When the semester heats up and the students begin to feel the pressure of exams and papers etc. quite often other issues surface. Every human being has only so much energy and when academics makes its demands sometimes it is no longer possible to contain other worries or concerns.
One area which I have been hearing a lot about lately is relationships....
Who can figure them out?. There are so many variables, so many things to consider. A relationship between a young woman and a young man means so many different things to so many different people. Sometimes, sadly too frequently, it even means something different to the young man and the young woman in the relationship. Is it companionship, or more ? Is the relationship supposed to make me a better person or not? Does this relationship have staying potential or is it destined to be short term. Am I even in a place where I could consider giving myself to another person for the long term ? In other words its often important to ask yourself.. Have I even figured myself out enough to share myself with someone else?
Sadly sometimes when you ask couples in the same relationship the answers to these important questions are very different. Sometimes and even worse I might add, participants in many relationships calmly admit they never really took the time to think or talk about were they are or what they hope for. No commitment... no energy spent to even consider what this person means to me or where this relationship is going.
If I have learned one thing, I have learned that gender stereotypes do not hold a lot of water when you speak about relationships. It is too easy to say the man is the non-thinker, short termer, just in it for the moment person. Yes this is true sometimes but not always. Adversely it is not realistic to say that the woman is only in a relationship for the long term. Yes some women give their heart away too soon and yes some men don't even know that they have a heart, but frequently I have seen these roles reversed or even shared between the genders...
So what... What is the point of these few little sentences ?
1. It is so important to remember that there is a person on the other end of that relationship. There is a person with feelings, passions, dreams and emotions who deserves to be respected and to be treated with dignity. Failing to do so is one of the cruelest things a human being can do.
2. If someone is in a relationship it is essential that they take the time to think about it and evaluate it What are we doing in this relationship ? Where do we see it going ? Why do I spend so much time with you ? Going through the motions without thought or reflection just does not give the other person the respect they need or deserve.
3. It is VERY IMPORTANT to HONESTLY COMMUNICATE what you learned from your reflection. Everyone involved in a relationship should know what the other person's expectations are or what they are thinking (if they are)
4. It is important to try and stay at the same place as a relationship develop, in other words walk side by side as you go down the road of relationships. I know this is difficult but it is important to develop the relationship together if possible. It is very sad when one person is going through the motions and the other has already given their heart away.... (not a good situation) Those of you who have lived it know how consuming and painful it can be.
Relationships are great... they are essential to our development and good loving people. God created us to be in relationship a wide variety of relationships. We should be able to relate to a number people in different ways. Throughout our lives our relationships adapt and grow and change. Almost all of our most significant moments will always be in the context of a relationship with someone else or with God.
As one of my staff members just reminded me... In every relationship we have to practice the sacrificial love of Christ. To love is to die... die to yourself, die to your will, die to your interests. To love someone means to give them apart of ourselves... "Greater love than this no one has but to lay down their life for a friend" John 15:13... You can't love with out dying...
In other words:
Walk down the road together
Appreciate the experience...
My two cents.