Building on our last time together, let’s examine how each aspect interacts and depends on the other three aspects in a compatible relationship.
The 4 Aspects of Life
Spirit. Mind. Soul. Body. God gave us all four aspects at the moment of conception. While still in our mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5; Job 31:15), they began shaping us. They form each person’s uniqueness. No two people are alike. Think about that! God made you specifically special! Only you can be you.
As we grow and mature, various internal and external factors shape and influence the spirit, mind, soul, and body.
Individual rate of development is also influenced by numerous factors. Genes. Society. Culture. Personality traits and types. Standards of upbringing. Home environment. Observed parental behavior. Values. Beliefs. Life circumstances. Personal choices. Putting them all together, these make us the unique individuals we are.
Our developmental progress produces one of two results. A diligent focus produces a well-rounded, interdependent maturity. However, complacency produces an immaturity where deficiencies negatively affect our entire being. Since these influencing factors are so complex, they emphasize the need to fully develop and balance all four aspects. And this needs to happen long before we start looking for a compatible partner.
A successful and fulfilling relationship requires maturity, balance, and interdependence within all four aspects. Any imbalance, overemphasis, or deficiency creates a distortion in life. Let’s start our discovery by looking at the need for balance.
Balance – The Bottom Line
By fanatically focusing on spiritual matters, you may become a stalwart person of faith. But you could become so “spiritual” that you can’t relate to other mere mortals. Spending the majority of time on intellectual pursuits may make you one of the world’s smartest people. But you may miss some incredible feelings and intimate connections. In addition, strictly pursuing emotional highs may be thrilling for a while. But it typically cycles to the dreaded emotional lows of mental depression and physical exhaustion. Finally, you may enjoy physical attractions and pleasures for the moment. But life is shallow without spiritual wisdom, intellectual discoveries, and emotional connections.
Sadly, many people do not seek balance in all four aspects. We normally stay in the comfort zones of familiar behavior. Or, we choose one aspect to the detriment of the others. However, improperly emphasizing one aspect generally leads to trouble. It can even result in strained relationships. Or, a sense of unfulfilled longing. The “settling” for lower expectations. Or the loss of the relationship altogether. Overwhelming physical attraction and emotional chemistry may lead two people to get married before truly getting to know each other. But they may find themselves unfulfilled and incompatible in the other aspects. They may prematurely fulfill the physical aspect. Then, they may regret settling for temporary passion instead of pursuing a wholesome relationship and fulfilling future.
Developing each aspect is important. Each aspect pulls information form the other aspects, Subsequently, all four need to be mature and in harmony with each other. By recognizing and pursuing such interdependence, you encourage maturity and balance in your life.
On top of that, each aspect has varying levels of depth or intensity. Spiritual levels vary from a nonchalant seeker to a world-renowned evangelist. Intellectual levels vary from an uneducated person to a scholar. Emotional levels vary from a detached loner to an intimate, affectionate lover. Physical levels vary from a realists with little outward expression to a passionate romantic.
These levels reveal and confirm individual uniqueness. They provide the opportunity to grow as well as the challenge to identify compatibilities with other people. The goal is to find someone with a level and intensity in each aspect that is compatible with your own. For this reason, don’t get swept up in the excitement of dating. Don’t just “listen to your heart.” Also engage your brain. Take the time to step back and discover how compatible you truly are.
God gave us all four aspects to fully explore, experience, express, and enjoy. We need all four to pursue the abundant life He intends for us to live (John 10:10). To do so, each aspect should be fully developed and matured. In the end, we should surrender them all to God for His purpose and blessing.
Applying the 4 Aspects to Dating
To measure the health of a potential relationship, answer these questions. “Will I be better off spiritually with this person in my life? Does she motivate me intellectually? What about emotionally and physically? If the person does not improve or complement you in all four aspects, she is probably not your compatible mate. But to figure that out, you need to ask the questions. Don’t simply rate the relationship potential by the “feel good” excitement of dating.
If you are in a relationship, these questions are equally important. “Is the relationship one of mutual benefit, growth, and fulfillment in all four aspects? Is it spiritually uplifting? Intellectually challenging? Emotionally fulfilling? Physically balanced?” This may be tough since you’re already dating. However, it is wise to step back and analyze the questions. And the sooner the better. The longer you wait, the tougher it will be.
If the answers are a resounding “Yes!” for both partners, the relationship sounds compatible. Just as Eve completed Adam, two people in a well-matched relationship are better off together than when they were apart.
Like 4 Tires on a Car
To help explain, consider the four aspects as four tires on a car. If one tire is out of balance or misaligned, the ride will be bumpy. Lack of proper attention and routine maintenance on any tire leads to damage and the risk of a blowout. Furthermore, imagine the car with one tire missing. Even if the remaining three tires are well balanced, aligned properly, and with proper air pressure, you’re still headed for a wreck.
Likewise, in a romantic relationship, the presence and compatible balance of all four aspects are required. True fulfillment in an interdependent relationship involves both people each having their four aspects fully developed. Then, mutually shared at compatible levels and intensity.
Consider each aspect separately. First, understand each one. Then, pursue full maturity and development in all four. After that, learn to accurately evaluate the aspects in other people. This helps identify the potential for compatibility with a prospective mate.
Most concepts are excerpted from Nate’s book, Matched 4 Life. Click here for Part 3 of this series