Have you ever paid much attention to the protective plastic film placed on a new product? Items like kitchen stainless steel and technology equipment such as your iPhone will have a thin clear peel off piece of plastic protecting the surface. The film is placed to protect the product until the consumer takes possession ensuring the integrity of the product is kept. Generally there are instructions that read something like “Remove Protective Film Before Using.”

I am not sure if you are like me but I have a tendency to want to keep the plastic on these products. I have left it on my computer and other items as long as I possibly can because it makes me feel like I am keeping my purchase new. No matter what though, eventually dirt gets up under the film, the edges roll back and it starts to look pretty cruddy. When this begins to happen I am forced to remove the film and expose my product to the elements of daily activity.

Relationships come with a protective film and like me with my latest toy, many people want to keep it on as long as possible. The film on relationships is harder to see, but it is there. It is the protection people put up to keep others to from seeing who they really are.

Now let me say, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a certain amount of protective film. No one should meet someone new and start pulling out all of his or her dirty laundry. I have met those who do that and most of them are still single. The whole idea behind dating is to learn about someone; it is a slow process of unpacking who two people are over time and as trust is built up.

The problem comes when people do not recognize the protective layer that is on the person he or she might be involved with. Some will jump feet first into a relationship way too fast, others are disappointed down the road when they find the person they met wasn’t who they thought they were or things ends up going bad because the protection was never removed and eventually the dirt is exposed.

Want to remove the relational film? Here are a few tips that should help remove the film while keeping a good relationship in place.

Go Slow

I can’t tell you how many times I have spoken to people who jump too soon into a relationship. A couple will meet each other and click. Like a couple of high school kids they can’t seem to get enough of each other. Talking on the phone all day and night, every waking moment doing activities together and then suddenly there is a strong urge to get married after just a few months of a relationship! Why?!


The first year of dating is totally protected. Sure, some relationships may differ on the speed in which things progress; however it takes about a year before the real person begins to come out. The warm & fuzzy has to wear off which is generally about the year mark of a couple regularly seeing each other. Generally the people I have encountered who move too quick try to keep that silly high school relationship throughout their marriage and it is ridiculous to watch. They seem to want to put on a front around others that their marriage is picture perfect, just like the first day they met. I might believe this, but I have seen too many divorces of the same people and have coached spouses who are absolutely miserable trying to keep up the charade their spouse is insistent on keeping up.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not talking about a relationship becoming dull or boring. Marriage can be fresh and exciting through all of the years. What I am talking about is a superficial relationship that tries to portray there is never a cross word, and that everyone always gets along agreeing on everything. I had a preacher who once said of a married couple, “If you haven’t argued, one of you is useless!”

When a relationship is put on fast forward the couple is taking huge risk because they are operating without removing the protective film

Be Honest

Be honest about who you are. If you don’t like country music then don’t pretend you do. Hate the opera; then don’t go when you are dating. There is nothing wrong with having different likes and or dislikes in a relationship. Hiding these important aspects of who you are is robbing the relationship of its possibilities. Relationship 101 tells us opposites attract and those differences are what make a successful life together.

What You See is What You Get

Too often there is a thought that the other person will change one day or that they can be changed. A person will keep driving into the relationship, ignoring the warning signs. If someone has something (whatever something might be) that you don’t care for just imagine it being a hundred times more over time. The only thing we can change is ourselves; don’t fool yourself into believing anything else. What you see is indeed what you are getting.

Don’t Dump

When we talk about being honest, that is not a ticket to dump your entire life garbage on someone…unless you want to run him or her off. Remember, we are talking about taking a year to get to know one another. There is no need to vomit every relational failure you have had or empty your entire life’s story on someone out of the starting blocks.  You have to crawl, walk and then run. It might be good to find out what kind of music they like or sports teams before you dive into your expectations of your date as a parent if you have children together!  

Be Realistic

Do not have unrealistic expectations in relationships. Watching Hollywood movies and Soap Operas often skews our perspective on the way life should be. No one is perfect so quit trying to look for Mr. or Ms. Perfect; they are not there. I have had several friends who are no longer married because of this. The wife or the husband’s expectations were not a realistic picture; not even the Cleavers could live up to their standards. Everyone has pimples, bad breath and gas. In fact, imagine that pretty little thing next to you sitting on the toilet with stuff coming out of both ends, hair matted up and screaming in between dry heaves that she tried to tell you something was wrong with the food at the restaurant you chose. Not  a pretty picture, but realistic!


Finding the right person to share your life with is nearly the most important decision that you will make in life outside your spiritual path. This decision is nothing to take lightly which unfortunately too many do today. Take it slow, discover who the other person is, let them learn about you. Why rush? If it is meant to be then enjoy every step of the journey. Remember…in every relationship you encounter, “Remove The Protective Film First!

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