The idea of relationship goals is that there’s some ideal, some picture of what you want in your own relationship that is exhibited by a different couple. They might be people you know, celebrities or fictional characters, but the idea is that they have something you want. Their relationship is your goal.

That’s not healthy. Don’t do it. It’s not bad to see aspects of other couples’ relationships that you want for yourself. It’s actually a good thing to look at another healthy relationship and say “What are they doing right and how can I do that too?” But it becomes dangerous when you expect your relationship to look exactly like someone else’s. Have standards, have expectations (for yourself, as well as your significant other), but don’t base those things solely off other people. Base those off something better, something stronger, something that’s not flawed. Base those things off God.

A dependence on God and God alone is true #RelationshipGoals.

Don’t look to your significant other for fulfillment. Whether you’re dating or engaged or married, they will never be able to fulfill you. Never. For some romantics, that might be hard to swallow. But being in a true relationship with someone means knowing all of their flaws and loving them through them. It means sacrifice and commitment. Love is a choice, an action. It’s not an emotion, but a daily decision. Some days, that decision is the easiest decision you can make. Others, it will be harder. But no matter how much you love someone, you will never find fulfillment in that relationship. Humans, everyone single one of us (yes, you too), are broken creatures. We will fail over and over and over again. No matter how wonderful your boyfriend or girlfriend is, they will fail you. They’re going to mess up. You’re going to mess up. It’s going to be messy all around. The truth is, putting your ultimate hope and fulfillment in someone just as broken as yourself will only lead to disappointment and heartache. Instead, put your hope in the one who created not just you and the one you love, but also the world and universe in which you live. He will never fail you.

Don’t look to someone else’s relationship for fulfillment, either. Comparing your relationship (whether it’s one you’re currently in or hope to one day be in) is incredibly dangerous. It creates false expectations and standards. Every relationship is unique, just like every person. And every relationship has its own flaws which most of the world won’t see. Our society is incredibly good at deception, at making something ugly look desirable. We don’t want anyone to see the hurt, the pain, the brokenness inside. And relationships are no exception. A thousand cute, romantic pictures on Instagram does not mean that everything is sunshine and rainbows and unicorns. It just means someone is really good at making it look that way. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Either way, appearances are deceiving, and we need to be careful not to compare what we have with what we think we want. Often times, what we think we want is not as good as it seems.

It’s wise to talk to strong couples (especially older, married ones—you know, the ones with lots of experience at this) about how they make things work. It’s wise to seek advice. It’s wise to have standards. However, it’s also necessary to understand that fulfillment can never come from someone else besides your Creator, a God who loves and cherishes and understands you more than any human ever could. Being in love with him first is my #RelationshipGoal.