Oh, the things I would tell my single self about love, dating and marriage!
Married eleven years now, I know more about love, dating and marriage than I did when I was single.
Not that I didn’t know anything back then. I was very self-aware, had great mentors and amazing friendships; God used it all to shape me in incredible ways.
But time can be a great teacher, and marriage provides an opportunity to apply all those lessons learned!
If you are single, don’t let anyone convince you that you know nothing about love, dating and relationships. If you are self-aware, open to learning and walking with God, you know a lot!
One day, you will look back and be so grateful for the opportunities you took and the truth you held on to. I hope my lessons today encourage your journey!
If I could go back, these are the things I would tell myself about love, dating and marriage.
1. If you don’t deal with identity and character issues in your single years..
You’ll get married and start calling them marriage issues. The earlier you begin to heal, the better your life and future relationship will be.
2. People don’t change because they got married.
They change because they decide to. Be intentional with growth now because marriage will stretch you and show you out.
3. You are right where God wants you.
4. Slapping on a wedding vow on a guy who wasn’t ready to be a husband doesn’t turn him into a good husband.
A wedding doesn’t change a man who wasn’t prepared to be a husband; it merely postpones a problem. It’s okay to be cautious.
5. Marriage will be more beautiful than you imagined.
And it will be harder than you expected. Beautiful things can be hard things.
6. Faithfulness is not automatic
It sounds crazy now, that you’ll need to be intentional with your heart in marriage. But it’s the truth: faithfullness in marriage is not automatic. It’s intentional.
Learn how to be devoted to your One (God) now because the discipline will serve and sustain you in marriage.
7. At first, you’ll think marriage ruined your bond with God.
Then you’ll realize a relationship with another human being exposes you for who you really are. It’s an on-going check. Not good news for pride but oh so good for humility and growth.
8. Singlehood and marriage are both ordained by God.
One is not better than the other.
9. If you don’t enjoy your single season, you might struggle in your marriage season.
While marriage helps with aloneness, it doesn’t cure loneliness.
10. The sting of walking away from a bad relationship is nothing..
Compared to the pain of staying in a dating relationship you shouldn’t be in.
11. Marriage isn’t the goal of life, it’s a season.
You are not at a bus-stop, waiting for a husband. In Christ, you are whole, complete and in need of nothing. Never quit believing that.Marriage isn’t the goal of life, it’s a season. You are not at a bus-stop, waiting for a husband. In Christ, you are whole, complete and in need of nothing.
12. A man won’t meet all your needs.
True story. Spouses don’t replace God.
13. You are not a savior
No matter how blessed you think a future husband will be to find you, you won’t meet all his needs. So don’t try to find a man to save. He has to do his own growing.
14. Christian husbands are found within the Christian faith.
Don’t feel bad about turning down dates with people who don’t share your values.
15. You would rather suffer a broken heart than a broken marriage.
Grieve that dead-at-the-door relationship but wipe your face and smile again because you dodged a bullet.
16. Don’t worry about your wedding night.
A single event does not define an entire marriage. Small daily choices combined build a marriage. Don’t let anyone guilt you or freak you out about this one moment in time.
Breathe. Ask the Author of intimacy to help you. PS: After your “I Do,”, you’ll write a whole book about sex in marriage!
17. The level of maturity you bring into marriage determines the quality of a marriage you will have.
Get all the growth you can now so you have something to pour into your future relationship. You’ll keep growing and maturing, but that initial injection is vital.
18. When do you know you have found the right one to marry?
There is no such thing as a perfect partner. However, in marriage, you can love so hard and forgive so fiercely that your marriage will feel perfect.
You will know you have found the right one to marry when he checks these boxes.
19 FYI. If you get married and your husband stops following God..
His lack of a spiritual life shouldn’t stop you from having one. Salvation is not a relationship issue. It’s personal, between you and your Maker.
20. Good boyfriends become good husbands.
Bad boyfriends? They become bad bad husbands.
21. Don’t wait on God to solve your dating problems..
When He’s waiting for access to your heart. God doesn’t start with relationship problems; He starts with the issues in our hearts.Don’t wait on God to solve your dating problems when He’s waiting for access to your heart. God doesn’t start with relationship problems; He starts with the issues in our hearts.
22. Your feelings and longings are not from the devil.
Or the dark recesses of a wretched, wretched soul. God gave you emotions, including sexual feelings. Indeed, they have a time and place (marriage.) But you are not abnormal for having feelings and wanting intimacy.
23. God will help you with strong emotions.
Don’t run away; He’s not mad at you. Don’t stuff your feelings, pretending they don’t exist. Talk to God. He will guide you through His Holy Spirit (and common sense!)
Ask the Giver of feelings to help you master your emotions so the feelings don’t master you.
24. So you are dating and you can’t have an adult conversation about his choice of shirts?
Or your tendency to be late for dates. What you need are more problems to solve..not less. You need to learn how to grow up.
25. Couples are supposed to see things differently.
Because they are two different people. The question is, can you still be on the same team, when you don’t see eye to eye?
26. Not all relationship tensions can be solved.
Sometimes the fact that you can’t agree is a sign you shouldn’t be together. Be wise. If your values clash, nothing can fix that. Walk.
27. God is not preparing you for marriage.
He is working in you, drawing you closer to Him. Your husband will be a beneficiary of your growing relationship with God, not the reason.
28. No matter what happens to you – the heartbreaks, the disappointments, the silent longings, the long wait – you have the power of choice because
…our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14
You can become bitter, unforgiving, critical, mocking, timid, fearful, passive. Or you can choose to be Christ-centered. Defined by your Savior and His values no matter what you walk through.
29. Being a Christ-centered woman doesn’t mean you never slip up or make mistakes.
It simply means you allow God to redeem the broken places and to grow the healthy ones. It means you allow Him to form you into the woman He desires you to be.
30. When you view marriage as a reward for being a good girl, or as some sort-of graduation..
You’ll get married and wonder where the award went because marriage is such hard work. It’s delightful, but it’s also really hard work. A reward mentality will not help you cultivate the work mindset needed for a marriage to thrive.
31. God cares about the inside of your head and heart.
That’s where purity begins. It’s not just a physical thing.
32. It’s okay to have physical boundaries.
Because limits keep you sane. No need to start fires you can’t satisfy without a ring
33. God might not show up when you expect Him to.
But He always shows up, and He’s always on time.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
34. Hard as it is to accept sometimes, you would rather be single and happy.
Than in a relationship that brings nothing but heartache. You are the only one who knows the cost of being in a bad relationship. Don’t be pushed around by the “boyfriend culture” and people who don’t share your values.
35. Standards. Standards. Standards.
You have no idea how much heartache you are saving yourself by having godly standards.
36. Just because he goes to church or says he’s a Christian doesn’t mean you should date him.
There are bad characters sitting on church pews, calling themselves Christians. Listen to the Holy Spirit, He really speaks and He will warn you. You don’t have to understand, just obey.Just because he goes to church or says he’s a Christian doesn’t mean you should date him. There are bad characters, sitting on church pews, calling themselves Christians.
37. Marriage is what God calls it.
Not how culture defines it. Marriage is still good because God is good.
38. You can’t live off attraction.
His charm won’t love your mama. You can’t resolve conflict with feelings only. Develop a whole relationship.
The attraction is great, but don’t attempt to build a relationship based on appeal only.
39. Godly men exist.
And they not all taken. There’s one for you.
40. If he’s checking out other women while he’s with you, he’s telling you who he really is.
Look, it’s offensive to eye and seize up women. But it’s the height of disrespect to do it when he’s with you. Remember, he’s not checking out other women because you are not enough.
He’s doing it because he has lust (and other) problems. You can’t love him to deliverance or to stop wanting other women. Lust is not a relationship problem.
Lust is a heart issue and he needs to deal with it. Out of his own motivation and initiative. Not yours.
I hope my thoughts on love, dating and marriage encouraged you!
Your turn! What point resonated the most? What are you learning? If you are married, what would you tell your single self? Let’s chat in comments!
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