Recently friends and I sat around the dinner table talking about life, love and other pursuits (okay, it was about Brett Eldredge). It was a rejuvenating time as we try to get together once every couple of months to just catch up and step into each other’s lives a bit. You need that, a community of people who you can shrug off the dust of life with every now and again to refresh your mind and spirit.
As we broke biscuits and talked through some things, it came around to relationships and men…a common thing when single women gather around a table for an extended time. We are all in our 30s now with some past relationships now under our belt and something struck me as we talked. It takes hindsight, and often much time, before we can see areas of our lives in perspective, like who we are in dating relationships.
It’s incredibly easy to lay blame at the feet of the other person when a relationship ends, but as I recall it does take two people to have a relationship, otherwise you’re just crazy. Ultimately you have to be able to see what you learned from that situation about your own self and your dating habits. As I have explored my own dating life further from past relationships, it has helped me make choices about my present and future dating as well.
Putting boundaries on a dating life is something that was new to me several years ago. But as I have evaluated myself in dating relationships and as a single, I see that often I made poor choices simply out of shear unknowing. Ignorance about ourselves is often what gets us through life without much living. We go with the flow, cave to peer pressure, and seek to have others make the decisions for us. In all honesty, I have been much the same way.
Up to this point, my choices and that way of thinking hasn’t been very successful in the dating department. There’s been a couple of relationships that ended amicably, and we are currently friends. But I also learned something about myself even in those times. When we don’t take time to learn from our past, I firmly believe we are doomed to repeat it.
The last thing I would like to do is repeat a past relationship-and end up married to that individual. If you are single, choose this time to take stock of your life and your relationships. While there are situations where the failing of it could be entirely on the other person, what can you see about yourself in that relationship and the post-breakup? Choose to see your own role in it and how that can impact your current dating life and future relationships.
One of the biggest realizations I had when I took stock of my dating habits over the years was that I often made my spiritual life fit my dating life, instead of putting my spiritual journey out there and allowing my dating life to be a part of that and mold to it. I hold to a firm belief now that had I originally held that in check I would not have been in a couple of relationships in my past. Those have taught me about forgiveness, grace, and my own inner self so for that I hold no regrets. I am utterly thankful that even at 33 I can see the impact of a right frame of thinking has impacted my life drastically when it comes to companionship and relationship. Frankly I believe much of the issues surrounding dating and marriage these days would do with a bit more reflection and lot less wooing.
Interesting in learning more about boundaries in dating? Want to explore your past relationship more in depth? Check out Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend’s Boundaries in Dating.