Each of us make assumptions about love and relationships. We may not even realize that we are operating out of a set of pre-conceived ideas, ideas that may have influenced our behavior since we discovered members of the opposite sex. Yet, there are some big differences between what we think about love and sociological findings. Think about the following seven assumptions and rate them as true or false.
1. The most important thing, when it comes to love and happiness, is picking the right partner.
Answer: False. Everyone picks a fellow sinner. Being the right partner is truly essential. The only person in the marriage that you can change is yourself. Most of us want the other to change but are unwilling to bend ourselves.
2. Few people agree on what love really is.
Answer: False. Studies of both men and women demonstrate that love means the same thing to most of us. Love is a decision, a commitment to care, to meet the needs of the other person.
3. You can over-think love.
Answer: False. Real love is a decision that you make over and over throughout the life of a relationship, requiring thought and purposeful action. Studies indicate that thinking people have a greater capacity to change and adapt to the circumstances of a relationship.
4. Absence makes a heart grow fonder.
Answer: False. The reality is that absence causes the heart to wander. Being together is vital to resolving differences and to growing more intimate with each other. Separation makes communication more difficult, relationships more strained. Absence might foster romantic notions, but in it, reality doesn’t help a relationship to grow.
5. It’s important to keep feelings of love alive.
Answer: True. And false. Feelings no doubt got you into a love relationship, but relying on them will probably make you want out of it! Shared values such as a commitment to loving behavior, equality, and friendship, resulting in feelings of love for one another. But the most important value in a successful loving relationship is a shared faith in God—the third person in a relationship’s “cord of three.” “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer,” says Ecclesiastes 4:12, “Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
6. If he or she loved me, they’d know what I’m thinking.
Answer: False. Your partner is not a mind reader. We often assume that we have communicated thoughts, feelings, needs, or desires when we haven’t. Hints don’t work. Or if we have communicated, we’ve only done it once but assume that that did the trick. The ability to mind read is not a sign of romance. Being specific and clear with thoughts and feelings on a regular basis is the key.
7. We should be able to figure this out.
Answer: False. Seeking help is healthy. Staying in an unhealthy cycle and berating yourselves gets you nowhere. Relationships are complex, take mindful work and benefit from counseling, the wisdom of good books or relationship classes, and most of all, prayer together.
When we begin to live out the relationship principles found in God’s Word, transformation is possible.
Resource reading: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7