Getting Realistic About Unrealistic #RelationshipGoals
So confession time—when I think about relationships during this day in age, I can’t help but laugh. Because honestly, what is a relationship? When it’s Facebook official? After you’ve tested the waters for a little bit? Because heaven only knows you can’t date until you’ve gone through the “talking” phase for at least 6 months, right?
I was scrolling through Instagram the other day, passing videos of puppies swimming in a blow up pool and another fitness model’s selfie, and came across a picture Channing Tatum had posted about his birthday gift from his wife—a HORSE. Now, that may not sound like an extreme gift, but how many of you would receive that from your significant other? Yeah, not to throw my boo under the bus, but I definitely wouldn’t be on that list either. Then I scroll down to the comments, just for humor. After about the first 7 comments I read, they all had one thing in common-- the word “#relationshipgoals”.
Really? THAT’S your goal for relationships? To get a pony you’ll probably ride twice? Now, I understand the whole idea of #relationshipgoals isn’t always meant to be realistic-- but it created a sense of disappointment and realization that most of us actually do take these ridiculous hashtags, from an edited posting of someone else’s life, and turn it into expectations for our own.
We have all seen hundreds of love movies that include the scenes of extreme “romance”- probably somewhere in between two lovers that were split up for decades and then magically put back together again when they run into reach other at a coffee shop, to the woman who moves to the other side of the world, away from the man of her dreams, only to get there and realize he left his old life and proclaims how he “can’t live without her” (cue the tears)- and we automatically look at our own lives and think something is terribly wrong because we can’t get our partners to even help make the bed.
Again. Because we have unrealistic #relationshipgoals.
So here’s what I have realized. Instead of creating a set list of storybook expectations, let’s bring out the REAL in relationships.A relationship that lasts forever doesn’t base its success off of a movie or Hollywood superstars. It’s regular people, like you and me, driving each other up a wall one moment and in absolute infatuation in the next, but not wanting it any other way.
In my opinion, let’s cut out these absurd, brain-drilled anticipations we have created and expect one’s that create a fire you have never experienced before:
1. THE BEST RELATIONSHIPS ARE EASY RELATIONSHIPS
Nope, nope, and nope. Just because you guys have the same political views or would both like to be at home on a Saturday night instead of out at the club, that doesn’t mean you are meant for each other. Real relationships get dirty. They include two imperfect people trying to do life together- so go ahead and expect the screw up. Not to say everything needs to be difficult, but if all is smooth sailing, make sure you’re keeping it real and not just holding back on your own opinions and wants in order to navigate around the arguments. Let’s be honest, upfront, and ready for attack in whatever battles come your way.
2. EXPECTING YOUR PARTNER TO FIX ALL OF YOUR PROBLEMS
Despite what Coldplay wants you to believe, nobody has the capability of “fixing you”. The only person who is in control of the choices you make and the way you feel is YOU. I’ve always heard the cliché saying “you can’t love someone else until you love yourself”, but never actually understood it until I went through a season of my life where I searched for someone else to fill me with worthiness. It wasn’t until I actually spent a lot of time isolated, and decided who I was as a daughter of God, did I comprehend my weaknesses and that I could not handle being in a relationship until I took the reins on them myself. The only thing your partner should do from there is support you as much as possible and let God do the rest of the work.
3. STOP EXPECTING TO FIX ALL YOUR PARTNER’S PROBLEMS
Just because your partner shouldn’t rearrange the pieces of your puzzle, that doesn’t give you the right to try and complete theirs. When you stop creating this image of exactly who you want your partner to be and start loving the person they are, you are released from the heaviest chains you may have ever had to carry. The apology you’ve been waiting years for- let it go. The begging of your partner to be cleaner- drop it and accept it that they are just messy. Instead of trying to morph them into the person you want, show loyalty and devotion to the person they are. If it’s a topic that is causing issues within the relationship beyond just your own selfishness, take it to God and pray. And pray hard. Trying to continually press that change against your partner will only cause rebellion and frustration. If you’re chasing the right person, their heart should be so focused on God that they will know when God is trying to tell them something they may need to consider shifting. That’s when you see the most transformation.
4. ALWAYS HAVING TO SHOW OFF YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO THE WORLD
Without a doubt, we can blame social media for this ridiculous idea in all the areas of our lives we want to proclaim to the public. Especially with relationships, it’s almost required that we post every detail of what we say, what we get, and how “successful” we are, so that others believe we have nothing to work on behind the scenes. Don’t get me wrong, proud posts are a great way to show your love and appreciation to your partner, but if you’re trying to win the public’s approval over God’s, you need to reevaluate your priorities. With that being understood, I’m not saying the best choice is to go back and talk about all the battles the two of you are facing, which usually includes some sort of passive-aggressive anonymous comment about your issues (we all know those people), but where did we start finding our achievement from other people’s comments and “likes”? If you really want to create a deeper relationship, cut the show. Keep it simple. Keep it real. Keep it between you two.
5. HAVING A “IT’S MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY” MENTALITY
I think one of the most misconstrued beliefs about relationships is that you must be independent, regardless of the other person, and make sure you stick with exactly who you are and what you want. When I think of this, I almost want to ask what are their goals are for a relationship. It’s about two people bringing in their baggage and their ambitions, with different qualities and opinions, and making an effort to create a balance. No, you will never agree on everything, but that doesn’t mean you get up and walk away. No, you will not always have the same love language, but just because you see physical touch as a way of appreciation and your partner needs to be told words of affirmation, it doesn’t give you the right to continually hug them. If you do, you’re asking for a dramatic increase in issues. The way I see myself in a relationship is that I am an independent person, with or without my partner, however I know that joined along side of them, I am a better version of me than when I am not. That’s okay to admit. That’s how it should be. They should create a fire in you that drives you to go higher, who encourages you to take those next steps, and who also challenges you in ways you may not have thought about before. In the end, you are a team. And a team doesn’t win without all their players contributions.