Why – It’s a shame that W comes so late in the alphabet because really this topic should come early on in our series. But there we go, letter W comes 23rd in the alphabet and so it’s very late on in our series.
There’s a very good business book by a man named Simon Sinek called “Start with Why” which is about transforming business or organisational success by starting (and answering) the question Why. The concept is that most people know what their business does and how it does what it does, but few know why, and mastering the Why transforms everything.
I’d like to suggest this is very pertinent to dating and it’s the reason I have chosen ‘Why’ for our letter W in this series.
I would hazard a guess (I’ve done no research on this) that the majority of people head into relationships or marriage or dating for the simple reason that it’s what everyone else does – it’s the norm – and it’s how life plays out. That is very true but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right thing to do. Before I go further let me give you an analogy.
I am the youngest of 4 siblings. There’s a 4-year age gap between me and the next sister up. All my siblings took a year off before university and went travelling the world. When it came time for me to leave school, I did exactly the same. I don’t remember giving it a moments thought as to WHY I was going to travel. I did it just because that’s what everyone else (in my family) had done.
Looking back, I think if I had my time again and I had thought hard about WHY I was thinking of going travelling, I might have either not taken a ‘year off’ or done something very different with my time. Basically, I just followed my siblings – choose a part of the world they hadn’t been too – and took off – with pretty much no purpose at all! Now I had a great time in many ways – and some amazing experiences – but it was all pretty pointless – and again looking back I’m not sure it really contributed much to my life – or my development of life. And that’s because I hadn’t asked or answered Why I was going. Going because everyone else went really wasn’t such a clever idea.
And it’s exactly the same in relationships. Doing it (having a relationship) just because it seems ‘everyone else’ is, is really not a good reason to get into a relationship.
Assuming you are someone who wants to be in a ‘significant’ relationship with someone else, have you ever asked yourself why. And if you haven’t, then may I encourage you to do so.
I’m not sure there are any right or wrong answers by the way (although there will certainly be some better or worse motivations for sure) but the point is to do the thinking. Because the thinking may very well determine how you go about looking, and who you choose for your partner as a result.
Lets use a couple of examples that hopefully will be easy to relate to.
Suppose you want to ‘get married’ (to someone very rich) because you want the financial benefits and security that a rich person would (you think) bring you. If this is your WHY then you are going to search out these types of people in places where ‘rich’ people hang out. You’re going to judge the ‘suitability’ of people based on their perceived (and maybe actual) wealth. You are going to dismiss quickly anyone who doesn’t have the income level or wealth that you are looking for.
Or perhaps you’re main reason for getting married is that you don’t like doing your hobbies and interests on your own and you want to share doing them with someone else. So, you look only for people who share your particular interests – and anyone who doesn’t share your particular interests – are not considered. That’s fine and very understandable if this is your Why.
Or perhaps you have a strong yearning to have children. This is so strong that you’ll only consider someone who can have children with you. If this is your no 1 Why then it may certainly affect the age of the person you consider – and in extreme cases you may even get tests done to ensure you can have children together. I’m trying to give you extreme examples here to get my point across.
Of course, many people have lots of Why’s when it comes to considering who they want to marry – but as I said above, my guess is that most of us don’t think hard about it – in the same way I didn’t give any ‘thought’ to why I was going to go off travelling after school.
Now here’s my proposition. As Christians our Why in wanting to marry and share our lives with another person should be different to those of our friends and family who are not Christians. Yes we may want to share our interests and hobbies with a loved one; Yes we may want companionship (indeed the Bible tells us that it’s not good for man to be alone); Yes we may want to have children (and our marriage services tell us that this is indeed a primary purpose of marriage); Yes we may want financial security; but much, much more important than any of these surely is our walk with Jesus and our journey in life towards God.
If, as is my belief, this life is a preparation for a life of eternity with (or without) God, then its absolutely critical that we share our lives with someone who has a similar view. Our Why becomes our desire and need to journey towards God partnered by someone who can help and support us in this journey – whom we can support too. Yes things like children, financial security, interests and hobbies may be important but they are not the No. 1 reason for us as Christians to find a soul mate.
And if this is our Why – to share our lives with someone who can help us towards God – then our looking becomes very different.
In the same way that Simon Sinek suggests business becomes different when the business owners know their Why, I suggest that searching for a partner/soulmate also becomes very different when you clearly know your why.
And if your why is about journeying towards God together, how much will that change who you consider and what you consider about them. It may well also change how you present yourself and how you go about your dating.
So, if you’ve never considered this before, may I suggest you take some time out to really think about your Why. Set aside some time, get a pen and paper out and start writing your thoughts on your Why down. Just the process of doing this is important – but I’m also convinced you’ll find it a very worthwhile use of your time – and it may very well help you discern much more clearly who you want to spend the rest of your life with – let alone how you are going to go about finding them.