The other day, our team was sitting around marveling at all that God has taught us in relationships over the years. All of a sudden, it dawned on us that each one of us is in a different season regarding our relationships. From there, the idea of this blog post was born.
Let me explain: Stephy is our single gal (all the single ladies put your hands up!). Sadie is loving life with her boyfriend, Christian. Court is right in the middle of an engagement season with her fiancé, Taylor, and will be getting married in TWO short months! Lastly, Morgan married her husband, Ryan, just ONE short year ago.
All different seasons and experiences, yet on the SAME path to have a healthy relationship with God, ourselves, and our people.
We have collected questions that YOU have asked regarding relationships and have done our best to answer the top themes!
The hope is that you will relate to one or more of our experiences as you look at the season of life you are in and that it would bring you peace, hope, and clarity to know that God is holding you right where you are, whether that is single dating, engaged, or married.
Now let’s dive in!
1. Is there any way to know when you are ready to date? (Sadie)
This answer is coming from a humble place, because had I known this when I was 16, I would have saved people and myself from a lot of heartache. Looking back, I am truly sad to say that out of my brokenness, I would get into relationships because I “needed” something. Of course, at the time, I didn’t realize my impure motives. I never intentionally thought, going into a relationship, that I was trying to “get something” out of anyone, but I can see now that I was searching for something. I needed self-confidence, reassurance, affirmation, healing, someone to make me feel less lonely, someone to redeem the past. I went into every relationship needing something that only Jesus could give me. When it ended it left me feeling emptier than when I started. I think you are ready to date when you find contentment in Christ and don’t actually “need anything from anyone.” You have to realize that they cannot and will not give you what only Jesus can give you.
2. How do you know when it is the right relationship? (Morgan)
There have been times in my life (pre-marriage and pre-Ryan), that I wanted a relationship so badly that I settled, manipulated, and justified being with the wrong guys. After all, I believed the lie that “a guy is better than NO guy.”
THIS IS NOT TRUE! In those past relationships, I knew they didn’t make me better. It wasn’t until I met Ryan that I saw and experienced the blessings of being with the “right” man.
Disclaimer: When I say the “right” man, I am referring to the “right kind” of man. Stop living in fear that you’re not going to find the one, leaving you indefinitely single with a million cats and TV dinners every night. Look for the “one” who has the qualities of Jesus.
Here are the qualities to look for to know if you are in the right kind of relationship:
- Does he spend time with Jesus? Spending genuine time with Jesus will subsequently make you more like Jesus.
- Is he bearing good fruit? You will know someone’s relationship with Jesus by their fruit. Aka, how do they love people?
- Are you the one that fights for physical boundaries in the relationship or does he lead out in that way? This is so important because if someone respects you physically, it means they are seeing you through a Godly lens. It also means that they are marriage minded, trusting that God will provide those things when the time comes.
Lastly, are you being the type of woman that will attract a godly man and bring out the best in him? This is the key to preparing yourself for the right one.
“Seek first his kingdom and all these things will be added.” Matthew 6:33
If you read one of those qualities and know that your relationship isn’t a reflection of this, it’s time to be real with yourself and ask if this is the right relationship for you. Again, trust that God has the best for you as his daughter and you don’t need to settle for the wrong guy!
3. How can I be content without a relationship? (Steph)
I’ll be honest, this has not been easy for me at times. If you are reading this as a single person, I’d imagine it hasn’t been easy for you at times too.
Being content without a relationship is certainly a challenge! I’ve longed to be a wife and mom since I was a little girl – but my life has not played out in that way. At times, I have felt discontentment creep in and set up camp in my heart!
In these times, I have to remind myself that even if “Mr. Wonderful” came along tomorrow, that person would never fulfill the longing in my heart for TRUE contentment. Lasting joy and true fulfillment is found in knowing the love that only Jesus offers. Whether you’re looking for your husband, the right job, more money, “fill in the blank”, we (I) need to remember to always center our heart back to Jesus and treasure Him above all things.
I love Paul’s words in Phil 4:11-13 where he shares that He has discovered the “secret to being content”! The secret is knowing and treasuring Jesus as the greatest source of love and satisfaction!
I don’t want to diminish the reality that singleness is hard and it’s okay to admit it. I have a circle of close friends and there have been (many) times where I have cried to them, asked them to pray for me, and have gotten honest about the reality that singleness is at times, painful. Marriage is a Godly gift worth desiring and I believe God knows the pain this unfulfilled longing brings my heart some days. I do believe it is possible to feel that sadness yet still rejoice in knowing that we have already been made complete in Christ.
4. How do you know when it is the right relationship? (Court)
I used to get so frustrated when someone says, ‘when you know… you know.’ I’m like, but how will I actually know this is the right relationship for me? So, I started praying for God to show me WHAT the right relationship looked like. This was a game changer. Before I met the right person, God began to strip away some of my old “ideas” of the perfect guy and replacing them with the characteristics and elements that I needed to compliment me and help me be the best person He created me to be. Friends, I’m sitting here on the other side, engaged, and about to step into marriage. I can confidently say to you… you will know in your spirit and heart.
The moment I started dating Taylor (my fiancé) I felt and experienced these things…
I felt God’s overwhelming peace.
I felt so known.
I felt completely understood.
I felt so cared for.
My family adored him.
I felt challenged to live up to who God made me to be
I felt free to be 100 percent me. That I was enough.
I felt like I gained a teammate to run the race God set before us.
Before I met Taylor, I had never experienced anything like this. In the right relationship, there is no room for insecurity or fear. Of course, there have been moments where we challenged each other or had tough convos, but overall, God’s peace has reigned in our hearts. That’s how I knew he was right for me. And, today, the thing that most definitely binds us together is our faith and our commitment to never stop praying for each other and together. Let God be your #1 always.
5. What does it mean to be “equally yoked”? (Morgan)
For the longest time, when I heard this phrase growing up, I always thought for some reason the phrase was referring to two people whose eggs were equally cooked (equally “yolked”, haha).
It was only in the past few years that I learned the origin of the phrase and the significance of being yoked together with my husband.
The phrase comes from 2 Corinthians 6:14, which says: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
Paul, the writer of this letter, used the term “equally yoked” as an analogy that the culture of the time could understand. A “yoke” is a wooden instrument used to bind two oxen together so that they are able to evenly distribute the weight of the goods they are carrying. When one of the oxen cannot carry the same amount of weight, the pair is “unequally yoked” and cannot effectively complete the work required of them.
So when God tells us we need to be equal in our yoke (which here, our yoke is our faith), it is not to punish us, but to provide for us the partner that can allow us to flourish and fall more in love with Jesus through prayer, belief, and healthy partnership.
It is wise that you take caution and not fall in love with someone who is not chasing after Jesus like you are, for this will truly cause your heart pain and furthermore, cause separation from God.
6. Should you date someone who doesn’t share the same faith as you? (Court)
This is a tough one. The simple answer is no. I’ll share my story with the hope of giving more grace and understanding.
In college, I started dating this guy. He was sweet, kind, fun-loving and I knew he came from a “good family.” Meaning I knew that his family went to some type of church. I remember feeling so excited that I found a guy that kind of goes to church because most of the others I met could care less about what they believed. Most guys cared more about drinking and sleeping around vs. going to church on Sunday.
And, to be honest, my faith was questionable in college too. I knew truth, I knew Jesus, and I knew in my heart that He loved me. However, I was distracted by the college scene and my boyfriend. Can any of you relate?
It’s hard to date someone when you don’t even know where you stand in your own faith. So, for those reading, or in college, who don’t know what they believe or why they believe it, I encourage you to start there before you pursue dating.
Continuing on the story. I’ll spare you the details. Three years into dating this guy, I was still asking, “Is this the right guy?” While I was home from school that summer, Jesus totally captured my heart. I came back to school, feeling refreshed, convicted and hopeful that my boyfriend would join me in this new journey!
But we were on completely different pages. He was “supportive” and would come to church with me. But he was not “excited” to step into his faith. He was not willing to have tough conversations, and every time we did, he looked at me blankly like I was a different person (which I was… how cool is God?!). I prayed and believed that God would change his heart and He would use me to do that.
So, I continued in the relationship for a long time after, hoping that I could shine a light on who God is and why I believe. Maybe some of you are currently in relationships where you are trying to lead and love your person closer towards Jesus. That was me. Almost a year later, I finally knew that He was not right for me. I made every effort. I prayed for God to stir his heart. I prayed for God to confirm and deny whether I should continue dating him. God answered so clearly. So guess what? I broke up with him graciously and started spending my time in places with people who believed what I did and were just as passionate, if not more, about God.
Your faith is one of the greatest connections you can possibly have in dating and engagement. Hold tightly. It matters.
7. How do you know when it is the right relationship? (Sadie)
First off, I want to touch on how you can know you’re in a WRONG relationship. One good clue is to look at who you have become since dating that person. If you have lost your personality, your peace, your joy, your confidence, your purity and the desires inside of you, then it’s probably time to lose the relationship and find yourself again in Christ. The wrong relationship will produce the wrong fruit. If you have to change who you are, it’s not the right relationship.
The right relationship will produce the right fruit in you and through you. It will bless you, not take from you. Ask yourself questions like: “Since the beginning of this relationship, have I seen the fruit of Jesus in my life?” No one is going to be perfect, so don’t look for perfect, but you can be and should be HEALTHY!
The other thing is when you realize the one you are dating is really “the one”, it won’t be some magical moment with bells ringing and pixie dust falling from the sky and seven shooting stars flashing across the sky like a July 4thcelebration. You won’t get a “sign” written by the universe that he is the one. I think so many times we get caught up in looking for a sign. The looking causing us to miss the actual magic of how God brings two people together. How he creates one to complete the other. Stop looking for crazy signs around you and look in front of you. That way you can see that what you prayed for is standing right there. Look inside of you and realize who you have become by the power and blessing of partnering with who God has created.
8. What advice would you give to someone who’s never been in a relationship? (Steph)
Don’t sweat it and don’t allow your “lack of experience” to keep you from moving forward in a relationship in the future when the time is right! From one sister to another, there is nothing wrong with you if you haven’t been in a relationship – no matter what age you are. In your waiting, I encourage you to check in with yourself and make sure fear & insecurities are not creeping in and preventing you from meeting people! If so, ask the Lord to help you overcome these areas of your life and to prepare yourself for when the right person does come along!
We hope you’ve at least taken away one thing from these answers and it brings you peace in the season of relationship you’re in! Thanks for being people to ask such important questions!
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