How often do we use the term “significant other” when we’re talking about romantic relationships?
It’s become part of the cultural lingo and when it’s spoken we all understand that we’re talking about someone that’s more than just a friend; someone who carries a significant place of value and priority in our life. A boyfriend or a girlfriend, a fiance, or a spouse. It’s a term that implies love, romance, and physical attraction. It’s a term that reminds us that we hold someone just as significantly as they hold us.
But I wonder if our simple acceptance of this term, actually implies something inherently wrong with our culture…
One thing I’ve noticed in the society of the West is that we are a culture who bases our value and worth within the status of our romantic relationships. We are told that we are most valuable when we’ve found someone to tell us so. We live in a culture that caters to this mentality. It’s plastered on our television screens, our billboards, and our magazines. It’s blatant in our movies, our music, and our literature.
But what if with our blind acceptance of the terminology we’ve also accepted the lie that the most significant relationships in our lives are the ones that include physical attraction, sexual chemistry, and romantic experiences. What if we’ve started to believe that we’re most significant when we finally find someone who will tell us so.
We spend our lives in pursuit of this “one” relationship, not neglecting the reality that significance can be found in so many other places.
As much beauty as I see within the context of a romantic relationship and as much as I’ve been overwhelmingly blessed within the committed relationship of my marriage, there is a deep part of me that revolts against the mentality that our most significant relationships can only take shape within the framework of a romantic relationship.
As meaningful as my marriage is and as much as I am in love with my husband – my marriage is not – no, it CANNOT – be the only relationship that holds “significance” in my life.
Each and every stage of my life has ushered me into significant relationships, ordained by God to shape me, to guide me, and to make me into the person that I am today. From my respect and love of my parents for how they’ve shaped me, to my deep adoration of my children and how they challenge me; from my valuable interactions with my best friends who support me, to the way that my mentors pour their lives into mine…there have been so many relationships in my life that have been of complete and utter significance.
Each significant relationship ordained by God for a specific time, a specific place, and for a very specific purpose – making us more like Jesus. Each significant relationship bringing us one step closer to our destiny, our calling, and the person God invites us to become.
But how many times, specifically in singleness and dating, have we gotten so lost in the pursuit of a significant other, that we’ve failed to realize the significance that’s all around us? How many times in our myopic vision, have we failed to see the bigger picture?
It’s time to redefine our view of significant others. It’s time to say no to this inherent lie by realizing that we don’t need a “significant other” in order to have significant relationships in our lives.
This isn’t a new concept, either. In fact, all throughout Scripture we’re encouraged to invest in significant relationships within the body of believers. We’re called to intimate community and to meaningful fellowship. It’s time to recognize and then to invest in the people that God has surrounded us with. People who will encourage us, build us up, and call us out when we need to be corrected. People that He will use to shape us, to challenge us, and to pour their lives into ours. People that God will use in our lives long before marriage.
Singles, my prayer for you today is that your natural longing for a significant other will lead you to recognize that above and beyond this one relationship you desire, you are surrounded by many significant relationships. People who have been placed in your life by a God who knows exactly what you need. May you find these relationships even in the most unexpected of places–and may you find joy as you move one step closer into God’s greater picture.
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, 21 Days to Jump Start Your Love Life, and 21 Days to Pray for Your Love Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 150+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!