Alright, so for about the last couple of months, I have been going through the book of Proverbs and learning all about wisdom and knowledge and humility. Not only that, but some friends of mine have also been meeting once a week in our co-ed small group to talk about our relationships with God, our friends and family, and significant others. This past weekend was definitely the best discussion we’ve had thus far, though. And we got deep. We talked about different seasons that we go through in life, which included seasons of singleness, finding our mates, healthy dating, and sex. And best believe I took an abundance of notes…
The first thing we discussed was being single and how to maximize our singleness for God. I know some of my friends that have honestly never been single a day in their lives. They have always looked to finding who they are, their identity in the other guys or girls that they were dating at the time, and I never wanted to be that way. Being single is not a bad thing! In fact, there is a lot of good that comes from being single and what you do during that time is critical in preparing yourself for your future spouse. We have to take advantage of every opportunity to maximize our singleness for God by diving into His Word and fully living out our faith for Him. To allow God to be more than enough in our lives, because if we never find joy in Him first, then we’re never going to find joy in someone else either. We might find happiness for awhile, but that’s always temporary. Make the choice to accept your circumstances; don’t settle for less than God’s best for you, because He knows exactly what you want, and what you need.
Once we have lived out our singleness and feel like we’re ready for something more, then we need to start thinking about the qualities we would love in a future spouse, spiritually more than anything. Yes physical attraction is key, but don’t be so focused on the physical to the point of being shallow or having too high of expectations. And you have to know the difference between expectations and standards. One is your opinion and the other is non-negotiable. This is one of the biggest things that hit me from that night: DO NOT pursue a relationship until you are in a season of marriage! Dating is not in the Bible. And I really wish I would have learned that earlier in life.
Also, you need to have spiritual compatibility. Are y’all lifting each other up and speaking life into each other, being encouraging and not tearing down? I’ve heard someone say that if you are not bringing out the best in each other and if you don’t enhance each other’s ministries then something is wrong. If you’re not growing closer to Jesus together, then one of you is pulling the other away from Him. The purpose that God has given you in life also needs to be compatible. Are y’all going in the same direction? For me, my future spouse needs to be just as passionate for missions as I am. And seek guidance from your family and friends as well. They love you and know you the best, besides God, and if they do not love the person your dating then there’s a reason for that.
God will put someone if your life that will love and commit to you so much that it will paint a picture of what Jesus did for you. ~Garrett Matsuyama
Ready for some tips for healthy dating?! Good. Here it is: boundaries. Both of you NEED to set boundaries at the beginning of the relationship, and don’t compromise on them. Once you do, you’re setting yourself up for failure and you’re one step closer to having that relationship go too far, too fast. Define the relationship as what it is. Don’t allow any ambiguity to arise because that just leads to miscommunication and someone is going to get hurt because they either got their hopes up for something more, or they start to overthink things and doubt themselves. Think about this: every person you date and do not marry is someone else’s spouse. Mind=blown. That hit me like a ton of bricks when I heard that because it’s so true.. More healthy dating tips-move slow (no such thing as being too patient, God loves patience); set the boundaries and don’t compromise (especially physical boundaries); always have open communication and be transparent about everything (just a good rule of thumb); keep your friends through the whole process (seek their advice); and most importantly, always obey God (it’s better to be obedient to Him and hurt someone with the truth than to not obey Him and comfort someone with a lie).
Sex. Not a bad thing. God created sex for a reason. He created it for a special time, too… to uniquely unite people in the bond of marriage. That is His seal of approval in Holy matrimony. We also have to understand, though, that if we do get caught up in sexual sin before marriage it does have consequences. It will never satisfy you, maybe temporarily, but never spiritually; it always brings negative results because it is a sin; there’s the possibility of getting an STD or getting pregnant if you’re not careful and protecting yourself. And if you think you’re mature enough to do it, then be mature enough to accept those consequences when they do arise. Take responsibility for your actions. It took me a long time to figure out that it’s not how far you can go in your faith before something is considered a sin, it’s how far are you willing to go to please God. So, have some integrity and self-control and stand strong for your purity!
I’m not going to lie, I cannot even begin to count the many times I’ve been caught up in sexual sin. But I’ve learned so much in that time period. We have to FLEE to be FREE from it! It is never, never too late to run from that situation, do whatever it takes. We have to be disciplined in our minds and our bodies. And more than anything, once we have messed up, we have to repent. Pray about it, stop condemning yourself because “there is no more condemnation in Christ”, and let it go. Jesus didn’t die for perfect people, He died for you. It’s never too late to turn back to Him.
I can’t take the credit for all of this though… I have an amazing group of friends who contributed to this, especially our leaders John and Katelyn. I look up to them so much because just seeing them live out their relationships with God and knowing all they’ve been through has encouraged me more than anything. I love you guys and so appreciative of your influence in my life.
Let’s start a relationship revolution!! 🙂