I am often asked “What should I be doing to prepare for marriage right now?” or “what should I do to put myself in the best position to be found”. My answer is most often, “Just chase after God, and He will take care of everything else.” While I truly believe this is the answer, and it has been true in my life, I also understand that people also need practical pointers. Therefore, I have compiled a list of nuggets that I have acquired during my single season that can help you throughout this journey. Before getting into WHAT TO DO, I wanted to address WHAT NOT TO DO in the hopes that some of you would make some necessary adjustments and quality decisions in your heart that will set you up for success. Here we go!
1. Entertain random guys and go out on dates just because
There’s a few reasons for this. First of all, one of the most valuable resources that you have is your time and you should not be wasting it hanging out with a person you don’t believe has potential to be your future mate. You have to consider what is the end game here? If it isn’t to truly get to know the person to see if you could possibly pursue a relationship and marriage then what’s the point? A free meal? A good time? We like to tell ourselves oh well we’re just friends or we’re just getting to know each other to see where this goes. That is a recipe for disaster. You have to go into every [potential] relationship with purpose. You must be intentional. This is how we find ourselves compromising because we told ourselves we would only go out to lunch with someone which we thought would be harmless only to find ourselves years later still “talking” to the same person while we’re silently frustrated because they’re not living up to our expectations when we really were never supposed to even entertain the person in the first place. Sis, date yourself! As a matter of fact, go out on a date with Jesus, I’m telling you He is the ultimate gentleman and He always foots the bill ;) You may think that’s a weird concept but I used to go on dates with Jesus all the time and it was a way that I could develop my relationship with Him and get in some QT. We would go to the park, restaurants, festivals, wherever. Sometimes I would take my journal and Bible, sometimes I didn’t. Make it fun! The Bible says that your Maker is your husband (Isaiah 54:5). Cling to God more than you cling to the desire to be in a relationship or have some sort of male companionship. He will set the bar high for any male who ever tries to court you.
2. Jump into a relationship fresh off the altar (and don’t jump into a relationship with someone fresh off the altar)
I remember shortly after I got saved before my mind was renewed to certain things, I decided to try an online dating app. Go ahead, judge me. Anywho, by this time I had already decided that I was saving my body for my future husband by abstaining from sex until marriage, and I felt it was important to let him know this pretty early in the game in order to set expectations and not waste either of our time. So during our second date after a wonderful evening at an amazing restaurant topped off with good conversation, I decided it was a good time to bring up the subject. Apparently I was mistaken because homeboy ripped into me and proceeded to tell me how many women have tried to play this game with him in the past. Furthermore, he didn’t believe that I was in fact saving myself. Instead he insisted I was attempting use and manipulate him. It went from being a perfectly beautiful evening to an awkward mess. That was the longest drive home ever. So I had a decision to make. I could continue going out with him after hearing his response to something that I was indeed serious about and not willing to compromise on just to “see where things would go from there”. I could also just continue to go out with him for the free meals, good conversation and a good time, or I could cut if off right then and there knowing that it was the right thing to do. So that night, I made a decision in my heart that I was not going to date around anymore at all. This meant that I was going to take some time to just focus on growing my relationship with God and cultivating that part of my life. I was no longer going to seek out, a relationship or try to make myself seen. I was not going to accept any advances from any guys (unless I heard otherwise from the Lord). I was not open to any type of “talking to” or getting to know any guys at this time. I didn’t even put a time limit on it, I just said to myself that I would know when it’s time and sure enough there came a season where I felt released to date again and be open to a relationship shortly before John and I got together.
I think it is so very important to take the time to be intentional and grow in your relationship with God without the distraction (for lack of a better word) of a mate. After all, it is a relationship and relationships take WORK! If you are at the beginning stage of a relationship, it is hard to focus on anything else. Think about when you’re all in love especially in those beginning stages; all you want to do is talk to or be with that person. It’s hard to eat sleep or do anything else besides think about them or be with them. Likewise, if you’re trying to grow in your relationship with God while at the same time pursuing a romantic relationship, more than likely someone is going to get the short end of the stick. You are going to neglect one of those relationships and more than likely it is going to be the one with God. I have witnessed countless individuals who started out so on fire for God but prematurely jumped into a relationship, ended up getting hurt and let all of their fire burn out. This ought not be so! Ecclesiastes 3:1 says to everything there is a season. If you seek God FIRST I truly believe that everything else will be added unto you according to Matthew 6:33. This is how I have purposed to live my life and God has truly honored it. You are going to need the solid foundation of a strong relationship with God for every single thing He is going to add unto you. Make sure you are taking the necessary steps now so that later on everything you have will not crumble.
3. Jump into a relationship fresh out of a breakup
This one should be obvious, but I see people do it all the time so I thought I would mention it. After a breakup you need time to heal; it’s just not wise to jump from one relationship into the next. It doesn’t matter if the breakup was your idea or the other person’s choice. It doesn’t matter if there was sex involved or not. It doesn’t even matter if you all were in an actual relationship or just getting to know each other. There always needs to be some sort of healing and reflection that takes place in order to not carry the same baggage, dysfunction, and wrong thinking and actions into the next relationship. Getting a rebound is a terrible idea. Another person will not solve your issues. You must be brave enough to be alone sometimes and mature enough to learn from previous mistakes you may have made in your past relationships. Don’t rush or step ahead of God, otherwise you will find yourself going around the same proverbial mountain.
**Stay tuned for part 2 next week: What TO do
Still Hidden in Him,