Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Finding Love Again: What Do You Want to Do Differently Next Time?
Often books on relationships emphasize finding the right person, but it’s also important to be the right person.
To have the lasting love and intimacy you desire it’s essential to identify unhealthy patterns in your own life, change what you can about yourself, and then come into greater clarity about the qualities you want in another person.
Identify unhealthy patterns. Healthy relationships grow when we know our true identity and respect our individuality and uniqueness. They also flourish when we connect with who God is (His character) and how that makes a difference in our life.
We are all made with different habits, personality traits and ways of relating. However, sometimes we do things in a relationship that hurt ourselves or damage the connection and we don’t know why.
Sometimes we know our weak spots and sometimes we are blind-sighted. Think about your past dating experiences. What went wrong? Why did it end?
It’s helpful to identify any patterns in your dating experiences that may be sabotaging the love you desire. You can start by making a list of things you’ve learned from past relationships—things you’ve done that you don’t want to do again. Here are some examples:
* You stayed too long in a dead end relationship.
* You didn’t stand up for yourself when he hurt you with words or actions.
* You gave in when he wanted to go farther physically than you wanted.
* You stubbornly wanted your own way all the time.
* You didn’t know how to handle it when he treated you poorly.
* You lived in a fantasy world of thinking “it will be more” when he only wanted friendship.
* You rushed from one relationship to next when you weren’t ready love again.
Change your thoughts and actions. Now that you know what you don’t want, it’s time to get to make some changes. What do you want to do differently next time?
You don’t have to stay stuck in patterns of the past. Ask yourself why you’ve made unwise relationship choices? If you don’t know, then pray and ask God to reveal to you any habits or patterns that have been holding you back.
Be clear on you really need in a relationship. In order to make choices that lead to the love and intimacy you desire, it’s important to know the characteristics you want—and don’t want—in a person. What are your criteria for the things you look? Think about the kind of men you’ve picked in the past? What do you want now? What needs to change?
Make a list of things you need in a relationship. For instance:
• I need to have a better idea of what I really want in a relationship.
• I need to learn to assess more quickly if a man is right for me or not.
• I need to be clear with myself and the other person about what behaviors I will and will not accept.
• I need someone who is consistent in his words and actions.
• I need to make time for a quality relationship; to feel more connected.
• I need a man who will pursue me, be available, and treat me with respect.
My friend Heidi once said, “The difference between the wrong man and the right man is like the difference between the darkest night and the brightest day.”
It’s time for a brand new day!
Jackie M. Johnson is an author and freelance writer in Colorado. Her hope-filled and encouraging books include "Power Prayers for Women," "When Love Ends and the Ice Cream Carton Is Empty" and "Powerful Prayers for Challenging Times." Jackie also writes the Living Single blog on Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk website.