Written by Evi Idoghor
Matching Pajamas season is upon us, and if you are single like me, you may be wondering if your standards are too high, or if you should lower them. Everyone is encouraged to have a certain set of standards. Not only in terms of relationships, but also in other areas of life. Standards aid in the definition of boundaries, which are put in place to protect us from harm.
Just a few years ago, I had emerged from the most difficult six months of my life. I was able to see clearly after I left my boyfriend, and I was certain that I did not want anything to do with him, or with anyone who resembled him in appearance, behavior, or speech. Unlike Adele, I had no desire to find someone like him. I buried my head in books and watched videos that taught me what I should want in a relationship. As a result, I began constructing my standards, brick by brick, which was something I had never done before.
Throughout the process, I realized that I deserved to be in a relationship with a man who loved God and did not press me for sex. So, if a man approached me who wasn't sure about his Christian faith or whose beliefs didn't match mine, I looked the other way. There was no room for growth or compromise. It was as if I wanted to punish every man who came after my tumultuous boyfriend.
No one was perfect enough, worthy enough, or good enough for my love. I needed to be in a relationship where the person pursuing me was committed to knowing only me and not a slew of other women. We'd talk about our passions, callings, and desires. We wouldn't stay up late talking on the phone at ungodly hours. Our conversations would be devoid of “what are you wearing?” “Can you come over and spend the night?” We weren't going to spend time alone behind closed doors because that's how babies are conceived. We'd look into each other's eyes, dance the night away, and sail into the sunset—The Bachelor is responsible for this.
I was looking forward to this man that God would specially handcraft for me, one with whom we would build and leave a legacy behind us, for those who would come through us, and one day, in a conversation with a newly engaged friend, she said, “I think your standards are too high!”
What exactly do you mean? I retaliated. “No one is perfect, and I'm afraid you'll push men away,” she explained. I rolled my eyes; despite the fact that I was tired of the way I had previously handled relationships and sincerely desired a godly man, she knocked me off my high horse.
Relationships are beautiful because two flawed people choose to collaborate to create something that will outlive them. There should be room for growth as well as reasonable compromises. There should be room for mistakes and forgiveness. We must learn to pick our battles wisely and to advocate for peace (most of the time). We can become so engulfed by fairytales and hurt, past failures and present fantasies, that we fail to notice the good people right in front of us.
Don't get me wrong, everyone should have their non-negotiables and set boundaries to ensure that they are not broken; however, if the man isn't as tall, doesn't have the best dress sense, or has an Igbo accent (insert eye roll), that shouldn't stop us from exploring the possibilities of what could be.
So, ladies (and men), rather than brood over the matching pajamas pictures that will begin to flood your timeline any moment from now, examine whether your high standards are preventing you from being open to a first date. What is the worst that would happen? You will discover areas in which you are incompatible. The best? A pure heart lies beneath the package you wouldn't have given a second thought to unwrap. Which, in my opinion, is the most valuable thing.
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