Losing a romantic interest abruptly is an art that many of us have unintentionally mastered. The story usually goes a little something like this:
1) Boy meets girl
2) Boy and girl both experience the ‘Click’
You know the click I’m talking about; despite only speaking to the person for a matter of minutes, the conversation flows naturally and the person you’ve just met seems to just get it.
3) The chemistry is indisputable and numbers are exchanged.
Oh, the genesis is bliss, isn’t it? Even though it feels as if Cupid is shooting you every other day, you don’t mind because it appears that Cupid is shooting the other person as well. Conversations during the opening days may go a little like this:
“You love Jesus?! Me too!”
“You miss ‘Old Kanye?’ Me too!”
“You believe Black lives matter?! Me too!”
Things in common, similar likes and dislikes; the fireworks are flying and the crowd (your friends) are going wild and dropping phrases such as “the one” and asking if you “see” yourself with said person. However, before you settle into the person and marry them (in your head, of course) you try and find the answers to some crucial questions.
“So where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
“Do you drive?”
“What’s your hair like under your weave?”
“What do you work as?”
“Are you a Christian or are you ‘spiritual’?”
“Do you have any children?”
“Did you attend university? If so, where?”
“What are your thoughts on private schools?”
The questions on both sides are answered and as a consequence (in some scenarios) there is a shift. Where there were replies every other minute, now replies only occur once a day. The mutual desire to meet up and solidify the Click is reduced to one person forcing begging hoping for a FaceTime call, and the babies you shared (in your head, of course) fade into the distance and return to the parallel universe where things worked out differently.
I call this phenomenon “The Checklist Problem” (I don’t really, I just made that term up)
What is the checklist?
The criteria that a romantic interest must satisfy before the relationship can become legitimate.
What’s the problem with the Checklist, you ask? Well, only the conclusions and assumptions that are drawn as a consequence of this flawed questioning method. If a man does not drive and chose not to attend university, his stability and the level of his intellect are questioned. If a woman does not know how to cook and appears to be more interested in her career progression than her uterus, she is seen as a ‘lesser’ woman and/or a woman who does not know her place. We are not asking these questions because we genuinely desire to know the other individual; we are using these questions as a basis for acceptance or dismissal. When we use this method we tend to forget that:
We are all a work in progress
People are being written off before they can show their potential. No one is where they will end up and no one knows the true destination of another individual. God isn’t finished with me yet and He isn’t finished with you. I would hate to be judged based on where I am now because I know where I have the potential to be.
Our desires will evolve
What you desire will inevitably change as you grow. At 18, I would have wanted someone who replied to my messages instantaneously and was always on hand for a phone call. Fast forward 5 years and I barely take phone calls (I found out I had unlimited minutes almost a year after getting this phone) and genuinely have no time to sit around all day and discuss the nothing we are both up to.
There is preference and there is pride
Do you have a preference for the things on your list or do you think you are above those who do not possess the desired traits? There is nothing wrong with being confident and knowing your worth, but it is something entirely different to look down on people and believe you are above them.
Now, before you conclude that I do not believe in checklists, let me assure you that I do. The one I am currently prescribing to exist in the Bible. Sorry to my Christian folk who thought I was about to drop the infamous Proverbs 31. No, this checklist is hidden in the Psalms.
Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
2 The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
3 whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
4 who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
5 who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken
Does he/she do what is right?
When presented with the right option and the wrong option, which do they choose?
Is he/she an honest person?
Sometimes it is easier to lie than it is to tell the truth but the telling the truth fosters trust.
Does he/she have a sincere heart?
Whatever is in your heart will eventually be shown by your actions and your words. There is only so long one can pretend for.
Does he/she refuse to gossip?
Words are powerful; I always respect people who not only refrain from gossiping but refused to listen to it also; it shows integrity.
Is he/she violent with their words or in their actions?
Your fists are never an effective or acceptable means of communication.
Does he/she speak wickedly about the people they claim to love?
You’d be surprised how many people sit around and discuss the people closest to them.
Does he/she keep their promises even when it hurts?
I commit to doing things all the time but I don’t always follow through. This is something I am working on. I love to be on hand to help others but when it becomes inconvenient, opting out becomes an option. This shouldn’t be the case.
Before you go and figure out if your current love interest measures up to this checklist, I want to ask you a question:
Do you tick all these boxes?
I think we all need to spend time working on ourselves before we critique and assess others. We are so consumed with finding the perfect partner that we have forgotten that we too should strive for perfection, not for a potential spouse, but for our Father in heaven.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”
Our aim is to be like Him.
And for all those who have been cast aside by a potential love interest without real reason, take heart; whatever God has for you will always be yours and the one that is for you will not leave. Your worth is not determined by another individual’s treatment of you.
All my love,