Many people today have a list, either in their mind or an actual, written list, of qualities that they want in a partner. While there is nothing wrong with knowing what you want and what you are looking for in a companion, the problem is that few people have a similar list concerning themselves and the qualities that they can work on to be a good partner for someone else.
This sort of selfishness manifests itself in many other areas of modern love. Romantic partners are increasingly being seen as perks and accessories to bolster our self-worth and look good by our sides. Relationships are thrown away when our partner does something to upset or anger us even if we would have forgiven ourselves the same transgression.
Society has become increasingly pervaded by this selfish mindset, and so it is no wonder that many relationships crumble at the first sign of trouble. “For where you have envy and selfish ambition,” we read in a highly insightful Bible verse from James 3:16, “there you find disorder and every evil practice.” When people seek to use each other for their own ends and for their own pleasure, then they are highly unlikely to build a solid base for a healthy, fulfilling, and lasting relationship.
To find someone with whom you can build a healthy, fulfilling, and lasting relationship with you are going to need to take a look at yourself first. Identify your own selfish wants and desires and try to rise above them. Ask God for guidance and seek spiritual encouragement and strength in Biblical quotes and verses. The Bible has a lot of say on the subject of selfishness and love. For example, in Philippians 2:3-4 we read:
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Seek to embody the characteristics that you would look for in a partner and you’ll learn to recognize these qualities in others. You’ll become better at discerning whether someone is interested in you because of their own selfish reasons, or because they truly want to add to your life the same way you want to add to theirs. Remember that being selfless doesn’t mean you should let a potential partner get away with being selfish. You deserve someone who is focusing on improving themselves just as much as you are.
When both partners in a relationship are seeking the good of the other over and above their own selfish desires, then, and only then, do they have a shot at making the relationship last. A true partnership is about two people asking what they can do for each other. It is about knowing that you deserve someone who will try their best for you, and about recognizing that they deserve to have you try your best for them.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)