After only recently talking to someone about a break-up they just went through, it was clear that knowing the difference between change and a cure was vital. She said she learned valuable lessons along the way, and she said these were worth sharing.
So there I was, giving a talk on dating and relationships to a group of students, and it really felt like they were taking in what I had to say. You never know how it’s going to go, and I’m always a bit worried because I just want to help people and get it right. But they were definitely responding.
We had a great Q&A, some people opened up about their own situations and it felt like God was really connecting with people in this important area. It was great.
She had just broken up with her boyfriend
At the end though, a young woman came up to me and said she had just broken up with her boyfriend, and she was still processing it all.
She asked if we could meet up to discuss it more in depth, so my wife and I invited her round to help her think through what happened and offer some support.
Now I wouldn’t usually write about what was shared in a situation like this, but this person involved actually asked me to write something. She wanted me to because she wanted to help others in a similar position.
He Wanted Me To Just Know
She said that this relationship had started with him saying to her that he is very emotional. Nothing wrong with that, men can show emotions. But then he said he expected her to just read his emotions instantly, and that she should react in the right way.
She thought it was strange, but they began a relationship.
Unfortunately, over time, she realised that he was very, very emotional. His mood could change very quickly, it was always very intense, and she found it hard to keep up.
He wanted her to cure him
Now I always say no one is perfect. A relationship is about two imperfect people committing to each other, making it work and making sure they enjoy it along the way. But he expected her to always know how to react, to say the right thing, and to sort him out.
Above all else, he just wanted it to happen without any conflict. He didn’t want there to be any tension, but for what he needed to just happen.
He wanted her to sort out his issues. He wanted her to cure him. (Read more of her story in her own words here)
Change Vs Cure
I’ve written before about how relationships will change us. We cannot build a healthy relationship without compromise, seeing the world a bit differently, and changing as we journey together. Knowing what we are willing to change is key. (Read If A Relationship Doesn’t Change Me, Then It’s Not A Relationship).
We will change each other in a relationship, but expecting someone to cure us, to deal with all of our problems is unfair on us and them.
Both people need to be willing to work through the lows and navigate their relationship dynamics so that they can enjoy the highs and thrive in their relationship. Expecting a cure won’t allow that to happen, and can become toxic.
What We Can Expect
My wife and I explained to this young women that you cannot just know, to be expected to say the right thing all the time. In your relationship you need to talk, communicate, and express how you’re feeling, especially when there is tension. (Read How To Communicate Well When We’re Annoyed).
We told her that people in relationships talk, and offer grace because there are no instant fixes
My wife and I can’t always know what each other are thinking. We can’t read each other’s emotions all the time. We still have conflict. Two people in a relationship will have disagreements and arguments, that’s just what happens.
We told her that people in relationships talk, and offer grace because there are no instant fixes, and change a bit along the way.
We told her that we can have this expectation, but we can’t expect a cure.
She seemed to understand, and she said later that it really helped her to discover which expectations were not right, and what dynamics she wanted to build next time. She learned something along the way, and I hope this guy, who I never met, did too.
Imagine if we remembered that we can’t expect people to cure us. We don’t need to be perfect, but we do need to be honest and realistic. You can expect your partner to support you, and work through the issues, and they can expect you to do the same, so that you build an enjoyable relationship together.
We need to be ready to spot it when people want cures, and remember that a better perspective will bring better relationships. (Read Unhealthy Relationship Expectations We Should All Know.)
What are the other differences between change and a cure? Comment welcomed below.
Originally posted 5/3/2018