One of the most foolish mistakes we can make in how we approach a romantic relationship is comparison. Although, I've found comparison to be corrosive in all of my relationships recently.
Social media corrupts our view of ourselves and of our relationships, romantic or not. Based on someone else's apparent happiness in their relationship, how another couple spends their time together, and the progression of another couple's relationship, we form inaccurate judgments about them and about ourselves.
We start to think about all the ways our relationship isn't as successful as theirs. It's corrosive, and we don't even realize we're doing it. But I have found myself on more than one occasion having an unavoidable guilt set in because I'm not that or I don't do that or my boyfriend doesn't say that.
It's not that I consciously wish that my relationship were any different from the way that it is, but most definitely, subconsciously, I start to feel superior or inferior, depending on the comparison. It certainly stems from pride, and we can't let pride win.
Social media isn't the only culprit. Sometimes comparison can happen in person, too. You watch how that couple interacts, not out of admiration, but out of envy or judgment. Comparison causes a bitterness and competitive nature that were never meant to be in our relationships.
To be sure, don't close your relationship off to outside influences, wisdom, and advice. Pay attention to what you admire in other people's relationships, but don't admire that they go on hikes instead of watching a movie or that her boyfriend posts more about her on social media than yours does. Those things are so petty and so fake.
Admire the way that they talk to each other, the way they argue, how they make decisions together, the respect they show one another, the support they give to each other, and where their focus is.
You can't see any of those things by scrolling through social media. Remember that. If you know that you want to improve those areas of your relationship, remind yourself that you're not going to find good examples by looking at pictures.
You'll find them by looking at people, in person, up close. You'll be influenced not by pictures or captions or tweets, but by developing friendships with couples whom you admire.
If you are not currently in a relationship, social media gives indisputably wrong perceptions of the reality of other people's relationships. Wishing that you had a relationship like that Instagram-famous Christian couple or those YouTube sensations or even friends of yours is almost telling God that you know what is good in a relationship better than He does.
What looks good on social media isn't ever reality. We all know that. It's been in the headlines and the topic of speeches and somewhat of a movement on social media. But when you know your relationship or singleness inside and out, it's easy to become downtrodden with comparison, especially when you're only seeing one side of other couples' relationships.
Admire what really matters in a couple. It's not even what their boundaries are or how much time they spend together. It's how they interact with each other.
God has a design for you, whether it includes a relationship or not. He wants us to learn and grow, but there's a reason why your relationship looks different than that other couple: you are made that way. No couple is going to be the same or enjoy the same activities. But every couple should encourage one another in how they act and interact, to pursue Christ more and to love each other better.