Through our first two blogs, we have talked about the benefits of being single, and how to embrace and enjoy that time. Last month we discussed the process of dating, and how a man of God pursues a woman. Well, now we are ready to move into the relationship.
Let me start with some truth. Relationships are not always easy, but they are absolutely worth it. Relationships are hard work, but we all know that hard work pays off. To steal from a quote we used for motivation in basketball:
It's not always going to be easy, but it's going to be worth it.
Here are three things I believe that help make a relationship successful.
- Foundation - Where is the foundation of your relationship found? Reality check, if your relationship is not rooted and founded in Jesus Christ, then today is the day to start. From the beginning, Micaela and I's relationship was centered on Christ. I don't say that to brag or sound prideful, but guys I want you to know it's possible, and it's what women are searching for.
- Sacrifice - Guys, you are not too tough to watch The Notebook. Ladies, we like it when you watch football with us. The remote is only the tip of the iceberg for relationships. Gentlemen, for a relationship to succeed, you must be willing to sacrifice your needs for the needs of your girlfriend. Be there for her when she needs you. Listen to her, yes, even when the final four is on.
- Fun - One of the greatest dangers to relationships is contentment. You have been dating for a while, you are comfortable with each other, you have met each other's parents, hey, and maybe you have even planned life out together. Guys, do not forget that you still need to pursue her, and you still need to have fun. Early on Micaela and I made a list of dates we wanted to go on and things we wanted to do or experience. Surprise her guys. Have a water gun fight, do something spontaneous. Not only does she want to be told that you love her, but she wants to feel it, and she wants to be shown you love her. So through all the deep talks, and growth, don't forget to relax, be a kid, and have fun sometimes. There is nothing better than being goofy with someone you love.
Like I said at the beginning, relationships are not always easy, but they are worth it. Micaela and I have been dating for eight months now, and I would not trade those eight months for anything. We have laughed, cried, danced, prayed and worshiped together, and through it all, we have leaned on Christ as our foundation. We have sacrificed, and we have had tons of fun, just don't ask her who won the last water gun fight...
Relationships can be a beautiful thing, I know it is for me, especially now that I am actually in one.
Growing up I dated and “talked” with boys, but I hadn’t been in a serious, long-term relationship until Eric.
I’d say it happened this way, one, because I was so picky, which is a great trait to have in dating ladies, but also because God was protecting my heart.
I remember talking with my sweet friend, Annalee, a few summers ago about boys and being in her first relationship along with the effects that came with it, heartbreak and all.
After growing up with Annalee from diapers, and literally experiencing the trials of life together, it was a beautiful moment to hear her express her understanding of God’s plan in her life.
When it came down to it, God had been protecting her heart and purity. All those years of growing up that made her feel she wasn’t pretty enough or worthy enough to be admired by a man, He was showing her just how precious and valuable she was to Him. She was, and is, too valuable for just any man, and while it took her years to figure it out, her Father always knew.
He kept her heart protected all those years, but allowed her to experience the heartbreak so she could see what was too big for her mind to grasp all along: His ultimate plan.
God is saving her for the love of a man that can show her a glimpse of His love for her. That is something I have found in Eric.
It’s a blessing to be overwhelmed by the love of someone and then try to imagine how great the Father’s love for us is.
It’s wider and deeper than the oceans. Just try to imagine that.
While there is sacrifice waiting for the one day you will understand it all, there is also a commitment to sticking with the trials until you can see the love God has for you throughout it all.
That is what being in a relationship is about: sacrifice, commitment, and love. It is something that is so evident in God’s relationship with us, but also so important in our relationships with each other.
Sacrifice can be seen as a negative thing when there is selfishness present, but it can also be a positive act done out of love to serve someone else. It should be.
A relationship requires sacrifice, which many see as a downside because you aren’t getting everything you want if you have to sacrifice, but here’s the catch, you are.
In having a Christ-centered relationship, you learn the joy found in serving others, especially those you love.
A relationship is about finding joy in the other person’s happiness. After all, God made the biggest sacrifice of all by sending His son to die on the cross because He loves you and me that much.
Whether it is making an hour and a half drive through rush hour traffic to hangout, watching a show that isn’t your favorite, or giving up tickets to the big game for some quality time, sacrifice is important.
You continue to see God’s hand in relationships when you look at His commitment.
There is a reason it is so important to have a relationship with God first and foremost, and it is because He is the perfect example of a sacrificial, committed, loving relationship.
Being committed isn’t just the act of being faithful. It is being there 100% of the time mentally, being all in.
It’s learning to communicate in the hard times when you haven’t been taught how. It’s committing to seeing the best in the person you’re dating and making it known to them and those around you. It’s putting the effort in when you’ve had a long, hard day and you just want to focus on yourself.
You cannot fully love someone unless you can commit. Commit to knowing all of them and making them a priority. Commit to loving all of them.
…and then the greatest of these, is love.
Love is the feeling that makes you giddy inside, that makes you feel like you can never get enough, that makes you want to do anything for the person to make them the happiest possible.
Love is the greatest of all because within it you have all, and without it you have nothing.
Love is the seal of sacrifice; it’s the seal of commitment. Love binds all together and in the end of the day, makes it all worth it.
When we think of the perfect example of a relationship, we tend to think of our favorite movies or books. In reality, the perfect example of a devoted relationship is through Christ our Savior and His Father; the ones who embody every perfect trait above.
If I had to summarize the lessons learned through dating and relationships it would be this:
- No man can save you or fill a void in your heart. To expect that of him is foolish. Only God can be that person.
- Find your relationship in Christ alone first. Find who you are and who you are meant to be.
- Keep your standards as high as God’s are for the man you deserve.
- The man should be one who leads through his daily life, not just his words or Sunday routine.
- Your relationship should be founded on Christ alone, because without Him, it will fail.
- Set expectations and do not settle for less than you deserve. Your perfect man is out there.
Relationships can fail time and time again. We can make the same mistake with a different person, or a different mistake with the same person. There are highs and lows throughout it all, but by focusing on the Christ-centered traits that honor the intentions of a Godly relationship, it makes it worth it.