In my early 30’s I had kind of a “come to Jesus” time when it comes to dating and the search for a spouse. I had done pretty much everything wrong up until that point and worse, I had not really dealt with a lot of my own insecurities, sin, and woundedness. But thankfully the Lord (directly and through others in my life) met me in that and I was able to work through a lot of stuff.
That led me to actually be able to succeed. Here’s what I realized right away. As a friend of mine said, “When you’re a guy in his 30s who has himself figured out – it’s a buyers market.” What he meant was there are a lot of available women looking for that.
Now to be clear, I was kind of relearning how to date but even then I began to realize he was right. And once I figured it out it was even a little overwhelming. I went on a lot of dates which taught me an important thing that I talked about last week. There is always someone else. Always.
Now it is important for us to know that but it can also lead to other traps. I floated on the edge of some of these but I’ve seen some of my friends and other guys really fall into them.
We live in a consumer culture. We want exactly what meets our needs and we are always looking for the next thing that will do that. This is bad for the spouse search. It can lead to us bailing every time that someone doesn’t meet our needs. When we see imperfections in the person we can think there is someone better. Why commit if there could be someone better? This is a huge contributor to divorce. If I’m married and it isn’t going well, that must mean that I didn’t marry the right ONE and there must be someone else.
After all there will always be someone else. Always.
It doesn’t matter how hot someone is, there will be someone hotter. There will also be someone smarter, more fun, more adventurous, funnier, more understanding of my flaws, etc. Always. Even if you are married there will be other people you are attracted to. That isn’t going to stop.
To be honest, at some level it’s always fun to meet a new person. I mean there is this new hope that they could be the one you’ve dreamed of – who is “perfect” for you. Some can even become basically obsessed with dating.
Online dating is a great way to see this. There is always another profile (usually far away geographically – I swear it’s a conspiracy by the online dating sites to keep you there). I mean you could stay online and meet people for the next ten years. If you are always dating and it never goes anywhere, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that might be partly you. Ha.
It’s easy to become addicted to the search. Some of us have been searching for a long time. Its what we know. We’ve also been told by our married friends, cocky single friends, and even the Church that we should never settle. While that’s true on some level it can be a standard that practically guarantees singleness. We get so comfortable looking for the ONE that we become completely uncomfortable being with even the right one. It makes it hard to commit if there could be someone better.
We need to understand that marriage is a choice and a covenant. It is a decision to love another person the rest of their life regardless of what happens. It means being all in.
We need to change the question. We need to stop looking for the perfect person and start looking for the right person. Now the right person may feel perfect and probably should a lot of the time, but no one will feel that way all of the time and if we expect that, then we will never actually commit to anyone.
We need to know that there can always be someone else. It gives us the freedom to pursue without fear. But at the same time it doesn’t mean that we have to always pursue the next person.
So where are you at with all of this? Are you addicted to the search? Are you looking for the perfect one or the right one?