“We just don’t have that much in common.”
If you’ve said these words recently to end a promising relationship or you know someone who has, don’t worry. You’re not alone. The “Goldilocks syndrome” is a common problem in the information age.
Perhaps you or someone you know is looking for the perfect match before pursuing a relationship. Someone that’s not too this and not too that, but just right. This is what I call the Goldilocks syndrome, and it’s ruining promising relationships before they even begin.
Although the Goldilocks syndrome has been around for years, I blame online dating for making it a growing trend.
Your perfect match is just a click away … or so they say.
For me, online dating didn’t mean what it means today.
My wife and I started dating over Facebook while I was in Colorado and she was going to college in Pennsylvania. For date nights, we used to rent the same movie, cook the same meal and then video chat as we hit the “Play” button at the same time. It was an online date.
Today, online dating isn’t about how you date as much as it’s the process used to find someone to date.
Online dating has revolutionized how people search for their soulmate. You can know what kind of music someone listens to, what they do for fun, and how many calories they burned on their last workout before you even ask them out.
We’ve all seen the commercials for dating websites and apps that claim to have top-of-the-line algorithms that pinpoint “perfect matches” by pairing you with people who have similar interests and hobbies.
Essentially, these apps and sites promise you’ll find that “just right” person who loves what you love so you can live happily ever after.
And this certainly works for some people.
If you’re convinced that you need to find someone who shares your love for sushi, indie films, and roller derby to be happily married, though, let me persuade you of this: You don’t.
Opposites can attract.
The other night, my wife and I were talking about how little we had in common when we first started dating.
We were polar opposites. I enjoyed electronic dance music, and she preferred country. I preferred quiet days at home, and she enjoyed going out and having fun. I liked seafood, but it made her sick. She loved shopping for clothes, and I abhorred it.
As we continued talking about how our interests are better aligned today, something dawned on me. My interests haven’t really changed. Instead, a new one tops my list that changes everything.
My wife became my number one interest.
Over the last seven years we’ve been married, I’ve noticed her interests have grown on me. What makes her happy makes me happy, and vice versa. Everything she loves and values is important to me because I love her. Well, everything except for country music, of course.
How can this relationship ever work?
In Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul says that our marriages are reflections of Christ’s marriage with the church. I can’t imagine a dating couple who has more conflicting interests than the church and Christ.
When we first start “dating” Jesus, we don’t see how this relationship could ever work. He’s super holy and enjoys things like forgiveness and the golden rule. Whereas we’re always breaking the rules and can’t love much more than ourselves.
Over time, things improve, though. Our relationship with Jesus starts to change us so that we love what He loves. Our love for Him and His love for us completely transforms what we find lovely in the world around us.
I was shocked to find that same effect taking place in my marriage. My love for my wife is conforming and realigning my interests to complement what she enjoys and what makes her happy.
So, if you have a friend who’s looking for someone that is “just right” before beginning a serious relationship, encourage that friend to broaden his or her horizons.
Or maybe it’s you who won’t start dating someone unless their interests overlap with yours to the point where you’re practically dating yourself in the opposite sex.
God’s designed marriage in such a way that opposites can attract, and it still works. So, don’t worry about your conflicting interests, but rather look forward to learning to love and enjoy new hobbies and experiences.
Because when you love someone, you learn to love what that person loves.