Monday, April 7, 2014

Maturity and Immaturity in Relationships

Today is Monday, April 7, 2014.

Recently I read a list of points to look for when you want to know whether you're dating a "boy" or a "man."  The idea was to figure out whether the person you are dating is emotionally mature or not.  Apparently, this is a hot topic in Christian circles right now.  I wondered why I couldn't find any articles about dating a "girl" versus a "woman," but then I realized that most of these articles were written by and for conservative Christians, who also subscribe to the cultural value of male dominance.  To them, it's more important for the male to be mature.  Apparently, a little immaturity in females is tolerated.

I decided to take one list written by Jarrid Wilson and adapt it to both men and women, to see what, if anything, needed to be changed. (Click on the link to see his original list.) Here are my results.  Conservative Christians and other traditionalists may wish to pay attention to item number five.

By the way, for today's photos, I realized that it's impossible to adequately picture "maturity" but images of immaturity abound.  I tried to find images depicting immaturity in both the man and the woman, lest someone say that I am accusing only one sex of being immature.

1.  A mature person will admit and take responsibility for his or her mistakes.  An immature person will make excuses.

2.  A mature person will never violate the other person's space, physically, emotionally, mentally or psychically.  This means, among other things, that the mature person will respect the other person's wish not to have sex.  An immature person will allow sexual desires to take control.

3.  A mature person will never violate the other person's space, physically, emotionally, mentally or psychically.  This means, among other things, that the mature person will respect the other person's opinions, values and beliefs without trying to change them.  An immature person will demand that the other person think the same way because it is more comfortable.

4.  A mature person will offer respect and support no matter what the circumstances, whether the other person can reciprocate or not.  An immature person will offer respect and support only if he or she can get something in return.

5.  A mature person will pull his or her own weight in a relationship.  In a marriage, this includes financial matters, housekeeping duties, childcare duties, and social duties.  It also includes doing whatever it takes to keep the relationship moving and growing.  An immature person will expect the other person to provide all the financial support, do all the housework, take care of the kids, or pay attention to birthdays, anniversaries, or making social engagements.  An immature person will expect the other person to make most of the romantic gestures or sexual advances. An immature person will expect the other person to give in when there is a difference of opinion.

6.  A mature person knows that what he or she does in the present moment will affect his or her future circumstances.  An immature person does whatever he or she wants in the moment without thinking about future consequences.

7.  A mature person will respect the other person's family and friends.  A mature person will value the good opinion of the partner's family and friends and make an effort to get along with them.  An immature person is only interested in being popular, but not necessarily in gaining anyone's respect or making any effort to get along with others. 

8.  A mature person's actions are in line with his or her stated beliefs.  This is true whether or not the person's beliefs or actions are popular with others. An immature person's actions are not always in line with his or her stated beliefs.  An immature person may try to act as if he or she agrees with another person simply to get in that person's good graces.

9.  A mature person respects and entertains others' beliefs. Respecting others' beliefs means recognizing that they have a right to hold different beliefs than yourself.  Entertaining others' beliefs simply means allowing them to say what they believe without automatically trying to change them or argue them out of their ideas.  An immature person does not like to hear others' beliefs and rejects different beliefs out of hand, without consideration.

10. A mature person is willing to give others the benefit of the doubt and is open to making some changes based on new information. A mature person is willing to learn. An immature person doggedly insists that he or she is right, even when the situation changes.  An immature person thinks he or she knows everything and has nothing new to learn.  An immature person is unwilling to be challenged by new ideas.

11. A mature person does all he or she has agreed to do.  An immature person makes promises that he or she cannot keep.  Sometimes an immature person makes promises that he or she has no intention of keeping.  

12. A mature person looks beyond physical beauty or a big bank account when considering other people as a potential partner.  An immature person is looking for eye candy or someone to finance their lifestyle.

13. A mature person is interested in the wellbeing of the other person and is willing to put his or her own wants and needs on the back burner occasionally to assist the partner.  An immature person is interested only in himself or herself, and puts his or her own needs above that of others.

14. A mature person knows when and how to get his or her needs met.  An immature person thinks he or she has to give in to the other all the time so that the other person will not leave. 

15.  A mature person is willing to consider making a formal, public commitment to the relationship.  An immature person is unable to make a commitment because he or she values personal freedom over the wellbeing of the beloved. In other words, the focus is on self, not the other person.

16. A mature person knows that a relationship is only viable if both partners are growing.  If the relationship does not serve the needs of one or both partners, the mature person will let the other go gracefully, without the need to make the other person "wrong."  When separating from another person, the mature person will wish the other well and refrain from saying or doing things against the other out of spite.  An immature person hangs onto relationships even though staying together is hurting both partners.  An immature person is afraid to let the other person go because he or she fears having to stand up for himself or herself.  An immature person is willing to sacrifice the other person's right to grow on the altar of his or her own fear of being alone.

17. A mature person knows that, in spite of human imperfections, he or she is OK, whether or not he or she is in a relationship.  An immature person thinks that he or she is not OK without someone else to be in a relationship with.

18. A mature person knows relationships are a perfect opportunity to learn and grow as a human being.  A mature person expects to undergo some positive changes in himself or herself as a result of the relationship.  An immature person thinks relationships are all about fulfilling his or her own needs and solving his or her problems.

Of course, the foregoing is my own opinion.  Your mileage may vary. :-)

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