Quick Disclaimer – This post is written for those men and women who are dating. It is expressly NOT written for those who are already in a covenant marriage relationship. To use these words and apply them to a marriage would be misguided, and likely sinful. Instead, please consider reading this post or this post.
When I was younger, there was a popular song that used to grate on my nerves, and on my idealistic notions.[affiliate link]. The reason for the agitation was because of the words that the chorus ended with –
Baby, sometimes love….
Just ain’t enough.
To a young woman looking and longing for love, these words were antithetical to what I believed about relationships. After all, finding someone to love you and that you loved was the hard part, at least in my mindset. Once that was accomplished, it should be enough to sustain the relationship. Shouldn’t it?
Eventually, however, I realized that there was some truth in those words. I grew to learn that you could really care for someone and that doesn’t mean that it was the person that God had called you to be with. I learned that sometimes as humans, maybe specifically as girls, we try to rationalize accepting a relationship that is “good enough” because we value and appreciate the other person, even if that person isn’t God’s best for us.
In the long run, though, this often leads to heartache and pain. So it would be wise to consider how we can make this determination. What indicates that, despite our affections for someone, they may not be God’s best for us?
From my experience, there are at least three situations that we want to be wary of –
1) When feelings are overwhelmed by facts – It’s possible to really care for someone and yet the facts of the situation indicate that this isn’t the person God has planned for you. Perhaps the most obvious example is if the other person is an unbeliever. However, that’s not the only time. If you are being called into full-time ministry, and the other person isn’t, than you have to question whether this is a relationship that should continue. If you want kids, and the other person doesn’t, the same applies. Although facts may change over the course of a lifetime, as you’re pondering committing to someone for the rest of your life, it’s not something you can count on. Based on where the facts stand today, you must consider whether they support the relationship.
2) When companionship subjugates commitment – We all know it’s nice to be around someone we like. However, the problem is that sometimes we can like being around that person so much, that we fail to see we aren’t really committed to that person. It can’t be enough to enjoy someone’s company; we have to be willing to sacrifice our own desires for the good of the other person. If all we are concerned with is whether we like spending time with that person, we will quickly learn that is not enough to build a long-lasting relationship. In fact, you want to make sure that your commitment doesn’t wane, even when you’re upset with the individual. When you don’t desire their companionship (because they’ve temporarily upset you, etc.), but are still committed to them, that it a good thing.
3) When compatibility doesn’t equal chemistry – I’m all too familiar with people who evaluate the person they’re dating based on what the relationship looks like on paper. If there is a “sufficient” amount of compatibility between the two – they like the same things, believe the same things, respond the same way – we tend to think that the relationship should work. And maybe it could work, but most great relationships go beyond just compatibility; they also have chemistry. Chemistry is that hard-to-define “extra” that makes a relationship sparkle. Compatibility is essential for it, but it doesn’t guarantee it. If all the dots line up, but the relationship still just doesn’t seem to “work,” then it’s probably not the person you should be dating.
The truth of the matter is that none of this is easy. When we find someone we care for and that we believe cares for us, we want that to be enough. But sometimes it isn’t. And perhaps more marriages would last if we were willing to wait for God’s best, rather than accepting what seems merely sufficient.