Relationships can be scary. From the initial fear of whether he actually likes you, to the question of what to do when he does like you, I have often felt the confusion brought on by these uncharted waters. However, God has been with me every step, and he has taught me so much in the last 5 months. Here are my top 5 favorite things I’ve learned.
Boyfriends can’t “fix” you… only God can
There’s a common misconception that the empty places of your heart can be healed by a boyfriend. Women often believe and encourage each other to believe these lies:
If I just got a boyfriend I would finally feel beautiful.
If someone would pursue me, I would know I’m worthy.
Once I start dating, I won’t be insecure anymore.
However, relationships can’t “fix” us. While my boyfriend is an amazing man, he is incapable of healing my heart. He can help me, encourage me, and point me to Jesus, but during my time in a relationship, I have not once felt I have suddenly “arrived.” My struggles with perfection still persist, and it’s only when I approach God’s throne of grace that I am set free to live without insecurity.
You will make mistakes, and so will he
We are broken and we live in a fallen world. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23). You can’t expect to find someone who is never going to mess up. Treat your boyfriend with grace, and you’ll need grace from him too. Our pursuit in relationships is not a pursuit of a perfect person, but rather, of two imperfect people pursuing a perfect God.
Seek clarity, not intimacy
I read this advice on a blog (desiringgod.org) and it radically changed the way I communicate in my relationship. Seeking clarity means finding out what he values and wants, so that you know if you are compatible. Seeking intimacy means opening your heart in a vulnerable way. That’s not to say intimacy is bad, but it can wait. In order to guard our hearts, we should save intimate information, like fears and insecurities, for later on. Without clarity, we can jump into a relationship with someone who ultimately doesn’t want what we want. With too much intimacy, we give our heart to someone who cannot yet promise to cherish it.
You don’t need to worry so much
As God’s daughter, you have the right to be “clothed in strength and dignity” so that you can “laugh without fear of the future” (Proverbs 31:25). But it’s a choice. One that requires trust in God’s plan. If you’re anything like me, you overthink everything. Little things, like getting a text (or worse..not getting a text), become a big deal. My anxious heart has a hard time not worrying that I am constantly on the brink of ruining the relationship. However, I have learned in those moments to choose the strength that God makes available to me. I will not live an undignified life ruled by fear. Instead, I choose to trust in God’s plan and live with joy and laughter, knowing that ultimately “God is able to do whatever he promises” (Romans 4:21). The Message version of Matthew 6:34 has been one of my staple verses for whenever I start to worry (which is a lot): Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.-Matthew 6:34
God is still better
As amazing as dating is, I don’t want any single women out there thinking they have the short end of the stick. God’s love still brings me more joy, peace, and hope than my boyfriend. My happiest place is in the arms of my Father, and all women have the same access to this love. Don’t let the enemy deceive you into thinking any man can compete with God’s love. God is better, always. “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
This week on the blog we are talking about different stages of relationships. Read more by clicking the links below:
A Letter to Single Women
11 Things I've Learned in 11 Years of Marriage
Read even more on relationships here!