Remember - Wanting a healthy relationship is not the same as being ready to have a healthy relationship. That’s why the statement "I think he/she will be good for me" needs to be taken with a grain of salt. That person will be no better for you than you are for that person.
You might say at this point, but my boyfriend / girlfriend / husband / wife is worse than I am. And I will say, if that’s the case it is only because you have grown in maturity since you two met. When you met, you two were roughly the same.
And as a point of interest, let me ask you three simple questions.
(1) What do you look at when judging whether a group photograph, that you’re a part of, is good or not?
(2) Do you see yourself as being a better driver than most people you know? Or do you see yourself as being a worse driver than most people you know?
(3) Do you see yourself as being emotionally healthier and more mature than your partner or former partners? Or are you less healthy and less mature than your partner or former partners?
It is the very rare person for whom one’s perceived self-importance doesn’t show up in these questions. That is how out of touch we are with the reality of our corrupt nature. So what has this got to do with relationships? Well, it’s been my experience that most people who get a divorce are so blind to their own personality that they actually think that they’ll be good for someone else. The vast majority of divorced people think the marriage ended, not because they were miserable to live with, but that it’s the other person’s fault that the marriage ended. It’s human nature to not recognise our own corruption. The reason you don’t feel corrupt is the same reason a fish doesn’t feel wet. Because it is immersed. You won’t recognise your corruption until you find a way to step out of it and view it from a distance. You can’t know that you need to be rescued until you first recognise that you’re lost.
Getting back to relationships, let me give you an example of what I mean by "We are roughly the same as those we attract." I hear from clients on a fairly regular basis, "I’m not at all like my spouse. He/she had an affair and I would never do that." I can tell you that in virtually every case, with a little processing, it soon comes out that if given the opportunity to have some ‘payback sex’ soon after finding out about the affair, the person in my office would have jumped at the chance. You might counter with, "that’s different. That person had already been hurt." And I will say to you, "It is no different at all!"
What we are measuring here is the quality of character, and a healthy character is made of nothing less than emotional and spiritual health.
(1) An emotionally and spiritually healthy character is able to say "no" to emotionally damaging thoughts and behaviours no matter how badly that person wants what s/he wants.
(2) An emotionally and spiritually healthy character does not go looking for emotionally damaging thoughts and behaviours regardless of what’s happened to that person.
Let me continue with the example of sex. Lets assume that someone other than your spouse wants to have sex with you. If you are emotionally and spiritually healthy you would be asking yourself, "Why would I want to be with someone who is so cruel and so selfish that he/she would do that to my spouse?" On the other hand, if you as a married or c/l person are considering having sex with someone else (especially if that person is also married), then the question I would ask is, "Why would that person want to be with someone like you, who is so cruel that you would do that to either of your spouses?" What is it about you that is attracting such an unhealthy person to you?
If the answer for either of you is, "We find danger, cheating, and snubbing God and His desires for us appealing and exciting," or if you say that you don’t care about how your spouses feel, then I would also say that emotionally and spiritually you are both in a truly pitiful state. There is nothing in either of you from which you can build a healthy relationship. Don’t get me wrong. You may be able to have a relationship, but it will be no better than average, if that. Quality marriages don’t just happen by luck. It takes quality people to have a quality marriage. You don’t find the right person to have a good marriage. To have a good marriage each of you has to be the right person.
There are very few people who don’t know of someone, usually a woman, of whom it’s said, "if she could only find someone who would treat her right." And this is often said as she is dragging her children through the third or fourth lousy relationship with the next creep who is ready to move in with her.
I repeat, it is impossible for someone who is not good, to treat you good on a consistent long-term basis. That means that if you are not good, then even you do not know how to be good to yourself. Your character is rotting from the inside out and the stench of spiritual death hovers about you. That’s why you continue to choose self-harming behaviours, and that’s why you continue to reject healthy, life-nurturing behaviours, and beliefs; because you are unable to recognise them as such.
Consider the example of Actor / Comedian Groucho Marx. Mr. Marx recalls asking a woman, "Would you have sex with me for One Million dollars?"
She responded with, "Of Course!"
He then asked, "Would you have sex with me for One Dollar?"
To which she replied, "What kind of a person do you think I am?"
And his reply was, "We’ve already established what kind of a person you are. Now we’re just negotiating."
Who you are, counts!
Character and beliefs count!
What usually happens when two unhealthy people are attracted to each other, is that their sickness causes them to misinterpret the qualities that they think they see in the other person. As time wears on, their mistake becomes painfully obvious. What was once seen as fun-loving is now seen as irresponsible. Stable and structured becomes rigid and boring. Concerned becomes smothering. Caring becomes controlling. Outgoing becomes flirtatious. Carefree becomes undependable. What once attracted you to this person, now drives you away. But that isn’t his/her fault! When you grow tired of someone, or when that person hurts you, don’t blame that person for being the kind of person that you chose to be with. When you two met, it was your sickness that projected good qualities that were never there.
Let me give you an example that is extreme in number but typical in nature.
"I will never marry again." This was said by Barbara Hutton (who was at the time heiress to the multi million-dollar Woolworth fortune) after divorcing her second husband.
"I will never marry again. You can’t go on being a fool forever." This was said by Barbara Hutton after divorcing her third husband.
"This is positively my final marriage." This was said by Barbara Hutton after marrying her sixth husband.
"He is the composite of all my previous husbands’ good qualities, without any of their bad qualities. I have never been so happy in my life." This was said by Barbara Hutton after marrying her seventh husband. Two years later Barbara Hutton divorced her seventh husband.
End of Part 2