First off, I want to let you guys know why I’m posting a blog about relationships. I am in no way an expert on this subject by any means. But I had this idea Monday night at like 11 o’clock at night to start a blog based on what people want to hear. So, I posted a poll with the topics of identity, trusting God, relationships, and worship. Relationships won by .02%. I am going to be posting a poll every Monday – so go follow me on Twitter (@courtneyy_tee) and be a part of the voting.
So, I was trying to think of what I wanted to talk about when it comes to relationships. It was especially difficult because I do know that I don’t know everything. I was praying as I walking home from class and God just started placing all of these “lessons” that I’ve learned about dating through my past relationships, being single, to being in a relationship. I’m sorry it’s so long, but I hope you can find some wisdom from it.
1. Dating someone who loves the Lord is FUN!
Before I talk about this, I want you guys to understand that Brad is the first Christian guy I have dated. So, I had a lot of worries, or misconceptions, about dating a Christian. I believed that it would be boring. I had this really crazy, unachievable, “walking on egg shells” idea of what a Christian relationship was supposed to be. It is so easy to think about what you aren’t supposed to be doing as opposed to what you should be doing. I was very caught up in the fact that now that I’m dating a Christian I can’t do this or that. The devil really got ahold of my mind with those thoughts.
I was so wrong about that fact. I have never had as much fun in a dating relationship as I have had while dating Brad. We believe the same thing. We both have the same goal in mind. God is such a huge part of my life as well as Brad’s life. It is so much fun getting to share in that. We get to talk about God. That may seem like a given, but it wasn’t for me. Some of my favorite conversations Brad and I have had is when we just sit and talk about God. We have spent hours on the phone talking about what God is doing in our lives, what He’s teaching us, what we’ve been praying about, and even reading Christian books together. We’ve also been to a conference together and a Hillsong United concert. He’s visited my church and I’ve gotten to watch him preach. The thing that makes this so fun is doing it together. We get to experience God together.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” | John 10:10
God wants us to have a fulfilling life. Life encompasses many things, one of those being who we decide to spend our time with. We get to experience life to the full in relationships. We get to experience life to the full when we involve God in our relationships. God allows us to have relationships. He allows it. It should be fun. He blesses our relationships. They should be exciting. He shows us parts of Him through relationships. They should bring us joy. There is so many characteristics of God that go into our relationships, that if we put God smack dab in the middle of them, they are going to be exciting, fun, and bring us so much joy.
Another reason that dating a Christian is so much fun is ministry is so much more fun when you get to do it alongside someone. Ministry is a big part of mine and Brad’s life. Brad is a youth pastor and I am a youth leader, Chi Alpha leader, and I lead worship. It is so nice having someone to talk about ministry with. We get to share in the victories, frustrations, and even just the silly things that happen. We haven’t gotten to psychically do ministry together due to the distance between us, but I already feel like I serve alongside Brad.
2. Christians are human.
A BIG misconception that I had was that once I started dating a Christian everything would be easy. Man, was I wrong. I thought that all the things that made it hard being a Christian dating a nonchristian would go away. Yes, dating a Christian makes it easier because you have similar beliefs, you are both seeking the same guidance, and so on. But, just because Brad has a relationship with God doesn’t mean we don’t still have to work hard at our relationship. All of those things don’t disappear just because we are both Christian. We are still tempted. We still struggle. We still argue. We still disagree on things. We still misunderstand each other sometimes. We still aren’t perfect.
“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” | 2 Corinthians 12:9
Luckily, God doesn’t require us to be perfect. In fact, He is made perfect in our weakness. But I think we can get in our heads and think that Christian relationships take less work. We both love God, we both go to church, we both pray, so we should be fine. That is all we really need to have a successful relationship. WRONG. I don’t want to devalue those things, because they are all very important. Relationships are more than similarities. Relationships are more than liking the same things, being at the same place at the same time, and hoping for the rest to just work itself out. They take work. You have to put effort towards your relationship.
It also took me realizing that just as I am not perfect, neither is Brad. I was naive and thought that once I found a good Christian guy that he would be strong enough so that I wouldn’t have to be. That is so unfair of me. God died for his sins just as he did mine. He still has to ask for forgiveness for his sins just like I do. I had this weird idea in my head that everyone else knew better than I did. So, I assumed that whoever this Christian guy I dated was he wouldn’t struggle. He wouldn’t be as bad as me. He could’t possibly mess up as much as me. But guess what, Brad is a human just like I am. He has issues too. He struggles just like me. He needs my help just as much as I need his. We have to work together to keep our relationship healthy. We have to work together to live out a Godly relationship. We have to have the same goal and work at it together. I can’t rely on him to do all of the fighting for us to work. I have to come alongside him and fight the battle with him.
3. Never underestimate the power of wise counsel.
You are who you surround yourself with. This doesn’t just apply to your romantic relationship but also your friendships. It is important to have godly friendships and accountability. Especially when you are considering, or are in, a relationship. The saying “love is blind” is so incredibly true. When you are in a relationship, your vision can often be clouded. You are so infatuated or “in love” that you can’t see the things that others can.
Think about this: Have you ever had that friend that you told them over and over again that their relationship wasn’t healthy? You saw so many things wrong with it but your friend was too caught up in their feelings to agree or even try and see what you were talking about? I can honestly say that I was that friend. I can also say that this will happen to you. You can deny it all that you want, but you will be so infatuated with a person that it is a struggle to see any flaws in them.
This is why it is important to surround yourself with people who are going to speak TRUTH into your life. You need people who care about you and want what is best for you. And you need to listen to what these people have to say.
“A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel” | Proverbs 1:5
One thing I can say that I learned from past experience. If you are the only person excited about your relationship, it probably isn’t a relationship you should be in. If everyone else is trying to talk you out of it or telling you that it is toxic, you should take their advice.
On the flip side of that, if everyone else seems to genuinely approve of your relationship, than you can probably assume that you are in God’s will and that this is a relationship you can continue being in. I can’t tell you how amazing it is having people speak positivity over your relationship. I have had so many people confirm my relationship with Brad. I have had people speak God’s truth over us.
It also very beneficial to surround yourself with encouragers. There will be times where you the enemy is going to attack and you need people to stand by you. Those things that people have said to confirm Brad and I are what plays in my mind when we get into a fight. That is what I remember when he does something that annoys me. My friends saying, “that is how you know the both of you are in God’s favor.” That is what gets you through the tough times, the battles, the fights, the hard situations, and heavy circumstances. You need healthy, godly, friendships. And you need couples that you can talk to and that can disciple you and your significant other.
4. Know your identity in Christ before you get into a relationship.
You have to know your value in Christ before you can expect anyone else to value you. I was in past relationships that really morphed my view of myself and my self-worth. But through my period of about a year and a half of being single I really sought after God. I asked God to reveal to me who I am in God. He began to speak Truth into my life and over my life.
It is really easy to let a relationship define you. It is really easy to let your relationship status define you. There are many things that we can let define us. Basically, we are being defined by many different things in society today. But we must stand firm in who God says we are.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” | Genesis 1:27
God made us in His image. We are made like God. The Creator of the Universe made us. He made us with a purpose in mind. We have to grasp that. We have to know who God says we are.
We also have to be careful that we don’t forget who God says we are once we get into a relationship. That is very easy to do. We must continue seeking God’s Truth over us. We must continue spending time in the word and letting God reveal to us who we are in Him.
5. Your words have power.
This is something I feel really dumb admitting that I had to learn. The way you speak to your significant other has power.
“Your words have the power of life and death.” | Proverbs 18:21
I never realized the true power of encouragement until I started dating Brad. Brad is constantly encouraging me. He is always reminding me of my strengths. He is always telling me how beautiful I am. He is always rewarding me when I do a good job. He uses his words to build me up. I can honestly say that there have been days that would have been way harder to go through without Brad’s words of encouragement. Words have the power of life or death.
The way you speak can bring life or death. You have the choice. The hard part about this is that we live in a society full of sarcasm. Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with sarcasm but it can be dangerous. It is easier for us to give a snide comment rather than lift someone up. That is just what society has taught us. This is what movies and TV shows have taught us. These sarcastic remarks are all over media. Your words have the power of life or death.
The things you speak over your significant other are going to be things they remember whether you think they do or not. I can’t tell you how many times Brad has told me things I have said to him that I don’t remember saying at all. We have to be careful what we are saying. We should be constantly trying to build up our significant other, not tear them down. Sometimes we do this unintentionally. I understand that things can be misunderstood but we need to watch our words. We need to watch our tone of voice. We need to watch our body language. We need to be speaking life and Truth over our partners.
6. The importance of your own personal devotional.
It is so easy to make your partner’s devotional life your own. That may seem crazy, but it is so easy. It is easy to make what God is teaching your partner, what He is teaching you. It is so easy to get caught up in all that God is doing in their life that you forget what God is doing in your own. That in and of itself is a good reason to value a personal devotional life. But I believe there are many other reasons to value personal devotion.
You are not your significant other. You have had different life experiences. You think differently. You learn differently. You experience God differently. Therefore, having your own devotional life is crucial. God has things to teach you separate from your significant other. God has things to reveal to you that are separate from your significant other. God wants to spend time with you separate from your significant other. God wants to have relationship with you separate from your significant other. Your relationship with God can not be dependent on your significant other’s relationship with God. And your significant other’s relationship with God can not be dependent on your relationship with God.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” | 2 Timothy 3:16
Be confident of this: God wants to speak to you. God wants to grow you. God wants to use you. He has a specific plan for your life. You are only going to be able to know these things and hear from God if you have your own personal time that you spend with Him. God is a personal God. He is jealous God. He is a relational God. He desires to spend quality time with you.
I am not saying that devotional with one another is wrong. By all means, do that. It is awesome digging in to the word together and talking about the different things God is speaking to you through the scripture. It is awesome to share the things God has put on your heart. All of these are important. But a personal devotional is so so so important for a healthy Christian relationship.
7. The value of date night.
So, as many of you know I am in a somewhat long distance relationship. Brad lives an hour and half away from me (when traffic isn’t bad). And we have completely opposite schedules so we have very minimal time to talk during the week and spend together. Our date nights are something that we really value. We make sure that sometime during the week, each week, we have a date night. We make that a priority. Whether date night is on Sunday or on Friday. We will have date night.
Date night is where we get to spend quality time together. We get to learn about each other. We get to have fun. We get to rest. We get to laugh. We get to share stories. We get to enjoy each other’s company. This may seem so simple but it is so important. Life is crazy and so much happens during the week. When you carve out time in your week to spend time together it not only shows that you value your relationship but also that you value your time with that person. When you make spending time with someone a priority, it shows your intentions. It’s also just a lot of fun.
Another thing that I want to point out that has been really fun for me and Brad is letting date night be spent with others sometimes. Yes, don’t get me wrong, we love our date nights where it’s just us. But we also love getting to fellowship and hangout with our friends. We play games, cook together, go out to eat, go shopping, etc. And it is so much fun.
Don’t neglect your date night. Get out. Have fun. Do something you both enjoy together.
9. Peace that surpasses all understanding.
Something that I think we all often want to know is “how do you know?” How do you know she is the one? How do you know that he is the one? These aren’t bad questions to ask. I don’t think there is a moment or a way to know necessarily. God does have a way of showing His people that they are in the favor of God.
“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” | Philippians 4:7
When you have the favor of God over something in your life you feel peace about it. Regardless of what else is going on, you feel at peace. If you and your significant other are seeking God for your relationship. Your friends, family, and the wise council I mentioned earlier approve and don’t see any red flags. You both feel peace about it. I think it is pretty safe to say that you are probably getting the OK from God.
God will also open doors that shouldn’t have been opened and provide in ways you never imagined. That is the “exceeds anything we can understand” part. If God is opening doors for your relationship, I believe that means He is giving His stamp of approval.
Be careful to not misinterpret or misread doors opening just because you want them to be open. I have done that before. Be patient. Don’t rush. Seek that wise council I mentioned earlier. Seek God’s guidance. Pray. You will know. And if you are still unsure or doubting, maybe that is God’s way of saying that this isn’t for you. If this is something you are feeling, continue to seek wise council and let them know how you are feeling and see what they have to say.
10. Enjoy the season you are in.
This is for everyone. Whether you are single, in a relationship, engaged, or married. Enjoy the season you are in. I can’t stress that enough. One the biggest struggles I have had even before dating Brad was wanting to be in the next season of my life. When I was single, I really wanted to be in a relationship. Now that I’m in a relationship, I want to be engaged and married. There is nothing wrong with desiring these things but we have to be careful. God’s word says,
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.” | Ecclesiastes 3:3-8
There is a season for everything. That means that God is trying to teach us, grow us, and mold us in every season that we are in. When we are so focused on the next step or the next season we neglect what God is trying to to teach us right now. We lose sight of the lesson to be learned. We miss out on the exciting things God has for us in the present. We need to keep in mind that God has a plan for us. He will get us there in His timing. We don’t need to rush it. We need to trust that God knows the desires of our heart.
Enjoy this season because you will never be in this season again. Learn all that you can. Experience all that you can. Grow in every way that you can. Celebrate in every way that you can. Don’t get so caught up in where you want to be that you miss out on where you are.