communication

The Layaway Plan

Dating, courting, whatever term you chose to use, has become quite interesting these days. It can all seem so complicated, especially when there seem to be so many rules in the game of dating. Who should call who first? How long should you wait? Do you take turns setting up dates or wait on each other? I have gotten plenty of those questions, but I want to skate past this today. I get many questions all coming down to “How do I know they are serious?” I often refer to what I call “The Layaway Plan”.

Let me break this down. Almost everyone has gone shopping for something a handful of times. Layaway programs were created to allow customers to lay claim to items they desire by investing usually at least 10% of an item.  If you are still searching for other items and you aren’t sure if you are going to find exactly what you are looking for, you can make sure no one else claims the others you in which you are interested. If they don’t find anything better, then they have a time frame in which they can fully complete their purchase. Sometimes you decide you find something better and let go of the items on layaway. Many of us date with this method whether we identify it or not.

Let’s say I find a guy in whom I am intrigued, but I am not quite sure whether it is exactly what I want. He may have some characteristics or traits, but I am not sure. There may be another guy that comes along that may have exactly what I think it is in which I am looking. Of course, I don’t want to miss out on this guy. So, I have to invest just enough to keep him occupied or intrigued. I may call him, text him, and spend time with him. I’m just making sure I do enough that I can keep some of the other prospects away from him. That way I am not missing out on what could be potentially be a great thing or my person.

Some of you aren’t even going to be real and admit that you have done that or if it currently identifies with you. I realize that you have to date in order to find love. Now you do have to know what it is you want or looking for in order to find it. I could stop right there. No commercials just yet though.  Some of you want to put people on layaway for free. You make no kind of investment, but expect them to be there when you get back. That is hilarious to me. You may even start other layaway plans while still searching for what you want. Some of you are on layaway and don’t even realize it because she or he makes you feel special. You don’t even realize that they are only investing in the minimum to keep you off the market. They know someone will come and want to fully invest in you. They may not be ready to fully commit for whatever reason or excuse.

One thing that people tend to forget while still shopping at times is that the layaway plan has a limit. There is an expiration written into the policy. Most layaway plans don’t exceed over 90 days. You have 90 days to make a decision on whether you are willing to make the investment to make the full purchase. I was reminded tonight that during holidays an extension is often given now so you may get 120 days. That is not the norm. If I am not willing to fully invest, then I can’t string a man along. Let’s be honest. Most of us really know within that time frame whether we can see something progressing from that relationship. Now there can be several different factors that cause us to hold on past this point. It can be comfort, fear of missing out, fear of the unknown, fear of causing hurt, selfishness, etc. For the sake of time I won’t elaborate on those in this post. I will hit that another time.

I personally held on to some relationships or friendships because I was comfortable with the familiarity. It was easier not to start over and learn someone else new. I told myself that we had a really great friendship and isn’t that a great foundation for a great marriage? Now don’t get me wrong, it can be. Sometimes we are in denial. Some of us had great friendships only because we didn’t do anything to rock the boat. You don’t want to be rude or hurt feelings. Some of my greatest friendships are with people who don’t mind hurting my feelings. I thought that if I stuck it out it would change and marriage would evolve eventually. We would get on the same page. There is potential. Truth be told, I saw red flags along the way that pointed me to an end. I knew it was time to let it go and I held on anyway. I caused more hurt by lingering than by letting them go. I had to ask myself was I keeping the other person from finding their person because I hadn’t let them go. I loved them enough that I wanted them to be truly happy even if it wasn’t with me.

If you aren’t going to invest, then let them go. I hear people tell me that they are going to entertain one person, until someone else comes along that catches their attention. Here is the problem with that. It usually doesn’t work that way. If you really want to experience love and happiness with an individual, you must be willing to be vulnerable. Let me say it again another way. The level at which you chose to stop being vulnerable, is the level of happiness and love you can experience.  I know it doesn’t feel great being vulnerable. Who wants the feeling of thinking they can be hurt?

They are so many different scenarios of how this layaway plan can play out. I will touch on more of these soon.  As for now, don’t be someone’s expired layaway plan. If someone hasn’t made the investment yet, don’t think you aren’t worth it. Don’t use this to measure your worth. Maybe that person is just not your person. Someone will come who will be ready to fully invest when it’s time and see the treasure you are.  Don’t leave people on layaway once you know you have no intention of making the full investment.

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Love Requires Work

Communication and unmet expectations is one of the major issues in all relationships. You can share your heart with individuals over and over. Until a person realizes and identifies the issue, they will not change. Sometimes we expect to receive love from people who don’t have the capacity in their heart to love you. Or it could be that they aren’t willing to make room in their heart for you. So, it takes you to understand whether a person has the ABILITY or WILLINGNESS to love you. Then you must adjust your perspective, love, and accept them for who they are today. If you don’t you will be hurt and disappointed repeatedly because of expectations not being met. Love is a choice. We choose to love or not to love the people in our lives. All relationships require give and take. Both people must pour into the relationship. Boundaries may have to be placed so that you won’t end up in a deficit. You teach people how to love you. If you keep accepting anything, you are saying it’s okay. Don’t be afraid to communicate what you need in relationships. Sometimes we make people feel wrong for communicating their needs. Don’t allow anyone to make you feel bad for sharing how you feel.  Gary Chapman author of one of my favorite books identify our love languages (the way we communicate care and love) as the following:

  • Quality time
  • Words of affirmation
  • Physical touch
  • Gifts
  • Acts of service

 

Everyone communicate love differently. It is insane for us to think that everyone loves the same way. I know that each person in my life have different needs in relationships. So, I try my best to communicate with them in their languages and meet their needs in our relationships. Just like if you have children. Each of your children will have different needs. Therefore, you communicate your love with them in the way they require. However, often we try to love everyone in our lives the same way or maybe we don’t even consider the certain relationships beyond a certain scope. All relationships take work and effort. You don’t get in your car or live in your house without paying attention to it to see if it needs maintenance. You know that your car requires gas and oil. Relationships require maintenance. If you have a relationship that is important to you, be sure that you check in from time to time. There may be some relationships change over time. As we grow, our needs may change. I recently noticed that my love language changed. After growth in some areas of my life, I realized that my main two love languages aren’t the same anymore. I never thought that those would now be different.  Evaluate and check in with your loved ones from time to time. You should be comfortable expressing your needs in relationships. If a person makes you feel bad for that, they may not be willing to put in the work. Could it be that what you are expressing could reflect something they aren’t ready to address?

 

Romans 12:10 Amplified Bible (AMP)

10 Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor;