Being a single adult in our society has both its upsides and its downsides. There is a freedom in friendships and relationships that allows for a broad spreading of wings and learning about what characteristics you are compatible with, what you find attractive and what you want to shy away from. Having many friends of all different personalities with different backgrounds and different stories is a blessing.
But we have been created to be mates. To have one person with whom we can share the intimacies of life, and by that I am not just talking about sexual intimacies, I am talking about your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your pain and your excitement. To have one person to whom you can go, one person who knows you more than anyone else and one person you can trust without hesitation.
Being single we miss out on the fullness that a relationship like the above can bring. So we search, sometimes it seems to be an endless search.
But what are you searching for? When dating we are conditioned to think of the 5 basic characteristics of a good mate.
Do I find him/her physically attractive?
Do they make me laugh?
Do we have the same interests?
Does our belief system line up?
Will our offspring be cute/smart?
All good things and important things to consider but are you missing the most important piece? Far too many do miss this piece and don’t find out until it is too late.
What is this most important and vital question?
Can I suffer with this person?
Relationships are a piece of cake when things are going well, they are a bit of a struggle when personalities and habits collide, they are difficult when the chips are down and hardship comes in to play but the measure of the strength of a relationship comes when suffering enters the picture. Can you suffer with your mate?
It is a real question and as we get older it becomes more and more relevant. Suffering is part of life, the older a person gets the more instances of suffering will occur. It is a common and necessary part of living. Sorrow and suffering is guaranteed to come and it looks very different in different people. Not everyone suffers well. For some, suffering brings despair that they may not have the strength to pull themselves out of and they find themselves constantly thinking of the sadness they feel and dwelling on that over the blessings that still exist in their lives. Others live in denial, unable to face and confront the deep realities of life.
There are many who do not suffer well, but there are those who do suffer well. And even in their suffering have the grace to grow through that suffering.
As you gaze at the one who you have chosen to spend your time with and you begin to look to a future ask yourself a few questions.
Will he/she hold my hand and be my strength if ever I hear the words ‘Cancer’.
Can I lean on this person when I hear the words “we’ve done all we can do”
Will he/she know how to comfort me at the loss of a family member?
When my world turns upside down will I find strength in his/her eyes and embrace?
These things don’t seem important when life is perfect or when the beauty of a smile captures your eye. Common interests and hobbies are very appealing and also very important; but when it comes down to the reality of life do you need a pretty face? Or a mate with the strength and grace to hold you up when suffering threatens to knock you down. Look for a mate who believes in you, who instills faith and does not cause doubt, look for someone who hopes no matter the circumstances.
Even as I type this it is necessary to also encourage you to be that supportive grace in your relationships. Be the one who hopes no matter the circumstances, who is ready with open arms and a loving heart when tragedy strikes. Be there through the good and the bad, help your mate through suffering, do not be a hindrance to healing. Be a partner who walks hand in hand ready to confront the sorrows of life, who offers support in all of life’s challenges. Walk into your relationship knowing that every grief has hope, every sorrow needs love, every hurt cries for healing. Every couple will suffer. Be a blessing and be one who suffers well, and choose a mate who also suffers well and you will be able to draw strength from each other in the toughest of circumstances.