The Kind of Partner You Don’t Want

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. – Proverbs 21:9 To put things simply: You don’t want an ENTITLED partner. An entitled partner will never really be grateful for the things you do for her, yet she’ll be quick to spot what you don’t do. Maybe she’ll tell you, maybe she won’t, but she’ll spot it in her heart. Now someone who is never really grateful and is quick to spot your failures will never appreciate you. To be appreciated and respected is something everyone wants. An entitled partner will never be able to meet your different needs because the attention will always make its way back to her. Everyone has needs, and the beauty of relationships is that the people in it support each other and serve each other. Entitled people always put their needs, their wants, their situation first. Guess where your needs, wants, and situation end up? An entitled partner will not grow. Why should he? It’s never his fault. There’s nothing to grow out of. An entitled partner stores up ammo for the future, and it will come up on the most opportune times. He or she will turn your mistakes into bricks and use it to build a wall. We end up with what we build. If we build walls then don’t be surprised if we find ourselves separated. When I hear stories of wives pitching in to help their husbands during periods of crisis and digging deep to do what’s necessary without entitlements, I am always moved. I remember, many years ago, reading the story of a husband get removed from his job, and how, instead of worrying or berating him, his wife pulled out savings she had put together on her own and told him, “I’ve been saving this for this time. It’s time for you to write that novel you’ve always wanted.” Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I think it’s really more seeing someone go beyond her role to love. I remember looking at my relationship at the time and thinking, “She would never do that for me.” And I knew it was time to move on. One of the serious drawbacks of a more empowered people comes when these people don’t understand the concept of social contracts. When people are empowered to think they’re awesome but not taught how to be awesome for others, we end up with entitled people. We end up with people who abuse freedom, who think they’re entitled to do whatever they want, when they want how they want, why they want, with whom they want. We end up with a million opinions and too little action. We end up with churches who think they can bully truth into others instead of reaching out and serving like Christ did. We end up with rich people who won’t give and poor people who won’t work. We end up with boys who think they can sleep with anyone. We end up with girls who think they’re empowered by being bitchy. We end up with bosses who won’t develop and subordinates who won’t grow. We end up with parents who don’t lead and kids who don’t follow. We end up with expectations that no one will ever fulfill. Yet, when I see a different story, like the lady who saved for her husband’s dream, like the story of old couples who continually serve, like how I see my grandmother be a true companion to my grandfather, stories of people who have surrendered what they could have and maybe even should have, for the sake of someone else, I’m moved. Men have been obviously entitled for decades but its seen in women too. One common line I hear many girls say is this, “Where are the good men? Why are there no more great men for me?” My answer to them is always the same, “They’re staying away from you.” I don’t say that to be mean but from a very logical thought process. Here it is: If I was a great guy, I probably became a great guy by developing myself through discipline, hard work, study and learning, surrounding myself with the right people, and applying myself to the difficult challenges of not merely making money but making a difference. Now if I were that kind of guy, I would  not be attracted to someone who has the entitlement to say, “Why are there no good men for me?” Entitlement ruins many things. Entitlement is simply thinking we deserve something and is most obvious by how we respond when we don’t get it. Many times, when we respond in anger, hurt, or complaining when we don’t get something, we are exhibiting entitlement. Entitlement always comes up with me. It’s something I always have to fight. It starts with unmet expectations that grow into resentment and bitterness, and it chokes the beauty of things because when we get something we’re not as grateful as we should be because we’re “entitled” to it or we deserve it, and if we don’t get it, we think like we’ve been treated unfairly, because, again, we’re “entitled” to it. I find that the only way I can defeat entitlement in my own life is to think less about me and more about others. It’s a very simple decision to put other first and to think of the benefit of others first. There’s really no other way. To stop thinking so much about what others bring to me but to be passionate about giving my best to them. It will become incredibly obvious who the people are who offer amazing things and it will be just as obvious when others don’t offer much.  If you’re not sure whether you’re offering something amazing then the simple answer is you’re not. It’s not complicated to be amazing for others. The first step is to think of others more than yourself. I find that some of the most selfless people I know are not the most flattering or funnest to be with. They are sometimes wrapped in rough edges and tactless remarks but their actions speak volumes. Many times the most selfish people I know are those who seem friendliest and most sociable – but actually give little thought to how things affect others as long as they get to do what they want. Again, I see this in myself, so must look out the window again and look out the window more.