is perfect, nor will any relationship be perfect is not an excuse to date whomever and whenever. God's word still holds true and His timing is impeccably perfect. In the end, the only answer to "is this the type of guy/girl I should be dating?" is another question. Is he chasing after God with his/her whole heart? Is he/she seeking God out? There are people who do not want to chase after God's will and insist on being their own "savior." On the flip side, there are Godly men and women who devote themselves to becoming more and more like their Creator.
I know which one I'd choose. Do you?