“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
~1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I’ve always been a believer in dating for marriage. Because what’s the point of dating with the goal of dating… The only reason to date is to find that true love you want to nurture forever – ordained by God to honor one another for the rest of your days… Marriage! If marital bliss is your goal, great! Now, here’s the thing no one will tell you… Marriage isn’t about your happiness & it’s actually not about you at all…
Our culture says, “I shouldn’t be with someone if I’m not happy.” This reflection of the self-centered society we live in, everyone believing their main goal in life is their own personal happiness, is a small and shallow way to live. Sure, it’s important to have your SO make you happy, but if the happy fades, will you run or weather the storm?
If you’re getting married with your own happiness as your main goal, you will be disappointed in a severe way. Marriage is not about your happiness, it’s not even about you. It’s about love—which is something we choose to give time and time again. It’s about sacrifice, serving, giving, forgiving—and then doing it all over again.
I’ll never forget something my worship pastor’s wife once told me about love & how they remain giddy for each other after 4 kids… She said, “Sometimes I don’t even like him… But I continue to chose him – just like God chose me.”
No wonder we choose divorce over commitment. Because often, we’re choosing “personal happiness” over real commitment, over real love.
A relationship must be treated like a living organism – nurtured, adored, affirmed, cared for. In learning our ways around each other’s hearts, recognize that God simply MUST come first. He is the only way because He IS LOVE Himself. Here are some of the values to keep in mind.
AFFECTION & ROMANCE
Affection is love shown. You can always tell when one person loves another; they can’t help but in one way or another show it through body language, gestures, words. It’s loves very nature to express itself.
Men are physical creatures (and women can be, too! No shame in that!) Purity is vital not only before marriage to keep yourself for the man who will one day become one with you – but also AFTER marriage. YES. After marriage, purity doesn’t stop. Think about it…
The three pillars of relationships are emotional, spiritual and physical. If one of those things becomes too strong, the relationship greatly suffers and may not last. If one of you is lusting after the other, then something has gone too far. LUST IS NOT LOVE. Set boundaries and honor God by honoring each other. How will you show honor once your person is your spouse if your foundation has poisonous lust?
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” ~1 John 2:16
The gleam in their eyes when they look at one another. In the readiness with which they laugh at each other’s jokes. The supportive tones in which they speak.
There’s no mistaking respect for any other personal quality, because no other quality looks and acts the same way. Respect is crucial to relational health. But you can’t respect others unless you respect yourself because the degree to which you don’t respect yourself is the degree to which you will be unable to transmit to anyone else something as pure and steady as respect.
You respect yourself not in your own power, but by asking God that He will let you see yourself the way He sees you. Fearfully and wonderfully made, His glorious inheritance, the one He died for.
Too many people will let this one slide… BIG mistake. Some people enter into a relationship with night & day different religions or core beliefs… In my opinion, that’s wrong. God tells us to be equally yoked.
But whatever it is, find it, claim it—and then start to build your relationship upon it. Maybe it’s a goal you both share. Maybe it’s your passion or dream. Maybe (hopefully) it’s God. Enter each other’s space and talk about everything – if this person is your dream, then help them achieve theirs! Your thoughts, feelings, joys, fears, hopes, disappointments, and so on. Pray together, work together, laugh together, cry together… Remember this is about becoming someone else’s and no longer putting yourself first, so you better know how to be there for them!
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” ~2 Corinthians 6:14
I suppose if there was one quality I would wish defined every relationship in the world, it would be honesty. If two people are honest with each other, there’s longevity & security. Hard and difficult passages come to everybody, but it’s those who are honest with themselves and their loved one who always weather them best.
Have you ever been in a relationship in which you can tell the other person isn’t being completely honest with you? There’s hardly anything else you can discover about your spouse, child, friend, or parent that hurts more than that they’re lying to you.
Dishonesty is poison in a relationship. That’s because lies never really go away. If you lie, you always know you lied—and that becomes a reality that does nothing but corrode everything it touches. As you hide the lie in your heart, it corrodes everything your heart touches—which means it corrodes everything in your life.
Be honest in everything you do, and insist on honesty from anyone with whom you share a relationship. This cannot be compromised or worked around. Honesty is to a relationship what mortar is to a brick house; without it, you simply can’t build. With it? The sky’s the limit.
Trust is an assurance of love. The people I trust in my life are the people I know love me.
It’s important to know that for someone to have my absolute and unswerving trust I have to know that they really love me. They can’t just like me. They can’t just be pretty fond of me. They can’t just think I look good in a particular suit or spoke well at a particular conference. No. They have to love me. Deeply. Sincerely. Honestly. Truly.
If you’re in a relationship with someone whom you should trust but don’t, think about why it is you perceive that person doesn’t love you. Have you done something to make it so they can’t? Has there been some misunderstanding that has reasonably led them not to love? Talk with them about it. Tell them you want to be close to them—that you want to share a real and solid love, so that your relationship can be everything that, at heart, you both want it to be.
Grow love. Trust will follow.
If you’re in a relationship where you don’t feel free to be and explore every possible dimension of yourself, stop and question why. Is it because you aren’t comfortable fully exploring yourself, or is it because you feel the other person would not be comfortable with you being yourself. If it’s the former, trust that God will always love and support you—especially if you’re seeking to make more of yourself or to more creatively or fully express yourself. If the reason you hesitate to be free expressing and being yourself is that you sense doing so would in some way upset the person with whom you’re in relationship, talk to that person about it. Share with them.
Chances are, you’ll be surprised by how open the person is to your being open with them. Sharing your uniqueness is one of the best ways to show that person how much you care about and trust them. It’s a very tangible way of putting your love into action.
Don’t be afraid to be you. And invite the people in your life to be the persons God created them to be.
“Am I willing to sacrifice for them?”
“Am I willing to forgive them & love them unconditionally despite their mistakes?
“Am I willing to put them before myself?”
THEN we can go pick out a super awesome ring
How would you answer these questions with your S.O.? And if you’re still waiting on God to bring him to you, what is something you’re praying for in your future man?
Relevant Magazine did a really great piece that portions of this piece are inspired by.