Mistake No. 7: Being Responsible for Someone Else’s Spiritual Development

Henry Cloud

I talk to women all the time who are disappointed with the spirituality of the guys they are dating. But they did not think about that in the beginning. They just got serious about someone and then found they were driving the spiritual train, having to nag him into keeping up.

Remember, if your spiritual life is important to you, then you are the one motivating that, not someone else, right? No one is making you care about your growth. In the same way, you have to find a guy who is self-motivated as well. If he is not, you are just going to get frustrated trying to get him to be different.

That does not mean you can’t expose him to your spiritual community, and things like that, and see if he wants to grow — that’s great. But to have to push someone is going to get old in the end. Get to know guys who are at the same level of motivation and growth that you are, and then you will have spiritual compatibility.

Reality Is Best

We know that women fantasize about relationships. That’s not all bad, for your fantasy comes from your deepest desires. And we know that it is God’s desire that your deepest desires are met. He even says that when they are not, it can make your heart sick: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (Proverbs 13:12, English Standard Version).

For dreams to become reality — and they can — they have to be rooted in real things that make them real. Get your dating life rooted in a deep relationship with God, deep relationships with friends who love you and give you feedback, deep and important values, and a fulfilling life of expressing your talents. As you are doing those things, you will be a grounded person who can find the kind of person who is like you and with whom your best fantasies can find themselves in the real world.

For other resources on dating and relationships check out “Desire: A Series for Women.”


Dr. Henry Cloud is a clinical psychologist and best-selling author or co-author of over eighteen books, including “How to Get a Date Worth Keeping” and “Boundaries in Dating.” He also conducts seminars across the country and co-hosts a radio program called “New Life Live.” He’s the president of Cloud-Townsend Resources.

© 2005 Betty Blake Churchill. All rights reserved. Adapted with permission from “Fantasy - An Insatiable Desire for a Satisfying Love” (Orlando, CruPress).

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