Call it narcissism, call it selfish, call it TPS – we see it in our society, but can we see it in our connections? Tall poppy syndrome is killing your relationships.
We’ve recently been rewatching Seinfeld of all shows. One that came on today was where Jerry, doing quite well financially, decides to buy his father a new car. Unfortunately for Jerry’s dad, it attracts the ire of some very jealous and sour people who see it as a status symbol and they vote him out of an important position as a result. This is a pretty good picture of exactly this reality that I’ve had in mind for a few weeks recently – that tall poppy syndrome is killing relationships all over the worlds today.
Mother Teresa called feeling unloved and unwanted the greatest poverty. Whether with your spouse, partner, friends, anyone, or everyone, do you struggle to feel loved?
No matter how different we all are us people – in race, creed, faith, geography, history, whatever – we are all fundamentally the same in that we all want to feel like we are loved and wanted. There isn’t a single person out there who wakes up in the morning and says, “I can’t wait to feel like I don’t matter today”. We’re all looking for somewhere to belong and to find rest.
Oscar Wilde certainly wasn’t wrong when he said that a life without love is “like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead”. If you look around you, you’ll see that people will do all sorts of crazy things to try to find acceptance and love wherever they can find it. And when we can’t find out, we wither, we shrink, we die.
The struggle to feel loved is one that all of us are on the journey of. I’ve learned that there are so many factors involved in how loved we do or don’t feel. And it’s a terrible thing when you don’t feel loved in a marriage, a friendship, by God, or with any other person or group of people in your life. What can be done?
I thought I’d have a look at some of the factors involved in the struggle to feel loved, and what sort of things can so easily get in the way. At a high level, people in our lives either love us or they don’t. At a more detailed level, let’s have a look, as things may not really be as they seem. Here are some things that stop us from seeing the love in our lives, and reinforce the often incorrect view that we are unwanted and unloved. I would like to submit to you that nothing could be further from the truth.
#1: Unloving actions
The first thing that goes without saying that can make us feel unloved are the unloving actions of others. If you’ve been neglected, overlooked, trodden over, ignored, cut off, broken up with, or had someone be cruel or dismissive to you, you’re going to get the sense that you’re not loved. Dr David Augsburger in the book, Caring Enough to Hear and Be Heard, said that “being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable”. When you’re not heard or received, it’s dreadful.
And perhaps the person or people who have hurt you the most truly don’t love you. Perhaps they genuinely have no sense of value for you. We see this all the time in the world of marriage and relationships, where people so frequently use and abuse people for their own gain, say and do awful things, then permanently leave. That can definitely leave scars that don’t heal easily.
The unfortunate reality is that we can do nothing about the actions of others. We can’t control what they will and won’t do. We can’t make a person stay, we can’t stop them from saying or doing what they will, any more than anyone could control us. All we can control is how we respond. John Maxwell says that “life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it “. How will you react?
#2: Unmet needs
I think all of us have had times where our needs have gone unmet. Whether it’s by well intentioned or malcontented people, we can’t always deliver to others what they need, nor can they always deliver to us what we need or want. You’re in a real dire situation, however, when you have absolutely no source in your life for having your needs met.
And this is where we can get stuck. What do you do when you’re married to someone who isn’t fulfilling all your needs? What happens when you’re not getting what you need from the friends you have? What happens when you get disappointed or let down by that person? If you have no other source for need fulfillment in your life, you’re going to feel like the person in question doesn’t love you, or even that no one loves you, because you always feel like you’re going without. It must be their fault somehow.
I’ve learned in life that you have to go after what you need. When I was a child, it was up to others to make sure I was fed. Now that I’m in my 30s, imagine if I was still sitting at home alone complaining that no one loved me because no one was trying to feed me. I’m a grown man, it’s now up to me to go after the sustenance I need.
In the same way, do you know what you need? And do you know how to go get it? Doctors Tim Clinton and John Trent in The Quick-Reference Guide to Marriage & Family Counselling urge people to consider across multiple situations and seasons of life what any individual is capable of doing themselves. Whilst we could be a victim of things that are happening, they encourage proactively going after support, fulfillment, and a multitude of healthy relationships. That is something you have full control over. With multiple sources of input in your life, you are less likely to feel like the world is ending when you reach the limitations in one person or a particular group of people.
#3: Expectations over effort
Doctor Gary Chapman famously wrote and put forward the notion of five love languages. His research which has been well received by the larger community suggests that people have a particular way of expressing love and of receiving love. He notes that we may not always be feeling loved because we’re expecting love in a certain way that other people may not be providing.
I have seen that we can very unhealthily apply this wisdom in a way that puts pressure on people and allows us to build contempt and resentment against others by expecting them to only ever speak in our language. The balance to our desire for what we want needs to be compared against whether or not a person is actually making an effort in the way that speaks the loudest to them.
Could you be in a struggle to feel loved by someone or a group of people simply because you’re obsessing over what they’re not doing, and failing to see what they are doing? The antidote is to live a life of gratitude for what you are being given, rather than bitterness over what isn’t. It’s amazing how much more obvious the love in your life becomes when you’re able to see it.
#4: Feelings over reality
I’ll always remember a time when I was in a men’s mentoring group where our mentor got us all to close our eyes. He asked us to think about the worst experience we ever had in our life. The tone of the room became somber and somewhat depressing, and some of the guys even started crying. He then asked us to think about the happiest time in our lives. Smiles appeared all round, and some of the guys even started laughing. He then said, “Look at that, you completely changed the way you feel in a span of a few seconds. Why do you let your feelings lead your life?”.
Feelings reflect our perception of our life, and they don’t always align with what is actually true. We may feel like a person hates us or those people don’t love us, but it may simply not be true. It may just be the perception based on unmet needs or our expectations not matching how things are. Do you have an accurate perception of reality? If you’re ever not sure, write down what you wish someone was doing, and write down what they are doing. You may even discover that they’re already doing all the things you wished they were, just perhaps not the way you were expecting.
#5: Failing to recognize or accept a season change
People are seasonal. Let me prove it to you with your own life. How many primary school friends did you see this week? How many people from high school? How about university? Your last church? Your old gym? Does that mean they don’t love you any more? Does that mean you don’t love them any more? Of course not – your seasons are now different.
And so, perhaps you’ve had a family member grow up and decide to move overseas for work. You may be tempted to think that means they don’t care for you anymore, but is that actually the case? Those friends you used to catch up with every week no longer see you because you’ve changed your weekly schedule. Does that mean you’re unloved? Of course not. You have a life, they have a life, we all have lives, and we all have things we are supposed to be doing with them that don’t always put us in the same place at the same time.
You can seriously damage your relationships when you expect them to be like a previous season, and especially if you start blaming people for that not being the case. But this is a failure to accept the reality of life that not everyone who comes into your life is going to stay, and everyone who does stay longer in life will maintain exactly the same relationship with you over longer periods of time. How you react to that reality is up to you.
#6: Dwelling on negative thoughts
Joyce Meyer rightly says that a negative mind will never build a positive life. You just can’t do it. When you expect that everyone in your life is working against you, when you obsess over that one moment of disappointment, when you stare at the rear-vision mirror instead of looking through the windscreen in front of you, you’re not going to enjoy your life, and you’re going to struggle with feeling loved in your relationships.
Once again, I think we need to focus on the truth. Does this person love me? Does this group care for my wellbeing? Am I looking for problems where they don’t exist?
This can be a tricky one. If you’ve lived your life expecting the worst, and especially when you’ve been proven right in that viewpoint more than once, this can be a hard habit to break. But if you don’t, nothing good will ever be able to compete with the view you have already decided on.
#7: A self-fulfilling prophecy
When you’re feeling unloved, you tend to push people away, isolate yourself, or dwell on the negative. A consequence of this can be that it makes it harder for people to love you successfully. This in turn can serve to reinforce your feeling that no one cares for you. This may lead you to decisions or behaviour that makes it even harder for people to reach your heart. This in turn…
Watch out for that cycle. Only you have the power to break it in your own life. Is there any reason a person may be or may have been finding it harder to demonstrate love for you? Is your husband closing off because you kept cutting him off? Is your wife unable to get through to you because you keep blaming her for things? Is that friend holding back from you because you always take their comments as negative? Is that group struggling to support you because you doubt every good thing they do?
Break the cycle.
#8: Failing to see all the love around you
Man, how many thousands of people are around you in your life? How many hundreds or thousands of people have you met? How many people have tried to be your friend? How many positive words have people spoken over your life? How many times have people come to see you, or tried? How many support groups and networks are around you, waiting for you to just say what’s going on in your life? How much stuff is your house filled with from birthdays, Christmases, graduations, celebrations, accolades and moments where someone has tried to express their gratitude that you’re alive? How many messages have come through your social media? How many cards have you got sitting around the house with encouragement from people?
You might not have all that you want, but have you looked around and seen just how much you have? Even if you don’t have the relationships you want, look at the potential that you’re surrounded with. Look at that brilliant woman or that strong man in your life who puts themselves in your world to the best of their ability. Look at all the people out there who open their homes and hearts to accept and hear you out. Look at all the tangible things that people have done for you that confirm beyond a shadow of a doubt that you matter.
How wrong we are when we tell others or we tell ourselves that we’re not loved. We cry ourselves to sleep because we’re surrounded by thousands of people and hundreds of opportunities every week for connection and happiness, but don’t connect. It’s like going into Woolworths or Walmart and dying of starvation. The problem isn’t the lack of food, the problem is perhaps in how we partake in it.
You may have looked over your life and determined that no one loves you and that no one cares. I would urge you to look again. Allow yourself to receive the truth.
#9: Building a life on fallible love
I’ve talked a lot about the love we have for one another, and the struggle to feel loved in our human relationships. But no matter how perfect and wonderful our human relationships can be, there are going to be times when people let us down. They just will. They’ll lose their patience, they’ll say the wrong thing, they’ll be unrepentant, they’ll be closed off, they’ll steamroll you, they’ll brush you aside, they’ll fail to live up to their end of the bargain. And to base your life on such shifting sand can leave you extremely vulnerable.
Build your house on the rock. See the love in your life that has been there from the very beginning, and the love that will never leave you. The love of God is unchanging and unending. We all have an opportunity to respond to that love. We can be dismissive or ungrateful of it, or we can open our hearts and let it in.
When the unshakeable love of God is your foundation for life, what people do and don’t do won’t matter as much. Yes, it’s still important to have healthy relationships with others. Yes, it’ll still hurt when people betray us or let us down. But the strongest way that life and love can be experienced, shown, and received, is from a platform of living in God’s love.
Then it doesn’t destroy my world so much when you don’t love me, or I can’t see how those people care for me, or I don’t know if anyone really cares. Because I know I am always cared for and always accepted. And from a foundation of acceptance, I am much more empowered to see how others have accepted me, and also negotiate the difficulty of when they don’t.
What will be the foundation of your life? Will it be the fallacy and the frailty of human effort? Or will it be knowing that you are always accepted in the heart and the plans of God?
I look around in life and in all the reading and talking I do with people around the world of relationships, and I see how truly distraught we can be in the struggle to feel loved. I hope that some of these observations help you negotiate your current relationships and help you see that you’re more loved than you realize – perhaps even more loved than you’ll ever truly know.
How about you? Do you struggle to feel loved? Have you felt that way before? What have you done in that boat?
Are you a creepy guy? Do women die a little inside when they see that face pop up? Take this Creepy Guy Quiz and find out!
I know. You probably think you’re a nice guy. You’ve got it going on like Diddy Kong. You put the fine in financially stable. You put the man in can’t manage how hot you are.
But do you put the bleh in bleh stop talking to me what are you doing?
Ah, well if you ever questioned whether or not you fit into that category or not, this specially designed Creepy Guy Quiz will help you work it out!
Question 1: Have you ever added someone at 3am in the morning?
You know a woman’s favourite time to get added by someone they’ve never met? 3am, when the shark fin is up and you’re in hunting mode.
Not really. But if you want to reinforce your creepiness more than your display pic is doing already, then go right ahead.
Question 2: Have you ever hit on someone who was already in a relationship?
Wedding rings, engagements, longterm dating relationships… who cares? I know you don’t.
But maybe she values the man she already has in her life, and doesn’t feel comfortable receiving a “random compliment” about her figure when she’s sitting there with her beau already.
I mean, just putting it out there.
Question 3: …and continued to hit on them?
Okay, question 2 was a freebie, you didn’t know she was spoken for, everyone makes mistakes.
This is a backup question for you guys who’ll continue to do it anyway. You know who you are.
Question 4: Do you add people on social media so you can add their hot female friends on Facebook?
Why only talk to the women you know when you can talk to the women that everyone else knows? Look at all those potential options of people you could weird out!
Question 5: Do you continually message people you’ve never met and/or have no working relationship with?
There’s nothing better than hearing from Random Guy 34 after Random Guys 17, 22, and 24 have all responded to the new display picture a woman put up because she felt pretty good about herself in the photo. Nothing.
Oh, except hearing from them all the time.
Question 6: Are the first words you ever speak or message a person you’ve never met “Hey girl”?
“Hey girl I noe u neva met me but i think u look rly cute dm me lawlz”
That’s a girl’s favourite combination of words, don’t you know? Especially from some dude she’s never met or heard of in her life.
Question 7: Have you ever sent a DP to someone who you weren’t with?
Just in case you didn’t know, pics of yourself are weird unless prompted for or brought up in natural conversation.
Pics of your junk are always weird. Just in case you weren’t sure, cause I know a lot of guys aren’t. The ultimate revenge of course is when she sends it on to a bunch of your friends.
Question 8: Do you leave weird, constant, consistent comments on people’s photos?
You have 371 new notifications, all from that dude you never should’ve added. Are you the dude?
Question 9: Have you ever written a message that you wouldn’t want anyone else to see?
Messaging is private and unlocks something weird within us that makes us think certain things are acceptable to write. But maybe if we printed out your chat log or someone else you know saw your screen, then maybe you wouldn’t feel so good about it.
Some things are private, granted. But would that situation make you feel proud, private, or revealed as the creep you are?
Question 10: Is the intention of your heart to better this person or to get some?
You know why you’re talking to her. If that reason is creepy or seedy, then guess how you come across?
Question 11: Does she actually enjoy talking to you?
Okay, I know some of the other questions you could get out on. Maybe you comment on everyone’s photos like that. Maybe you do just flirt naturally. Maybe you do like growing your social network.
For every excuse you could come up with, question 11 is the ultimate decision maker of the Creepy Guy Quiz – does she want to keep talking to you? Would it be described as a pleasant conversation? Or are you that dude that she’s complaining to others about and asking some of her guy friends to step in and sort out?
There’s your metric.
Bonus points if more than one woman feels the same way about you and your approaches.
If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions in the Creepy Guy Quiz, congratulations! You are part of the problem.
NB. On a serious note, I’m sick of my female friends having to deal with creepy guys hitting them up on social media or texting or even in person. It shouldn’t be so hard to be a pretty woman in our world, but it’s the overwhelming creepfest that I continue to hear about that necessitates things like this.
Straighten up, be a man, turn down the cologne, get rid of that dumb duck face pout that makes you look like a horny balloon, stop acting surprised when she doesn’t enjoy your gross advances, learn some respect, and treat her like a lady.
Make sure to share this with any guys out there you think may benefit from the Creepy Guy Quiz! Remember the life you save may be your own! Sometimes they just don’t know.
When things don’t go the way you hoped, breaking it off with someone seems to be the most viable option. Here are 7 things to consider before throwing your relationship away.
Source: Focus Features (and a brilliant move on this topic!)
I’m writing this towards one of the most reflective times of the year – Christmas. Like birthdays and New Year’s Eve, it’s one of those repeated items of the calendar that make you think about this time last year. It’s one of those times you reconsider everything in your life – your work life, how close you are to achieving your dreams, the decisions you’ve made this year, and – yes, of course – your relationships. David McCandless did a study for a Ted Talk whereby he found that one of the most common times of the year to breakup is the two weeks leading up to and including Christmas. Continue reading
It’s a time of preparing for a lifetime of eternal bliss, sexual fulfillment and everything always being perfect and wonderful… right? Here are 6 books I’m super glad I read before I got engaged.
A little happy snap from our engagement
And one I’m even more glad I read while engaged.
Last night I wrote a post about the questions I get asked the most about writing online. In it I wrote a small snippet about the importance of being honest, in which I wrote two different paragraphs about the engagement season to illustrate the difference when you’re being open about yourself. Thinking about it today, I was thinking that there really is a lot more I could write about the final months leading up to The Big Day. The bestowing of The One Ring to Rule Them All. The end of my old mancave life as I know it.
Oh, and I also wrote about the importance of writing consistently, so this is probably me making up for a few weeks that I’ve skipped over on the regular content! Continue reading
Whether it’s the inability to find someone worthwhile, or feeling stuck in a relationship – what do you do when nobody is good enough for you?
Photo by Bruce Mars from Pexels
This one comes to you on the other side of some exciting personal news. I’ve recently gotten engaged in the last week or so, and Walking The Shoreline has had over 400,000 visitors! I am truly humbled by all the visitors I’ve had over the last few years, as well as all the messages I get from all across the world of how a few simple words from me have fostered some thought and even some life changing decisions. One of my absolute favourite sorts of messages and conversations have been about how people have seen their marriages and relationships turn around for the better. I love hearing any of those sorts of stories, so make sure you drop me a line on my Facebook page! Continue reading
The African proverb says, “If you want to travel fast, go alone; if you want to travel far, go together”. A growing majority of single and married people are choosing the former. Are you too busy for a relationship?
I think one of the most common statements I hear when people discuss the topic of relationships, or anything really, is how busy they are. Any time I’m in an elevator somewhere, the small talk conversation is always obsessive about the level of busy-ness. “So so busy, I don’t even know how we’ll get it done”. “Busy, but good busy”. “It’s good to have lots to do”. And while I believe in living a full life, I think it’s interesting how our preoccupation with busy replaces our pursuit of other things in life.
When it comes to someone’s love life, not just their work environment, the obsession with being busy is almost the go-to line. Many people when asked about why they don’t have a man or a woman yet respond with, “Hey, I’m just too busy for a relationship”. “I’m too busy loving myself to love someone else”. “I have too much on and don’t have to meet or court anyone”.
I’ve seen and known and continue to hear of people who break off or undervalue their current relationships because of how busy their calendar has become. Wives and husbands sit at home waiting for their partner during what is supposedly free time but have to deal with such a full calendar where their spouse has no longer made room for them. Perhaps that’s how their whole relationship has been from the start.
Can you be too busy for a relationship? I think you can. It always makes wonder, is this really the right path to take?
What are you so busy doing?
I guess this is the real question I ask anyone who says they’re really busy, including myself. When I see a busy schedule I think, man, where has all my time gone? And it’s definitely worthwhile finding out.
When you say you’re busy, what do you really mean? Do you mean you literally had something on every second of every day? Do you mean that you’re out of energy from the things you have already done that week and don’t have enough energy for anything else? Do you mean that you want to keep your plans free in case something comes up?
Busy can mean so many things, but I guess we just want to make sure when we are busy, that it’s doing the right things.
You could be busy planning a big meeting. You could be busy completing an assignment or preparing for a big presentation. You could be busy checking your investment portfolio or managing your properties.
You could also be busy loving your wife or husband. You could also be physically and emotionally blocked out to anything and anyone else in order to spend time with your girlfriend or boyfriend. You could be busy putting yourself out there, meeting people, dating or courting or “catching up” with this guy you’re not really sure about, or this girl that you’ve wanted to get to know better.
A BBC article on the topic highlighted that a lot of people are less busy than they actually are. It’s usually more a feeling of pressure from being always potentially available, or always being able to jump online and finish off a few more tasks in the agenda. They also put it down to attaining one’s identity from a full time commitment over what you’re actually doing in that time. In other words, it’s an issue of priority.
I heard this illustrated really well in a relationship seminar once. The speaker said, “Who wants to come hang out with me after this?”. A few people put up their hands, but most hands remained down as everyone thought about what they wanted to do after the seminar. He then asked, “What if I gave you $500 to hang out with me after this?”. Everyone’s hand promptly went up. He asked us, “What changed? It’s the same time together. But your priority and sense of value about the time changed.”.
Really brilliant and sobering illustration, I thought.
What would it take for you to prioritize time with your wife? What would it take for your husband to get those few hours he’s been asking for? What would it take for you to make space for love to grow and develop in your life? Would they need to give you $500? Would you need to get a full Bitcoin wallet for it to be worth your while? Would you need to get acclaim and Likes and Loves and comments from the world in order for it to be worthwhile to you?
If you love this person, if you want to love a person, they have to be a priority. Granted you need to live your own life and make room for own goals, careers, hobbies and interests. But if you’re serious about having this person in your life and ensuring they know that they know that they have a special place in your heart, your calendar and your activity needs to reflect that.
Can you really not do both at the same time?
It’s always funny to me listening to a 19 year old saying “man I’m just too busy for a girlfriend or boyfriend right now, I’m at uni 16 hours a week, I’m working 20 hours a week, and I just have no time for it”. Then what happens? They reach 24, and they’re twice as busy, and still don’t have room or time. Then they turn 30, and they’re like man I’d love a relationship I just don’t have capacity for it with my career and yoga and Saturday morning climbing team and Thursday squash and Monday drinks and Sunday afternoon Netflix sesh and meal prep and bed time by 7:30pm.
I wonder why we view love and work as mutually exclusive. This is not an attitude that exists even 30 years ago. Everyone knew you could date in uni and do great in your studies. It was completely normal for people to actually be better because they had someone with them supporting through those earlier adult years preparing them for life. There was also no real conflict once you started working, especially as the average marriage age was about 8-9 years younger than it is now (in Australia anyway).
Nowadays we’re like “wow look at me I have an assignment I need to take home how can I possibly have anyone in my life while I’m doing my assignment?”. When did we suddenly feel trapped or held back if someone else was around while we were trying to get ahead in life?
Forbes published a controversial article citing a number of studies on this whole idea of career vs. love, and actually found that people get paid more, are more relaxed, feel more supported in high stress positions, and have higher levels of satisfaction when they are in a loving relationship compared to their single counterparts. This isn’t to diminish the value of single people, but it does demolish this weird idea that we got from someone somewhere (I’m still not entirely sure who or where or who thought it was right) that having someone else in your life is just going to slow you down and hold you back from being who you want to be. The research simply doesn’t back this claim up.
I think something else that really smashes people as they get older if they’ve bought into this lie is when they realize that the dating pool has thoroughly diminished while they had their head down bum up working so hard and pushing love out of their life for so long. Moreover, the longer you leave it, the longer it’ll take to get there.
If you haven’t started dating yet, how many people do you think you’ll need to date before you find someone you want to commit to? They say the average person has three to five “great loves” in their life. So let’s say you end up wanting to get married to number 4. If you started “looking and being available” at 20, and it took you 3-4 years to work through those first 3, you’re now 24 and about to start dating Mr Man Of Your Dreams, or Lady Lovely. How long will you date? Maybe a year? Maybe 2? Now you’re 26. Engaged? Engaged for how long? 6 months? A year? Wedding at 27?
Okay, so when will you arrive at that destination if you start making time for love at 25? At 30? At 35?
No, I’m not trying to prophesy over you that you’re going to have a stretched out dating process. But I am just pointing out that these things usually take more time than we acknowledge, and if you’re too busy for it now, just be aware that you may be pushing the time out to an age that you didn’t really want to be when your relational goals started being achieved.
Would that be a bad thing or a good thing? Maybe it’s not bad at all. That’d be up to you. I’m just submitting the thought for your consideration. Unless you’re going from “just met” to “happily ever after” in the span of 3 days, and you’re perfectly okay with getting married or finding love at 46 (you might be), you should factor in that there’s going to be a big time investment getting that area of your life worked out. If you start later, you’ll also probably finish later.
Be open to date nights during the week. Be open to breakfast before uni, chill out sessions around study time, late dinner out after working late. Your partner isn’t going to leave you because you had to have dinner later than 6pm, or you had some other goals in life. Generations of people for millenia have been able to do both, and have even been better for it. No reason for our generation to be any different.
Are you going to be less busy at any point?
“I feel like I haven’t seen you this week”.
“What are you talking about?”, I said. “We’re together right now and I’ve seen you 3 or 4 nights this week?”.
“Yes, but we’re on our way out to an event.”, The Lady said. “A few days ago, there were a lot of people around. That other night there was someone along with us. It hasn’t just been us”.
We had this conversation a month or two ago where The Lady and I were both in a particularly busy and emotionally draining week. Each of us had a number of commitments and social events on, as well as some extra external pressures on our emotions, and this particular week we were feeling it. Well, perhaps less so me, but I think I realized in that moment that if she felt this way, then it was my responsibility to do something about it. Usually a week like that every now and again is okay for us – we usually have at least one or two times a week where it’s only us most weeks so it usually balances out – but this week in particular the needs were greater. So that night, where one of my commitments was a bit less busy, I participated for a shorter amount of time than usual there, and arranged to leave a bit earlier so I could come back and we could spend some alone time together. It was simple and didn’t take too long, but the few hours that night were what we needed to get on the same page and for both of us to feel valued and seen.
You and your partner are a team. Or your potential partner. If one of you is feeling it, if there’s no room for you to make special, dedicated one on one time for someone in your life, you need to do something about it.
I could have done nothing about it, but I would have been sowing seeds of frustration and neglect into our relationship – something that no man or woman should ever allow to be planted or start growing in a loving relationship.
I think too many times we can have a steamroller attitude towards people. My plans my agenda my dreams. Come on woman, keep up. Come on Mister Man, stop being such a little girl and being so needy. Come on Future Spouse, be willing to be Priority Item Number 13 out of 27 items this month.
We don’t think it’s acceptable when someone lowers our priority and overlooks us. I wonder why we think it’s acceptable at times to have the same attitude towards our partner or future partner.
If you know me, you love I love the TV show The Office. There’s a really true to life moment where in the marriage of two of the characters, the strain on their togetherness is too great, largely driven by the huge time commitments the husband was making away from the family. His boss is talking to him one day about a new initiative, and the husband declines. The boss says to him, “Well, I gotta tell you, Jim, a lot of guys in my circle? They wouldn’t even change their golf schedule to shore up their marriage let alone their professional goals.”
If you love them, if you want to love them, if you want to love them, priorities. We need to be less busy to make room when required. The significant other in our lives needs our presence and not just our presents.
What about my goals?
Valid concern. I think all of us have things that we would really love to see accomplished in our lives. As someone who is quite driven myself, I definitely relate to the concern that adding an extra person to your life may alter your ability to achieve your goals.
But I think that the right way to look at it is to think about the power of partnership. When building a building, imagine if one brick thought that it was the be all and end all of the building’s construction. With just this one brick, you don’t need anything else. Imagine how stupid we would consider that brick.
And yet we have the same attitude when we think of ourselves as all that is needed to achieve greatness in life. Your part is important, but imagine how much more important and powerful it would be when coupled with someone else’s part. Or a community of people with parts. Now you’re talking serious power and reach and influence.
Look at you and your accomplishments, Mr One Brick. Look at the mighty empire you’re building on your one lonely brick. Look how much support your one brick in isolation of others can bring. Look at your hectic, obsessive busyness and how you feel like you’re too busy for a relationship, for your friends, for people, because you’re so busy building your empire of one.
Imagine if you realized the power of two.
I think we need to get over the notion that it’s all about us. That’s really what it comes down to, I think. Just me myself and I. Got nobody that I can depend on. Don’t want anyone else slowing me down.
Unfortunately that’s an attitude that needs to be consciously addressed at some point, because living that way and approaching life with that level of self obsession, you’re always going to be too busy. You’ll never have… more accurately, you’ll never make the time required to foster loving and lasting relationship with someone.
If you’re okay with that, then continue as you have. But I would submit to you if love is an important thing in your heart, if you know inside yourself that marriage is on the cards and something you don’t see yourself finishing life without, if you have a lot of love to give, then don’t be afraid to make room to give it.
And if you’re in a relationship, man, even moreso. Too many neglecting wives and husbands in our world today. Too many partners who have seen their own priorities as so much more important than their loved ones. Your husband is coming across as “too needy” in your own mind, your wife is withering away under your care, and you’re just full steam ahead doing whatever the heck you want to be doing. Be the kind of husband or the kind of wife who builds the life of their spouse and fully embraces the power of together.
The one word summary of what we’re talking about here is a simple one to hear but a difficult one to arrive at: balance. All things in their rightful place. A life that is “too busy” is usually just out of balance. For whatever reason. You’ve gotten into autopilot, you’ve been too obsessed with your own things, you have been hurt and you’re unwilling to make time or place for someone else. Whatever it is.
To live a life of love, you need balance. You need to know your priorities. You need to be willing to make adjustments when your lives change.
If you’re too busy now, consider reflecting on when you won’t be so busy any more. I think you’ll find within yourself that you currently have no plans to change that, unless you decide to change that today.
What do you think? Can you be too busy for a relationship? What would you do (or what have you done) in that boat?
Life is too short to keep love to yourself. Here are 7 reasons why you should just tell him (or her).
“Matt, why is this one not targeted at guys telling them to communicate their love?”. Well, it is. It’s about all of us really. The phrasing here, “Tell Him”, refers to a classic duet between Celine Dion and Barbara Streisand which seems to be a frequent summary of some of the greatest advice in the realms of love I’ve ever heard. Whilst a dialogue between a younger woman seeking counsel from an older woman about a man she loves, it really does tackle one of the greatest struggles that exists in the realm of relationships on both sides of the fence – the communication of love.
In the song, a younger woman conveys the struggle of many young men and women. Being scared and being afraid to show your care. What if there’s someone else? What if I’m wasting my time? What if what if what if?
It can be really hard to tell someone that you love them. There can be overwhelming fear and uncertainty when even considering the idea. When you’re single, how do you know what to do in order to build a relationship or let someone know you care? How can you be sure whether or not they will respond positively or run screaming the other way? How much game do you need to employ in order to catch the one your heart desires? Continue reading
Is your phone ruining your love life? Single, dating or married, the greatest competition to a satisfying relationship may be that little screen in your pocket.
I think everyone has had a Valentine’s Day that’s sucked. For some it was because it was a time of love unrequited. For others it was a time where you felt forced into expressing your feelings for someone you feel you’ve already sufficiently expressed your feelings for. Others still may remember a bad date or a breakup triggered by the pressure of the day.
For me a Valentine’s Day that always sticks out was one a few years ago when I had to travel to Canberra for work, and only one of us were put on the rental arrangement for the car. Unfortunately, that person got sick early and I was back in the hotel before 5:30pm with nothing to do and nowhere to go, on Valentine’s Day, thinking about this on again off again what are we doing again relationship I was in at the time. By myself in a hotel room in a city that doesn’t always have a lot to do once you’ve been there enough times. Magical.
It’s a day that always puts pressure on where you are. Single people feel their singleness, no matter how hard they may try to resist or belittle the day. Married people feel the pressure to love like they used to, or perhaps like they never have. Dating people feel the reality check brought on by comparison and commercialism on the day. I don’t think these things are really that bad. I think it’s actually good to have a day that puts pressure on what is often the most frustrating and often the most dismissed area in our lives. It can be a healthy thing to have a health check on your life choices. Continue reading
It’s an issue plaguing many of the young adults in our faith communities, but not one we’re always willing to talk about directly. Is it harder to date in church?
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In recent months I’ve met a number more people across some different churches. My travels have taken me to churches and non-denominational events of a variety of different kinds. As a person who has been actively involved in the young adults community in a few churches, I notice and regularly hear about a common thread of frustration and difficulty in many a Christian’s walk.