Love is so beautiful. I have a special admiration for it especially when it’s Christ centered. But, not only does the relationship have to be Christ centered, you have to know yourself. Many people confuse knowing themselves as knowing their interests, moods, likes and dislikes. The knowing of oneself I am referring to is asking yourself questions and a constant state of self examination. What does this have to do with relationships?
For the sake of time, I was in a ‘very serious’ relationship from the age of 17-25—a very important and pivotal age range and molding process for a person. It is in our twenties that we really learn who we are, but we never do that when we identify ourselves in another person. Over the course of the relationship, we were best friends (and still are great friends), we broke up several times, got back together several times, you know—the normal relationship b.s. To paint a picture of my ex, he was/is a really great guy—the type A prototype, super intelligent, family oriented, faith driven, very social and extroverted, ambitious, and at times, chauvinistic and butt-holish (I say that lovingly and jokingly). I was not the complete opposite, but where he was social—I definitely was not. I was very passive aggressive and sarcastic. Our best pulled out each other’s best, but our worst— it caused a lot of problems.
I wasn’t necessarily a follower, but my drum cadence was a little off. I was really introverted, more so then than I am now. I purposely shied away from confrontations and people, and those whom I didn’t, I identified myself in them. I’ve always had a small circle of friends, but it was him whom I revolved myself around and identified myself. I wanted so much time that it turned into jealousy when I didn’t get it—rage in a few cases, some instances justified, others, a little theatrical. Add to that our personal issues and struggles that were magnified in the relationship. We were dating according to the way everyone else dated. (It’s been my experience and opinion that living and dating according to the world’s standards will not last, especially in a marriage. Now, if your personal beliefs don’t align with mines, I’m not talking to you. If you call yourself a Christian and are conforming to live your life in a worldly fashion—it will not work. I learned that professionally and personally.)
Romans 12:2– “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Over the years, we’d naturally uncovered some things about one another—some dark things that had been suppressed for years. And for years I’d been identifying myself with a person and I didn’t know who I was. (If your wondering, my daddy was and is present—I’m a daddy’s girl. I do not have daddy issues (lol) and was not looking for love in the wrong places.) I was seeking love and adoration from my ‘partner’ whom I wasn’t receiving it from in the way I wanted or needed. People will never give more than their capable of giving, you must give based on their level to receive. In this case, I was longing for a marriage because of the time we’d already spent with each other. Time should not be an identifier for marriage. Although we never lived together or had children, I was building a mental marriage out of a ‘want’ in my mind. When we allow this to happen, the separation is never good; we need to be led into marriage. In my story, after it ended permanently for the final time—it left both of us broken. I won’t speak for him, but for me as a woman in my mid twenties ending an eight year relationship was devastating. Although I don’t have the experience of a ‘judicial and legal’ divorce, my fairytale ended prematurely, but the marriage I created in my mind had ended. I sobbed for many days and nights and it went on for months. I felt worthless. I mean after all, he was a good guy, “all my hard work’’ (the work us women pour into these men), we’d molded each other, but what didn’t happen was I never allowed God mold the relationship or his work in me.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 MSG– “Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”
There were several instances in our relationship where we were told (spiritually) to end things, but out of complacency and comfort, we didn’t. You may ask, I thought you grew up in the church—well I did! BUT, like a lot of Christians, most in denial or just ignorant of the truth, I didn’t really know God. He was just there. What literally got me through the period after the final break up (which was not on good terms) was living in church, reading the Word day and night, talking with God, and even some professional (Christian) counseling. When I started to build that relationship with God, He renovated me from the inside out. I saw how empty and angry I was. I had misplaced anger towards God. I blamed God for my relationship ending—“Why, God, would you let all this time pass and we’re not married?!” He responded: 1. I was not ready to be ANYBODY’s wife, 2. You put your relationship before ME, and 3. I’m going to show you the woman you are by allowing Me in your life. During this time (over a year), I didn’t entertain men. To help myself be strict and forceful about maintain my relationship with Him, I didn’t communicate with a lot of people—it was really my first period of a sanctification process.
Ephesians 4:22-24 NLT–“throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”
Colossians 3:9-10 GW– “Don’t lie to each other. You’ve gotten rid of the person you used to be and the life you used to live, 10 and you’ve become a new person. This new person is continually renewed in knowledge to be like its Creator.”
So, where am I now? Still forging and maintaining the most important relationship I can have with anyone—my Father. I know who I am (and whose). Cockiness turned into confidence. I’m more patient and tolerant. I think and question why I’m angry, offended or feel a certain way about people or a situation. Once I use “personal six sigma” to evaluate myself, I’m able to not be easily offended, and most importantly not harbor unforgiveness. I’ve learned biblically how to treat my future husband and how I should be treated. The most important thing I got out of the relationship building with Father God was that He wants to be in our relationships, but most importantly to be in the center of our singleness. If we can allow Him to shower us with His love, then we will know how to truly love ourselves and to properly receive love from others.
What I want you to get—
- Marriage (or any relationship institution) is not a cure for loneliness. Relationships magnify underlying issues that you are blind too. Don’t rush or look or long for it until you’ve truly got yourself together.
- Singleness is a state of mind. PLEASE don’t confuse that with living a (sinful) single (worldly) lifestyle. Singleness is knowing yourself and the value you bring—DISCOVER YOURSELF and WORTH. Don’t focus on finding the one; focus on preparing to be the one.
- Its 2015, celibacy is real and a very attainable Place your salvation over your flesh. Soul ties ARE REAL! (*If you want tips and have more questions, please email me and I’d be HAPPY to share how I obtained this peace of mind and body)
- Be a whole person. You don’t need anyone to complete you EXCEPT Jesus! Plus, you don’t want to give someone half a person, and you sure don’t want half a man, sis.
- Have patience—this is a DAILY
- Try courting, not dating. Dating is a selection process through a feel good approach and allows the practicing of many. Courting is choosing God’s best based on Christ likeness and suitability and is Christ centered. Courting is also transparency, a forgiving lifestyle, patience, sacrifice, and preparation. Dating protects you, while courting fights for both.
- Last, but by no means least, Jesus must be at the center. Non-negotiable.
Once #7 happens, you’re in the clear and the others will come more easily. If you are courting or even dating (whatever keeps your boat floating, but not lost at sea), know each other’s Love Language, meditate on the word, pray, and check out this message by Toure’ Roberts. It’s a simple checklist on identifying your one and to avoid what I (or he) went through. If you’re in a period of waiting, I do believe that if God separates the two of you, He will bring you back together when you’re ready.
Psalm 37:4-5 TLB– “4 Be delighted with the Lord. Then he will give you all your heart’s desires.5 Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him to help you do it, and he will.”
*Paul said to the people of Corinth that “I’m providing my best counsel if you should choose it”.