I was watching The Newsroom season finale this week and …
Spoiler Alert!: Only a small one but if you plan to watch the finale, skip to the (*) asterisk down the page.
There’s a moment when one of the characters, Don, invites his on-again, off-again girlfriend Maggie into his apartment. The lights are off, the living room is glowing with candles and Don pulls out a box. At this point, any girl watching this scene with the sound off would have immediately thought, “Oh, he’s going to propose!”
Which he did. Except instead of a diamond ring as a symbol of his love and devotion, Don offers Maggie a key to his apartment.
I’m married to the most amazing man. Really. He has the patience of Job, the integrity of Abraham Lincoln and the looks of a rugged cowboy, all with fiery red hair. And he loves me something crazy.
But my husband is not perfect. And neither am I.
Shocking, I know. Being married nearly two years made that glaringly apparent to me.
This last week The Huffington Post ran a brief article on an upcoming book by social scientist Catherine Hakim. In it she suggests that having extramarital affairs might actually make for a better relationship. I have not yet read the book, but I did read the excerpt printed in The Telegraph. While we may view this position as extreme, I would argue that the assumptions upon which it is based (at least from what I read in the excerpt) are what I see subtly permeating our culture, our conversations and the attitudes of many my age (20–30 year olds).
Most of us have grown up never knowing life without internet, cell-phones and email. Yet the frenzy of living in this 24/7 digital world has left many of us relationally exhausted, yearning for a simpler way. Even my most plugged-in, wired friends call to complain that it’s just too difficult to know what to do. More options have only made it more complicated, blurring the dating guidelines.
Now, when you’re interested in someone, you Google their history, comb through their Facebook pictures for past girlfriends/boyfriends, and follow them on Twitter for the play-by-play of their life.
Or maybe that was just me.
The Problem: All of those digital mediums tell you about that person but they don’t help you know them.
Have you read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller? My interest was piqued after reading this hilarious post by Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary, where she describes her time at Miller’s Storyline Conference. This book focuses on the deceptively simple, yet profound, question: What kind of story are you living? One line in particular jumped out at me. So much so that I had to grab a pen and underline it right then.
“No girl who plays the role of a hero dates a guy who uses her. She knows who she is."
In my last article, we came up with the WHY behind our relationship boundaries, discussing how the WHY gives purpose, lays the foundation, and keeps us committed to the boundaries each of us sets for ourselves.
Today, we’re discussing the HOW.
Building healthy, effective boundaries begins with envisioning where you want these relationships to go and what you’d like them to become. As Stephen Covey, author of the best-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, so wisely says, “begin with the end in mind.”
Boundaries. They sound about as exciting as putting on a straight jacket. Unless you understand the WHY behind them, boundaries seem restrictive, rather than empowering. WHY gives them purpose, lays the foundation for you to build upon, and is what will keep you committed when it’s hard, painful, and you’re ready to throw in the towel.
You have to own this “why,” believe it is the core of who you are, and decide it is worth it for YOU. It is your WHY that you will keep coming back to as your relationships change, as you grow, and as seasons come and go.