I'm about finished with relationship advice. I'm done reading it. I'm (almost) done giving it. (Also, I am cranky today, so this will read like it. Maybe I'll come back and edit one day soon? Maybe not.) If you can point me towards someone who is actually helping the cause towards people finding and maintain healthy and whole relationships, I will kindly change my tune. However, most of what I see breaks down into two categories: "Single Folks Gonna Single" and "Wait. You're Married But Don't Want Me To Be?"
Group One consists primarily of single men and women who constantly commiserate (that means the gripe to one another) and share tips that will - inevitably - keep them all single and in the same situation. Group Two consists of the married "guru" who doesn't seem to have anything to say that can help other people down that path. They post from their blogs with their pics of their lovely spouse and children but communicate that it probably isn't possible for you to have that life yourself. Hmmmm...
Anyway... I'm about sick of all of them. I'm about sick of myself on this topic, too, which is why I rarely talk on it anymore even though I'm asked to interview about once a week. Instead of my continuing to rant, let me share the main reasons I think you (as a person hopeful of having a happy and healthy relationship with a special person one day) should start tuning EVERYBODY out...
1. The Prevalence of the "Real Men/Women" Tagline. Anything that uses "real men" and "real women" a lot is a turn-off to me already. It is judgmental. People are not monolithic automatons behaving all in the same fashion. There are few things that describe a "real" man or "real" woman in any tangible way beyond their genitals. We are all always (hopefully) maturing and are somewhere along the road called sanctification. As best I can tell, the only thing common to real men is not caring a whole lot about what others think a "real man" ought to be doing.
2. Most advice is dripping with low-expectations. Most of what is out there would more encourage me to walk away from dealing with women (or men if I was a woman) altogether. Nearly everything people do is viewed with skepticism. My Lord! Is there anything good to say about people? Is there anything but criticism and complaining? I believe there are a lot of good, hard-working, courageous and well-intentioned men out there along with some charming, kind, gracious and spiritual women. I must be the only one who thinks so.
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3. They only know one line. I am tired of reading material that has its primary advice "Run!" when dealing with something you don't like. Even more so when they can't (or barely) tell anybody what to seek. It's just run from this... run from that... run, run, ruunnnnnn! etc. I promise you. This is firmly lodged in the "Single Folks Gonna Single" mentality. So many darn red flags. No green lights? At all? I believe we'd be much better off learning to focus on the good qualities of people.
4. It is self-centered and prideful. How about this? How can YOU see through some surface things and help that person mature? Maybe you can and should have some grace towards them? Most advice continues the presumption that "your" guy or gal must come as a prepared, finished product or they are worthless to you. It ignores the reader's own shortcomings - which are many... being that the reader is a human, too.
5. Bonus. Instead of wondering whether that person of interest is ready for YOU how about investigating whether you are ready for them? Ask yourself these non-self-centered (gasp!) questions...
- Am I ready to place their needs above my own?
- Do I make them a better person?
- Am I willing to support their vision for their life?
- Do I have a vision for my own life?
- Do I add value to their life?
Either way, it seems to me that the best thing to do is to open your Bible to The Proverbs and start to study. Also, find a few wise counselors with whom you can talk regularly in real life who have lives you want to emulate and disconnect from almost everything else... even me if you need to. I won't be upset. I'll celebrate when I see you out with that special person!
Mark Anthony McCray helps people live on PURPOSE, achieve higher PERFORMANCE and experience true PROSPERITY. Be sure to subscribe to this blog so you don't miss a thing and forward this to a friend if you found it helpful. All material © Copyright, Mark Anthony McCray unless otherwise noted!
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