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"Right" or "Not" prt.2


the “right” person, part 2 How did you know you were in love the first time? Was he the perfect guy? If you aren’t with him now, how are you going to know the “right” person when you meet him?—Mexicali, 16, CA

Shayna Answers:

Dear Mexicali,

For the past couple weeks we’ve been talking about love, and what it means to be “in love.” I told you last week about my first love, N, and some of my feelings that encompassed “being in love” with him. I ended last week’s column by telling you that because I was in love with N, I began putting his needs above my own. I also started making compromises that I shouldn’t have.

As I mentioned last week, I loved N for many reasons. Some of the reasons—his acceptance of me, his bolstering of my self-esteem, his family’s approval—were based on N’s fulfilling deeper personal needs I had at the time. All of these things were important to the relationship and contributed to the strong commitment that we eventually developed.

But, I was too dependent on N and his family to provide my sense of worth. I translated my own struggle with self-acceptance into my interaction with him. When I lacked the initiative or faith to follow through on something, N would remind me that I was the most intelligent or most ambitious person he’d ever met. While this brought out the best in my performance, it would have put a lot of pressure on N to constantly feed my ego if our relationship had lasted any longer than it did (just short of a year).

I also craved N’s parents’ acceptance and reveled in the fact that I had it. They adopted me into their culture, which I loved. But I shouldn’t have been as eager as I was to allow them to help me find my cultural identity—something I still struggle with.

So at the time, yes, N was the perfect person for me. Unfortunately, time and experience have shown me that the “right” relationship will be based on more than emotions and acceptance.

While emotions and acceptance are both important, I overlooked the fact that N and his family were not Christians. I shunned the need I had for a spiritual foundation to ground me, and I used N and his family to fill the void that only God can fill. As I found out, no love, no matter how strong, can succeed without God.

For all of us, our life mate should, above all else, share our love and passion to serve God. Most of us will experience being in love more than once in our lifetime. But the person we commit to must share our life’s purpose—even after the initial attraction and compatibility fade.

I trust that where God leads me in my career and education will be where my path will intersect with the “right” person for me. God will ensure that the timing is ideal for both of us, too. After all, Jeremiah 10:23 says: “I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.”

Until I meet the “right” person, the most intelligent thing I can do is follow the advice of Jeremiah 33:3: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Then I will know the “right” person, because God will reveal him!

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