Many people dream about their future spouse from when they are young. Maybe they have a certain eye color, height, skin tone or hair color, body type, etc. It’s easy to imagine what they may look like, but other characteristics become more important as you grow older. However, not only older but even as a relationship evolves, many factors become a higher priority rather than what a person looks like. Relationships are filled with endless possibilities and this can be scary at times, but we are typically drawn to a certain type of person when looking for a life-long companion. Athletes may be drawn to athletes and it’s common for people working together either for the same organization or within the same profession to end up dating or even married because of obvious similarities.
People like what they like and there is nothing wrong with that, but what is your like based on? Is it only about how attractive they are? Is it solely based on their physical appearance? Are you looking for some eye candy? Or for someone to just look good on your arm? “Arm Charm”
Being open to possibilities in a relationship is vital. Possibilities present opportunities for the unknown and the unforeseen to happen. When you are open to possibilities you open yourself to a world and things that you may have not thought of or experienced. People often talk about what could possibly go wrong, but let's switch our thinking to what could possible to go right. Your future relationship is a possibility. Don’t limit your happiness or fulfillment in a relationship by a physical package or just how attractive some may be.
During the holiday season one year, I remember standing in line waiting to get some gifts wrapped. As I stood in line I remember admiring the beautiful samples of the gift-wrapping they placed on the wall. I remember how well put together the packages were. Nicely wrapped looking perfect. The unique thing about those gifts was that they had nothing inside them. They were empty. From the outside they looked good, but would bring no one happiness if you were to give them to someone. They were just for show. They brought nothing to the table but a pretty outside.
Beauty can be said as skin deep. But what is underneath that skin is that real question and the real value. A person can come in a nice package but what is on the inside. You may be drawn to a particular type of physical package when looking or expecting a mate but, what about a person’s character and moral and value system on the inside?
If you’re looking to get in to a relationship, you may have your eye on someone. You may be observing this person as a potential partner. They may have all the assets you like from a physical standpoint but what about what’s inside. Are they attractive on the outside like the gift samples I saw on the wall but empty on the inside? Do they possess character, values and morals that will last in the long run? Physical attraction is just that. It’s an attraction. It attracts but it doesn’t keep.
The person you think you may desire to be with may have the right physical package but do they have the right heart package is the greater question.
If you are currently single, there may be a person in your life right now that you have been overlooking because they don’t seem to meet the desirable physical or visual package you have been expecting. Maybe they aren’t physically what you dreamed of. Nonetheless, perhaps this individual treats you lovingly and respectfully that communicates to your exact need in ways you have never been loved and treated before. It’s easy to fall into the trap of dating the person who seems to have life all put together – nice car, house, dream job – but how would that person treat you? Are they too busy in the mirror checking themselves out rather than telling you how good you look or how significant you in their life or how much they mean to you? Are they selfish and only concerned with what they have going on?
Having been a pastor for over 6 years, I have heard countless stories of men and women from all backgrounds meeting under unbelievable circumstances. Over the course of time and in writing this book, I would pick that brains of couples that had been together for a long time and ask certain questions. Such as:
What attracted you to this person?
Why did you stay with this person?
Over and over I heard stories of couples that were drawn together and stayed together thanks to their partners values. It was what was inside that person that made them stay. One thing may have attracted them, but it was another thing that helped them stay together
Values vs. Desire
Desire is simply something you want and it can be based on something good or bad for you. It’s often shaped by your surroundings and circumstances in life, such as wanting coffee or a greasy meal after working hard all day. You may want a vacation to warmer weather in the middle of winter. You may suddenly want a new pair of sneakers when your friends come strolling in with new shoes. Not all desires are bad, but basing a relationship strictly on desire can end in disaster.
Values are what shape and mold you and what you can’t live without. You may value good and bad things, but these are more long-term. This could be acceptance, adventure, assurance, balance, belonging, helping others, working hard, career, commitment, encouragement, family, community, involvement, learning, marriage, trust and a long list of various other attributes. Your values may change over time, but you will not be satisfied with someone long-term if they don’t share many of the same values.
Here are a few questions to ponder as you think about how your values and desires have shaped the way you have approached relationships in the past.
Am I looking for a mate based on my values or desires?
What will I value in a mate 10 years from now?
What are some of the selfish qualities people in previous relationships have shown?
Who in my life have I been overlooking?
Would I be open to the possibilities of finding love in an unexpected place?
What are my values?
What are my desires?
Dr. Larry Alan Nadig, PhD Clinical Psychologist, suggests that similar core values are highly crucial in selecting a mate and vital in order to maintain an effective relationship. These include:
Each of these core values plays a vital part when looking for that special someone who may potentially become your life-long partner. There will be plenty challenges and issues that arise over time that you cannot possibly predict. You can, however, predict how a person will respond in certain situations based on their values. When tough times in a relationship come, (and they will come) how your partner responds will be drawn up in their value system not their physical appearance. How will they respond; will their looks help your relationship or will their values help your relationship? Remember the gift wrapping I talked about earlier? Let's imagine that I brought some beautifully wrapped gifts home for Christmas. I told everyone that the packages have some great gifts inside, the gifts on the inside would help them when they were in trouble or when they had a serious need, but they could not open the gifts until they really needed to. So the persons I gave the gifts to carried these packages around just to show everyone they had gotten something. They were pretty much just showing them off. They took pride in the packages because they were pretty, they were big, they were the envy of everyone that looked at them. These packages were there just for eye candy, so that the people with them could be envied.
The time came when the individuals with the packages needed them. They experienced a challenging time. So the persons with the gift went to open the package because they had an expectation that what they valued and what they needed would be in the gift but they quickly found out that there was nothing of any value in the packages. Now the person is presented with disappointment and frustration. This happens far too often in relationships that are built on superficial desires of carnal attraction. You may have even experienced yourself.
A minister traveled to a church to speak and became a repeat guest. He took notice of a unique lady and began to inquire about her. He found out that the young lady was indeed single and she was quite impressive. This young minister asked the lead pastor of the church to arrange a meeting. The lead pastor agreed. At the meeting, this traveling minister expressed his interest in this particular lady. He said to her that he was interested in courting her and that she was very attractive, intelligent and it would be an honor to pursue a relationship with her. The young lady allowed the minister to finish his presentation of his interest. Upon his completion and expression of his intentions, the young lady informed him that she had no interest in him whatsoever. She indicated that this man was not her type at all. She liked taller, more physically impressive men. She was used to dating more attractive men. The traveling minister was short and slightly round. The lead pastor interrupted the meeting and began counseling them. Now, I don’t know all the details of everything the pastor said, however, I do know that he talked about being available to possibilities. Rather than just looking at the outward appearance of this traveling preacher, he asked the young woman to look at his heart. His heart was pure, honest and his intentions were respectable. This young lady agreed to go on at least one date with the traveling minister.
Upon looking beyond this minister’s external features, she found that their values, vision and what they were looking for in a mate were very similar. She looked at this man through her value system rather than just a checklist of shallow desires and external looks.
The couple was married and began traveling and speaking together and they have been married for over 10 years. They are compatible in unpredicted ways that wouldn’t have been possible with other people.
A person’s value system will determine whether they stay by you when you are sick and during a challenging financial time, not whether they are tall or short, have a volleyball player physique or could lose a few pounds. It’s a person’s values that will stick with you when your future children are challenging. Choosing a mate who has a similar value system as you will help you grow stronger, have a happier relationship full of respect and love.
Pursue your mate based on values and not just looks and selfish desires
What if the person who would treat you in the way you wanted and needed to be treated came in an unexpected package? What if that person would love you the way you wanted to be loved and wasn’t tall as you always dreamed about – or was lacking the physique you desired? People often choose a mate based on superficial desires or merely based on physical attraction. It’s worthy to be physically attracted to the person you engage in a relationship, but the issue with solely focusing on this is that physical appearances change over the course of months and years. Look at an elderly couple – their relationship is based on more than physical features. They may have learned that, what is really essential about a person is what is on the inside. Styles and fads come and go and your interests will also change. But what a person values will stick with them for life and it is an expression of their, moral standard and fortitude to get through life’s twists and turns. You need more than a pretty face as a partner to walk through good and bad times in life. You need more than just “eye candy” and a “arm charm”. Would the person you have your sights on now stand firmly by your side if you were in a car accident and expected a prolonged recovery in the hospital? Would they work hard to provide for you and future children? Would they drop everything to help a family member in need without building resentment?
Ask yourself this question and demand an honest answer: has a relationship worked out as expected in the past when I selected a potential partner solely based on physical attraction?
Have you ever stopped to consider what values are most important to you in a relationship? Your values should be higher and greater than your desires. It takes time to work this out, but who you decide to spend time with will change as you determine what you truly value. The person that is really for you may be the plan that you never though of…