Alone is better than WRONG!

sleeping2Unapologetically I acknowledge my desire to be coupled.For as long as I can recall that was the goal, to find my match, my missing lung that made breathing easier in life, my partner in crime, the person whose night ‘noises’ were more of a comfort than a distraction.Two marriages later it would seem I am no closer to finding my missing part than I was at nearly 22 years of age when I said my first vows.

I’ve typically allowed my Christian beliefs about marriage to guide me in such matters; at least that’s how it was for the first marriage.Most world faiths attempt to offer guidance on the subject and most direct to marrying someone of like faith. And here is where, I believe, I made my first mistake. (The details of this could be the subject of many more essays, perhaps another time.)  My faith teaches “how to be married” but isn’t terribly good at the courting part.

The First Wives Club was sure to grow by one when I married the first time.I had all the signs of certain failure within view but found Christian ways to ignore them all.

It is great in marriage and business but “compromise” is a formula for regrets if done while dating; it usually means we’re dating the wrong person no matter how nice they are.

It’s sad we don’t understand the value of being selfish.I heard a story once on teaching kids about sharing.It’s cute and makes a point, so stay with me here.A fine mom and dad had a son; they raised him to always consider first being kind to his friends and share his toys even at the expense of his full enjoyment of them.A few years later dad discovers many of his nicest, most expensive tools being given away by his son.When confronted with this carelessness, the son proudly recited the lessons he’d been taught about sharing, even to the point of extending that to his father’s things.The lesson best taught here is that being selfish isn’t always misguided and can even be a natural part of understanding partnership (coupling).

So how on earth does this relate to courtship and coupling? It’s simple really. In the beginning of dating relationships I should have been completely selfish about finding someone that truly wanted to do things in the same way as ME. Why would I want to give up my action movies for someone that has an aversion to cinematic violence? Surely there are women out there that like them too? “NEXT!”  Why would I want to stop working on my side projects that I find so satisfying because ‘she’ thinks it robs her of time?Surely there are women out there that will see the value and fun of what I’m doing? “NEXT!” What’s the point in telling ‘her’ that she takes too much time to get ready for an event when that is important to her or else she wouldn’t be taking that much time in the first place!Obviously it annoys me and is MY problem, save her from my issues too…. “NEXT!”

There are enough challenges in relationships without compromising early in the process.Save the compromises for the really big stuff once you are married. Remember what I said earlier, “…I had all the signs of certain failure within view but found Christian ways to ignore them all.” This word will save you and them… “NEXT!” Use it often.

I discovered the penalty of early compromise in my first marriage to be merciless.Each early compromise led to further compromises, in time I looked back to discover I’d accepted behavior I would NEVER recommend to my own kids.That hurt.I compromised my way out of a promising music career and ministry because I didn’t understand blessed selfish behavior in my courtships.I’d have fared better alone, even if lonely, than making the wrong choice.Wrong is just chalk full of regrets.

Like some of you believe, as I do, the search can seem endless. However, the prospect of light at the end of the proverbial tunnel exists with each new contact.

Alone is better than wrong.Anyone wanna go see an action movie with me, or see what web project I’ve got simmering in my laboratory?

Thanks for reading this far.


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12 Responses

  1. ugli says:

    Tim, to the point. Great Blog and very true.
    As Tom said, allow her to find her way into your life. And above all, allow yourself to do as you please alone. My solitude taught me to become my own best friend. Only when I truly enjoyed being by myself then I found my boyfriend. I found him out of the blue …

  2. **** says:

    Would this blog be an indication of how your last date went? *wink wink* Ok–***kidding*** if any girlfriend you recently dated is reading this comment–lol!

    You got a prob with women who take too long getting ready?

  3. Oregoncelt says:

    My mom use to describe marriage as tying two cats by the tail and swinging them over a clothes line and expecting them to get along. I have married 3 times for the wrong reasons and the compromising part of the relationship was all on me. I have to laugh when I think back on the inevitable break up when I heard those immortal words "you have changed" "I liked you better when I met you" (so much for compromise). I decided some time ago that I am happy in my skin and I love it when I connect with someone. It might not be a life mate but they are already just like me in most ways, so it is free and easy.
    I have learned that making a list and checking it twice is something Santa Clause does.
    I have tried to detail clean a person to fit in my shoes but found that I too liked them better in their own. It is really quite a catch-22.
    I think that being honest about religion and lifestyle is important from the start. We are such changelings throughout life, sometimes we change for the better sometimes we grow apart, and sometimes we change for the worse. I am always weary of that "for better or for worse" clause in traditional vows…from experience you never bargain for worse being as bad as it can get. Worse is gaining 15 lbs. (we can get through that), unforgivable actions defy the word worse and then we are thrown back in torment wondering what we can live with and what we cannot. I enjoy my friends and if that means never being miserable in a long term relationship then all the better. I am not lonely I am surrounded by people who love me, it is enough for now. Everyone will come up short in our expectations. We have to have grace and acceptance for a lot of the little things (even if we think they are big). Learn not to compare them to characteristics of love gone wrong in the past and just love them with all of your heart (heck what else do you have to do at the moment). Hugs any best wishes in the constant search for happiness.

  4. kathywabucks says:

    I agree completely with not giving up who you are in order to make a relationship work. What are you really offering the other person if you have to bend so much that you lose site of who you are? What you would be giving them is a lie. Do they want to marry you or do they want to marry a fantasy? We can pretend to be anyone, but we aren't doing ourselves any favors and in the long run wouldn't be doing a partner any favors either. Like and love me for me who I am and what I believe in not for those things you'd like me to be.

  5. DeeAnne says:

    Very true…. Looking back on my own relationships I had the same problem… And I laughed to remember getting in trouble as a child for always giving my toys away…(which irritated my mother no end since we did not have money to replace them and the kids who took them DID)….

  6. Tom West â„¢ says:

    Tim, a few observations from a married guy who's still married to his first wife:

    Christian ideas about marriage are a slippery slope. "Two become one" is a romantic notion, and there is some truth to that, but "to thine own self be true" is much more important.

    "Being selfish" is frowned upon in Christian dogma. But everything you see around you is part of God and part of your self. Your reality around you is an exact reflection of your attitudes. In other words, you get what you think you deserve.

    Now here's something that may be old news or may be insightful. When you focus on what you want in a mate, and then STOP LOOKING is when they will walk right into your life and literally "land in your lap." You have to be unattached to the outcome in order for the outcome to arrive.

    I met my wife at a party in college after going through a rather uneventful relationship and break-up the month before that. I wasn't interested in a relationship at that time – I was tired of playing the game. I had been through some serious relationships and learned a lot, and knew that the next time I dated, it would be a mature relationship. That night, I met a woman who felt the same way. The first conversation we ever had was about our ex's – that's a big no-no, isn't it? 🙂 We both discovered that we were in the same place when it came to relationships, and we bonded instantly. I knew riding my bike home from campus that night that I had met someone special, and I thanked God on the way.

    Visualize the perfect lady for you – daydream about her. And I mean perfect. Don't leave any detail out, and believe that she exists and you deserve her. Then, STOP LOOKING! I swear to you she will appear in your life if you remain unattached.

    In love and life,

  7. [deleted] says:

    Tim… I apologize if I took things you said wrong, and if I'm focusing too much on the Chrisitan angle, but you began your story with these words… "I’ve typically allowed my Christian beliefs about marriage to guide me in such matters… and here is where, I believe, I made my first mistake." You continued later with these words… "I had all the signs of certain failure within view, but found Christian ways to ignore them all.”

    If your first mistake was because you followed your "Christian beliefs"… and then more mistakes followed because you found "Christian ways" to ignore the problems… ummmmmmmm… well… I am confused as to why you say I am focusing too much on the "Christian angle"??? Perhaps this lesson could be better taught by simply focusing on the mistakes "people in general" make and leaving religion out of it?

    Tim… I was only trying to say that your story has good points about "what not to do" in the early stages of relationships (to be preemptive, as you said), but I simply fail to see a specific "Christian connection" to these things. Turning a 'blind eye' to the early problems you listed are done every day by people of all faiths, and non-religious people as well.

    The saying "Love Is Blind" is so very true. It is our LOVE for others that makes us blind to certain faults in the early stages of relationships, not religion. But after the "fire" cools, the little faults we once over-looked suddenly become very large problems, and this is as true in dating as it is in marriage.

    I think Sandy made a good point in her post above mine. If I understand her correctly, I think the problem in the relationship she mentioned was not that she compromised over and again (she was unselfish), but that evidently her ex did not compromise (he was selfish)… which is basically what I said earlier. It takes TWO to dance. And it takes TWO to have a solid marriage and/or relationship.

    I don't think there is any room for selfishness in a lasting relationship. We are all different. We all have faults. We can divorce one person or ten people, but if we insist on being in a serious relationship and/or marriage, we will eventually have to accept the faults of someone down the road and expect them to accept our own faults, or it will never happen.

    One of my best friends is my age (27) and she has already been divorced once and has now remarried. She is very happy with her current husband. But, the funny thing is, her current husband is the same exact type of guy she married the first time. He goes off fishing a lot… he has many of the same mannerisms and habits… etc… and, yet, she is happily married this time. You know why? Whether she admits it or not, it's because she finally realized that the "perfect man" does not exist, and so she accepts faults from this guy that she didn't from her first husband.

    Only one person ever walked the earth who was perfect. The rest of us do things wrong every day. We all have habits that others consider as "bad". We all have faults. We all are going to put on our "best faces" while dating, which is kinna like lying. And if we begin relationships expecting others to have no quirks, then we are only fooling ourselves. To live with another human is to live with someone who will never be completely honest with us… will never agree with us at all times… will never want to do all the things we want to do… will never be happy with everything we do… and, yet, with LOVE we can work past all of this, but it must be love with both people, not just one.

    Again… I apologize if something I said upset you. I did not mean to do that. I was only trying to respond to your words.

    ((((((((((( smooches )))))))))))

  8. Sandy B says:

    I agree wholeheartedly.
    My ex was a Christian…his family knew mine years ago; in fact his ancient aunts embroidered their names on quilt given to my mom at her wedding shower (my parents married 1937). Theoretically we did everything right, but I compromised..and compromised.. until I could do nothing, eventually, but run 25 long years later!
    It's not always being selfish…. It's occasionally just keeping one's sanity.
    Oddly enough, I am the one who loves action films, and my ex cried at the cheesy Hallmark crap. My daughter, God bless her, celebrated Valentines Day by watching Die Hard with her boyfriend, so I passed one good thing along!

  9. Tim H says:

    Hi Debbie. What I am discussing is a PREEMPTIVE approach for avoiding a bad marital choice. You are focusing too much on the Christianity angle. My upbringing taught me qualities that DIDN'T prepare me well to make the best decisions about a wife in my younger years. Great tools for being in a good marriage however.

    My Christian upbringing taught me to forgive all mistakes. Forgetting an appointment is one thing, failing to disclose some personal habits and going to great lengths to hide them is forgivable but should end the relationship. Marriage only amplifies those kinds of problems. Another example, two people that argue about their whereabouts before marriage but thinking it will get better once they are married is once again foolish. Trust clearly isn't a part of the relationship, that really never changes. If you dont' trust whom you are with, it is doomed. NEXT!

    Read it again and just think of the Christian references as things many non-believers would teach there kids too. Remember our country's roots, we can't get around that even if we aren't a practicing Christian.

    Now, if you do in fact get married the compromise is wholly and completely appropriate. Until then compromises will only come back to haunt you, it's a very tough lesson to learn.

    A long term committed relationship can be similar to actually marrying, you may be in that situation now. It would be easy to take what i have said the wrong way in that case.

  10. [deleted] says:

    Hmmmmmmmm… well I've not yet been married, but I have dated a few guys, and I am very serious about one at the moment, and so I will only speak from this viewpoint.

    I see nothing wrong with compromise. In fact, I think that must be done in all of our relationships, whether in marriage or in friendship. I don't see how relationships can survive without them, because we are all so very different even when we have much in common. But it must be done by both partners and not just one.

    There are a few things unclear to me in your blog, or perhaps I missed something.

    One… I fail to see which "Christian principals" caused your divorces, or why you got divorced just because both of you were Christians. Again… perhaps I just missed your meaning, but, if anything, it seems to me that your first wife didn't use "Christian principals" with you. If things she did were not pleasing to you, then she should have compromised as much as you were compromising with her. For example… if she liked chick flicks, then you should have seen those with her. And if you liked action flicks, then she should have watched those with you. Get my drift?

    Two… the things you mention (such as action movies and projects and primping in front of the mirror) could be a problem in any marriage, not just Christian ones. People either enjoy doing the same things together or they do not, and I don't think that is guided 100% by their religion. I see nothing listed here that may or may not have caused your marriages to break up that could be the fault of a Christian upbringing and/or because you practiced your Christian beliefs… or, again, am I missing something?

    Three… I can certainly see your point about wanting to do the side projects. (I have many hobbies myself.) And I can see her point about wanting more time with you. This is one example of how people who love each other should be able to work things out. Time could be spent a few days per week working on the projects, and then the other days spent just doing things together. "Quality Time" is very important in a marriage, because there is so little of it, especially if both the husband and wife work. And then, if you have children involved, then that's even less time you have together. So it seems that both people have to sacrifice things they enjoy doing for the sake of the each other and the children.

    Four… the example you gave of the child who gave his dad's tools away is not the best one for the teaching of that lesson, because sharing means sharing your items, not those that belong to somebody else. lol

    I think I understand that you're saying you put up with things while dating (and eventually marrying) because your beliefs told you to, but, again, that could have happened if you had been raised in a non-Chrisitan family where you were still taught to overlook the faults of others out of respect and kindness for them.

    As I look toward possible marriage someday, I think of what I will be able to do to please my husband in every way, and I'm sure he will have faults that I must overlook to some degree. But, at the same time, I feel that he will have to do the same towards me, or it can never work. As my father says often… "It takes two to tango". If one partner is not doing right toward the other, then no marriage can last, or at least be the way marriage should be. It takes two people to be loving and respectful toward each other 24/7… and, from what I gather from the Word of God, that's exactly what the Bible teaches us… to respect each other and cling to each other and make each other happy, and if we have faults then it's up to each of us to work on them so as not to drive our partner cwazy… hehe.

    Sowwy for being long-winded, but I just wanted to put my two cents in, and I spose that turned into a few dollars huh?

    Very good blog sweety. Please let me know what I may have misunderstood.

    (((((((((( smooches ))))))))))

  11. Sunny Bee says:

    Does Jackie Chan count as an action movie? LOL…….

    I do like "simmering web projects" though!!

    You have the right attitude, Tim….and I totally agree with you! If more people thought this was it would save on a lot of complaining and heartbreak further down the line!!!!

  1. March 20, 2011

    […] that I finally understood the true value of ‘selfish dating’. My blog entitled, “Alone is better than wrong“, is a must read for any one still gripped in the torrent of dating (it is posted here too.) […]