Kianna Garmanian, Staff Writer
What does a healthy relationship look like and what do you look for in a potential spouse?
Avery, thank you so much for sending in this wonderful question. I believe it is really important to know what you are looking for in a relationship and how you should not only seek out such qualities or attributes in others, but also work on bettering yourself. Your question has two parts to it, so let’s begin by looking at the first part of your question about healthy relationships. I am definitely no cupid or relationship expert, but I do have a few helpful pointers. One of the most important pieces of advice I can share is this: Relationships are not about loving yourself through another person. It is really easy to start dating someone for your own selfish reasons, because you wish to receive their affection, attention, and praise, or because you want to tell others you have a boyfriend or girlfriend. If all you focus on is the love you receive, rather than the love you should be offering, the relationship will not blossom in its fullness. In a healthy, life-giving relationship, both the man and the woman seek out ways to love and serve the other, demonstrating true, sacrificial love.
Too often, couples forget the true essence of love, as many relationships are misused and based on lust, pleasure, and self-satisfaction. In an age when sex and bodies are glorified and praised, relationships are increasingly losing their authenticity. Love shouldn’t be based solely on sexual gratification or fulfilling one’s own desires. Yet, the popular response/objection to this is, “I can do whatever the heck I want” or “My body is mine! I am free to do as I wish.” The question should not be whether or not we are free to do what we want, but whether we are using our freedom to nurture a healthy relationship. Abusing our freedom will lead to the destruction of relationships that should be rooted in sacrificial love.
Another thing to keep in mind: Remember that you, along with all other individuals, are temples of the Lord who bear the upmost dignity. By truly understanding this, you will begin to see others through the lens of Christ, which is the lens of love. In a healthy relationship, a man and woman should see Christ in the other and treat each other as such. Now, to address the second part of your question, keep this in mind; look for an individual who is willing to stand up for what you believe in, what you stand for, and who shares common values. This doesn’t mean that you have to see eye-to-eye with your spouse about every matter, just the important moral truths. Pray for your future spouse and ask the Lord to help you meet an individual who is willing to walk with you on this faith journey, so that together, you may lead one another closer to Jesus.
Most importantly, do not worry. The Lord is watching over you and has your best interest in mind. If you have yet to find the individual you wish to marry, the time will come. And, when you do find that individual, remember the importance of sacrificial, life-giving love, which is different from loving yourself through another person. Love is a sacrifice, and in a healthy marriage, both the man and woman “die” to themselves daily. It is in this “dying” to your own needs, desires, and wants and choosing to serve, love, and respect the other that allows a marriage to become truly prosperous in the eyes of the Lord.
May God’s blessings rest upon you, Avery, and all others who are discerning the will of God in their lives.