These days you can purchase the “knock-off” version of just about anything. There are fake furs, jewelry, watches, movies (bootleg), handbags, perfume…there are even fake relationships nowadays. There are fake Instagram and Facebook relationships, where the couples are always ballin’, never experiencing a bad day, and supercalifragilistically crazy, drunk in love; and then there are the fake romantic relationships between the sexes with people who are aren’t really who they present themselves to be.
At first glance, these individuals appear to be Mr. & Mrs. Right but over time, circumstances and opportunities reveal their true character and intent.
A few years ago, I learned the method the U.S. government employs to spot a counterfeit bill is by comparing it to a real bill. The United States Secret Service makes note of the special characteristics that exist in real dollar bills such as weight, color, thickness and length, and those things become the benchmark to detect counterfeit bills. Rather than wasting precious hours of the day by studying the hundreds of counterfeits, they simplify the process by just paying attention to what’s real.
When I learned this, I couldn’t help but to think about dating relationships and how easy they could become if only we’d pay more attention to our real thing, God. Just like the U.S. Secret Service, He too can simplify the process of dating and eliminate the pain of a broken heart if we allow him to be our guide and benchmark for dating and marriage.
Overtime, I finally learned how to do things like the U.S. government, and less like a woman who’s unsure of her worth. I learned how to protect my heart and guard the treasure that dwells inside of it. I learned that though there are counterfeit relationships, there’s also a relationship with a man who can teach, heal, and prepare me for a relationship with one who has a real heart after God.
Like the U.S. Secret Service, I realized that the best way to avoid falling prey to a counterfeit is by studying and knowing the real thing. When it comes to dating and relationships, my real thing is God. God is the benchmark for knowing how I should be treated, how I should I feel on the inside, and how I should be loved and respected (I John 4:16).
For example, counterfeit relationships usually share one or more of the following characteristics:
- Compromise your character and integrity
- Convince you to lower your standards
- Make the thought of settling seem appealing and logical
- Are often easy and convenient
- Leave you with thoughts such as “what if…” or make you wonder you’re missing
- Always come along right before the real thing
By recognizing these things, I am able to avoid them and run like the wind far, far away from them. Similar to the excitement that knockoff purses and perfumes present by being available at extraordinarily low prices, counterfeit relationships present the same thing. They come in beautiful and handsome packages to grab our attention. They appear to possess the ability to offer what we’ve always hoped for or dreamed of, but situations and challenges soon expose their limited use, as soon as we begin to unwrap them. For women, we may soon learn that a guy’s patience and willingness to wait expires after six months of dating or at his best friend’s bachelor party. While men soon learn that a women’s understanding and compassion is just fancy lip service after he loses his job and she no longer has an interest in being with him.
When the revelation arrives, we can often be found saying “I knew it was too good to be true”… “I had a feeling she might have been crazy”… and swimming in a sea of regret because we fell for the counterfeit of what appeared to be the real thing. But more often than not we’re also left with a broken heart and unrealized hopes and dreams. I know this, because there was a time when I allowed my heart to be treated like knockoff currency. My heart was placed in the wrong hands on more than one occasion, and in the end I was left with a person who couldn’t afford to buy my love…and sometimes, a person who wasn’t ready to pay the full price for my love.
However that was then, and this is now. I wouldn’t dare allow myself to be hoodwinked or bamboozled by a counterfeit again. Through patience, love, wisdom, healing and discernment God’s love has shown me how to recognize what’s real.
Real relationships do the following:
- Accept your standards
- Find value in high standards and morals
- Help you to progress and move forward
- Challenge you to become a greater version of yourself
- Encourage you to become a better person
- Cultivate a healthy environment to help you deepen and strengthen your relationship with God
Real relationships will always add value to your life. As you pursue love and relationships with the opposite sex, I hope these lists help you to navigate the world of dating. I hope they encourage you to make wise decisions. More importantly, I pray they encourage you to be patient and wait for the real thing.
Happy Courting (Dating)!