Relationships – Fantasy Vs. Reality. – Information is at our finger tips in a world that is fully connected. We can discover it all in front of a computer screen, or on our mobile device. We can build images in our mind of wanting to do or see certain things almost so, that it feels real. It causes me to ask, what is reality? If we feel it, isn’t it real? If we believe it, isn’t it real? Are we deceiving ourselves?
Every once in a while I will take to YouTube and watch the latest music videos to see what songs are trending. I love music. At one point in college I was a voice major pursing the idea that one day I could become a Christian artist. I started back in high school signing and playing. When I got to college, I realized very quickly that I had not been trained as thoroughly as the other music majors and would have to work twice as hard to catch up. The fantasy was that it would all work out, while the reality of the hard work was inescapable. So it is with relationships and our preconceived perceptions.
Having been married and now single I have gained some great insight into marriage that only experience can teach. If you have never been married before, let’s do a reality check. This article can benefit both men and women, and the single or previously married.
Recently I came across a few profiles on a dating site. I glean a great deal of research from the top 5 dating websites with respect to the imagination of a woman. The first was a 38 year old woman who lived in a large metro city, seemed very cultured, had traveled the world, and was a mom to a little boy.
Here was her list:
“What I’m looking for: I must admit I have a soft spot for a funny guy, someone who can hold me spell bound with a story, or make me laugh till I cry. Someone with passion and creativity, who knows what they want and goes for it. Someone authentic and honest. A guy’s guy. Sweetness is a must with a dash of old-fashioned gentlemanliness. Oh, and if you’re musically inclined whatsoever, I’m already melting.
Ultimately, I’d like to find my best friend and love of my life. It’s a tall order, but call me a hopeless romantic, I still believe in love….the long-lasting, unconditional kind. And I’m not willing to settle.”
Or how about this profile, she is in her early 30’s, never married, and no children. She is from a small town just outside of Chicago.
Q: The most important thing I am looking for in a person is:
“A man who loves the Lord and desires to grow in God. Looking for a confident yet humble man who makes me laugh. It’s very attractive when he pays attention to details and isn’t afraid to take charge. Definitely looking for a cute best friend. A taste in music would be a BONUS! I’d love him to have an understanding how business works and on how finances should be handled. I’m also looking to fall in love with the man God made for me…haven’t met him yet, but am giving it a try to see what happens. Having a love for kids important bc I would like to make a family with him. So here’s to getting to know my sweet and pretty hot manly man;)”
None of those things sound that bad or hard. But as I read through each of those profiles it invoked a scene of us running in a green field hand and hand. Fantasy says you’ll get the rose from the Bachelor and live happily ever after. Realty says that every moment of a relationship is important and that all things must be examined and addressed to the benefit of the goals at hand. There are no perfect relationships, only people who must know who they are and have the ability to come together in partnership to enhance the overall joy in the journey of life.
The biggest complaint I hear from women is that of time. I believe that in the start of relationships, each person has to earn the others time, trust, and affections. But some assume that this is given freely by way of what they experienced earlier in life.
Most of us started dating in high school where time, trust, and affections were given freely. An assumption for many singles is that this would continue into adulthood, and by far is the pinnacle of all fantasies. Its why so many marry and divorce multiple times. They get caught up in a fantasy of that person who initially gives freely of their time, trust, and attention to finally be disappointed days, months, or years later when the reality hits. You have to put your reality glasses on, from the first date and suppress the endorphin’s from taking over your awareness of the other person.
The first step is to leave out the fantasies and pursue truth. Truth says that we are all flawed and that no two people will fit perfectly. Truth speaks of the willingness to address problems working toward a common goal of building a flourishing relationship that honors each person while ultimately honoring God.
My friend James often talks about people operating in their own swim lanes with respect to what they do at work or in business. A successful business has multiple leaders operating in different lanes for the goal of the entity. In some cases when a business is failing, they have people trying to do what they are not good at, thinking that they know better. This all starts with the imagination/fantasy of their skills without the realty of it being tested. While a business can stay afloat for some time, the reality is the environment becomes very unhealthy and ultimately causes the demise of the organization.
One evening I was speaking with a friend who was recently engaged. She talked in detail of how great her man was. As the evening progressed, many things started to arise with respect to the type of view this person had. She was viewing things from the fantasy that things would just magically work out. She cited many differences but was unwilling to address them and if need be, be willing to give the ring back. Nothing is worth living an unfulfilled life with someone who isn’t a good partner. The fantasy is that good relationships have no conflict. The reality is that great relationships have conflict and two people who are unwilling to walk away without winning together as a team. Bob Paul, one of the founders of The National Institute of Marriage says that “You either win together or loose together.”
New Life Ministries provides a great article titled “Eight Contrasts Between Unhealthy and Healthy Relationships” which helps shed light on the realities of relationships.
“Reality vs. Fantasy. Healthy relationships are based in reality. Each person is aware of his own strengths and weaknesses. There is no need to hide or to try to fool the other. Each person is also aware of the others strengths and weaknesses. There is no need to pretend that problems don’t exist or to tiptoe around “unmentionable” areas. If the partner is weak in some area, he or she accepts it and helps accommodate or strengthen it.
Unhealthy relationships, by contrast, are based on fantasy. What could be or should be replaces what is. The elements of unreality become the focus. The relationship is built on a foundation that isn’t really there.” Read More
If you are unwilling to set aside the fantasies and not work through the realities of doing life together you will always find disappointment and tragedy in your relationships.
If you were wondering if I made it through the music program to become that Christian artist, you can search and see for yourself, I didn’t. I had to give up the fantasies and choose the realities. However, I was blessed with the first experience of laying down my own fantasies and embracing the realities and what was a winning career choice. I made the better choice and God has lifted the fog of fantasy to enable me to enjoy the unpredictable, scary but thrilling ride of “real” life.