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Defining Honour


The word 'honour' appears so many times in the bible, in many contexts. It appears in wedding vows. Yet, this popular word doesn't seem to translate to today's relationships often. Of all the relationships I've been in, only one honoured who I was. He was there for me when my baby (fluffly little dog) died, he was my best friend for years before that, and he never forced me to do things I didn't want. Although it didn't work out, I can't say he ever dishonoured me. We were friends for 2 years, dated online a year, lived together almost a year too. Even as he walked away, he didn't dishonour me. There was limited physical contact because I was grieving my dog dying from brain cancer, but he stood by me nonetheless.

Now I have time to be single and reflect on my experiences, I started to see a pattern. Honour and love aren't readily found in relationships together. Love is the feature we all look for -- and sex -- but do these really serve us? Would I rather someone who honours me, or someone who just has my attention? What part does honour play in trusting, serious relationships? Additionally, how have I honoured people I loved?

Firstly, I thought about what honour is, and how we display it:
- show respect, and never mislead, manipulate or deceive
- respect their rules, beliefs, wishes and needs
- accept their choices and don't attempt to railroad them into what you want
- give time and solid communication to problems you face
- protect them from harm, even if it means drawing boundaries around others
- commit to the person, even if you have to wait for special events. Especially important with COVID and religious or personal choices and timing
- be honest with them
- maintain self-control during difficult times

As I leave another relationship, I realise the person I was seeing couldn't honour me. They didn't know how. Their mentors and connections taught them to be deceptive, give ultimatems, bad communication, and an inability respect boundaries. There is no hatred for that; only disappointment. They openly acknowledge they have done these things, but have no intention of changing or attempting alternate methods. I believe self-control has a lot to do with it, and some people don't have it. This isn't someone you can be told to have, you have to earn it.

I made a spiritual choice that will challenge my own self-control, but I am willing and know that I will do whatever possible to achieve that. I'm over halfway there already. My ideals changed and I suddenly didn't want the uncontrolled choice I've been making, but a selfless, ascended choice that would help me grow as a person, and would honour the person I marry one day. Relationships are reciprocal and I felt I would be a better partner focusing on my more important skills: communication, affection, undivided attention, friendship, maintaining boundaries, showing respect, and accepting a person's choices. These are what bind two people together. These are the traits that keep couples from being separated in hard times. We need the FRIEND in boyfriend or girlfriend.

I reflect if I honoured the person I was with. Mostly, yes, but there is always room for improvement. I did draw boundaries around others to prevent drama derailing our alone time. I respected them, and never mislead, manipulated or deceived -- I told him everything even when he didn't like what I was saying. Every thought or belief I shared and I gave undivided attention when wanted. If he didn't like something I was choosing, we discussed it. The two times I wasn't compromising was when I could forsee his alternate ideas would be more hurtful in the future. (You can't always agree!) I was honest and showed great self-control when he placed me in situations that were hurtful, and I supported him when he attacked me because I didn't want contact with toxic people, telling him to spend time with them readily, but respect my wish for space from them. I also waited months between visits from him because I respected he wished to work in his field, and wasn't able to see me very often.

I think he felt I didn't honour him because when he wanted me to put aside my beliefs I couldn't. That wasn't meant to be dishonouring him, but honouring myself and our relationship. Most of the time I did what he wanted, but this was something that was very important to me. The other time he felt I dishonoured him was choosing to avoid his toxic people. Again, it felt important to me to protect myself, but I readily encouraged him to see them alone. If these are examples of dishonouring, then I have learnt my lesson, and I will not place myself in relationships where my beliefs are not respected or going to expose me to toxicity. Maybe in essence I dishonoured him by not cutting contact sooner, and walking away earlier? Maybe it's dishonourable to get into a relationship before knowing what you believe or want from them? I didn't mean aspects of myself to change -- they just did.

When talking about honour, we can easily draw conclusions of who was honourable and who wasn't, but of course there are always two sides. We have to focus on the intentions. My intentions were to do the right thing by both parties, whether that was understood or not. His intentions seemed to be to draw the life HE wanted, with the attributes he'd planned, despite what pain it caused. There is nothing wrong with this, but it is unrealistic in some situations. You can't have what you want if there are people around to derail every step towards it. It gets to a point you have to choose the dream or the person.

Maybe I'm talking to myself in that. I had certain things I wanted, and in the end I did have to choose the dream or the person. Many times I chose the person, but was disappointed. I tried to include the person in the dream, but they didn't want it. My choices were to give up my dream, or seek them alone. He admits to forcing my choice because he didn't want my dream. It hurts, but it's a valid response. I wasn't his dream.

What I've learnt:

1. Find your own suitors. Blind dates and set-ups don't work. You need to seek someone who gives you a spark.
2. Don't be desperate. Seek to meet people, measure them against what you really want, and be prepared to move on with grace.
3. Seek honour AND love in a relationship. Honour is as important as honesty.
4. Walk away as soon as dreams stop blending if both parties aren't open to compromise.
5. Don't rush into things, no matter the reason. Meet someone and learn to love them, but don't fall in love with them until you know what values and beliefs can align.
6. People change in relationships. Be open to it. If you can't, let them find someone who can.
7. Toxic people infect everyone. Be wary of those who seem unaffected, but have been immersed in toxicity.
8. Never let someone strip you of your dignity, happiness, passion or decision-making abilities.
9. Avoid people who make everything YOUR problem. It's a WE problem in relationships.

After 36 hours, and 8 buses in one day, I'm tired and uninspired. Friends circle me, and my faith warms me. The distractions of life transcend me into a busy professional rather than a heart-broken mermaid. When my mind does wander back to it, I'm overwhelmed that someone who seemed so close was actually so far from what I needed. A mask-wearer who sought to control me. Not again.

10. Don't trust people who shower you in gifts! (Conditions apply, but still be careful!)

This will be a week of slow progression, symbolism and spiritual fasting -- okay, being unable to eat from sorrow. But it has to get better. Last night an old friend called just to make me laugh. It was weird to hear myself laugh that much. It was appreciated. My soul smiled for the first time in weeks.

I realise how rich I am, with who God has placed in my life. I have someone to make me laugh when I need distraction. I have a mentor who will hold me while I sob. Another new friend who made similar choices and held out, who encourages me to take the risk of ascending to new understandings. I've got family who surround me and even in their imperfections are helpful. And I've shed toxic people from my life, so they cannot take away what progress I can make. Everyone who wished to tell me what to do is gone. Every moment of my day is mine to choose who I wish to honour, share with, or serve -- be that God, a friend, or myself.

I am reminded of a quote I saw recently:

"We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations." -- Chuck Swindoll.

I agree. Those awful, hurtful situations gave me opportunities to test things out, grow, and move forward with stronger ideals. That is the only reason I don't regret what happened. The only regret is that I couldn't bring the person I love with me.

All Things Must Come To An End
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