I recently wrote an article detailing why I decided to take a year off from dating. It was a personal decision due to some failed relationships, but it was also a leading I had from the Holy Spirit. I just felt on the inside of me that it was not my season to even begin to entertain the thought of dating. God obviously knew why better than me, just like He knows your situation better than you know yourself. For this reason, the best thing you can do is pray and seek God where your love life is concerned. There is no one method that is one size fits all. For some of you, He may give you peace to date people right now. For others, He may tell you that you don’t even need to date, and He will bring the right person to you. The key is to be open to His leadings in every area of your life. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart,And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” That is such a beautiful promise. Sometimes we don’t understand why God tells us to break it off with a specific person even when they look good on paper. We may not understand when He tells us to stop dating for a season or anything else. But this scripture tells us first of all to trust Him. Then it promises that if we acknowledge Him in ALL of our ways meaning we include Him in our decisions and ask for His direction and wisdom concerning these areas then He will direct us, and if we have the King of Kings directing us well then we can’t go wrong now can we?
Now that I’ve gotten that sort of disclaimer out of the way, I want to share with you some concrete things for you to think about that may signal you’re ready for a relationship and all that comes with one. This is not necessarily a checklist, but more so of a guide to help aid you in your process. The truth is, there are many people, both men and women who are out here playing Russian Roulette with their love life. They’re trying a little bit of this and a little bit of that only for it to eventually end in disaster. Not everyone is ready, equipped and fully capable of being in a mature, lasting relationship. Most people just jump at the prospect of being in a relationship because they like the way it will make them feel, and they seldom stop to think about all that comes along with it. “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” according to Ecclesiastes 3:1. Doing anything out of season, puts you at risk for negative results. The purpose of dating, courting, romantic relationships and the like is to eventually lead into marriage. If marriage is not the goal, then what’s the point? There is nowhere in my Bible that mentions the term boyfriend/girlfriend but yet we seem to live in the day and time of the forever girlfriend or forever boyfriend. This should not be so. When you renew your mind to keep the whole purpose of dating/courting in perspective, I promise your relationships will begin to look a lot different. You will not settle for just anyone at any time. You will not tolerate any old thing. You will refuse to treat people any kind of way. Because your mind will be on forever. It will be on your future, your legacy, a lifetime. So with that bigger picture in mind, let’s explore some of the things that signal you are ready for a relationship.
1. You’re over any and all heartbreak from your past
It's so easy to want to jump right into another situation after a breakup. Sometimes it’s to make the other person jealous, sometimes it’s because we need a rebound, sometimes it’s to keep us busy, or sometimes it’s a little bit of all three. Whatever the reason, it isn’t a good idea to jump right out of one relationship into another. Before you know it, you will look up and realize that you’re still harboring old feelings, emotions, and issues from old connections that you didn’t even realize were there. It is important to take some time to pause, reflect, figure out what you could have done better, what you want, don’t want and in many cases to just heal. What you absolutely do not want to do is bring old relationship baggage into a new relationship. It is a recipe for DRAMA and trust me, men do not like drama; it is one of the quickest ways to turn them all the way off.
Furthermore, If you do not take the time to heal, you may end up projecting some of your fears and insecurities onto your new mate and end up ruining a possibly good thing. I had to learn this fast. Because I was so used to being let down by people I just did not like for people to tell me that we were going to do something and not keep their word. So when my husband and I started dating I felt that familiar feeling beginning to rise up in me whenever he had to change or cancel even the smallest of plans. I had to understand that sometimes people have genuine reasons for not being able to follow through. As long as it was not a consistent thing or a pattern, then I needed to allow him some grace. I was mixing up character flaws with situational circumstances. It’s important to not let your past dictate how you’re going to move forward with people in the future. It’s okay to be cautious, but unless you have taken some time to really get healed and bring those old issues to light, they will always come back to haunt you. At the end of the day, you want to be free from all of those things for YOU. You owe it to yourself to be free, and you deserve it.
2. You don’t necessarily “need” a relationship and you certainly don’t need a man to complete you.
Desperation is not a good look sis, and men can smell desperation from a mile away. But even more than that, anything that you need or develop an inordinate desire for becomes your god. Many people are coveting relationships and marriage and the truth is that is idolatry. You will know you have made marriage, a relationship, a person or anything your idol when it consumes your thoughts, when you put it before your relationship with God, or when you compromise to get or keep it. What happens when you make anything an idol is that thing becomes your god. Of course we would never admit that or even think that but that is exactly what occurs. Then when you do get a mate that person and relationship will become your god and it begins to make or break you. When it’s going well you’re happy.When it’s on the rocks, you’re life is in shambles, and you can barely function. Nothing except the only true and living God should hold that type of weight and influence in your life. Idolatry is sin. God makes that clear in Exodus 20:3 stating, “You shall no other gods before me.” Learn to grow in love with yourself, your God and people so that every other relationship will flow from that.
3. You have healthy relationships with family/friends
This is important because the way you conduct your relationships with family, friends, and other people is a great indication of how you will operate in a relationship. In our heads we like to think that we will treat our mate or our husband better because we will be oh so in love, but feelings are fickle, and so your actions need to be rooted and grounded in something other than fickle feelings and erratic emotions. They need to be grounded in love, and I’m not talking about the type of love that you see on your favorite romantic comedy or hear about in your favorite R&B song. I’m talking about the agape love that God expects us to walk in every single day. That type of love is patient, kind, unconditional, forgives easily, and a host of other things as outlined in 1 Corinthians 13.
Do you still have a hard time forgiving friends or communicating effectively with family? Do you just brush things under the rug instead of addressing issues head on? Do you lack empathy or only like to see things your way? Are you quick to listen and slow to anger? (James 1:19) All of these things take maturity, discipline and selflessness, and all of them are needed to have a healthy, sustainable relationship and marriage. The hard truth is, if you’re not walking in them yet then you’re probably not ready to be in anybody’s relationship.
4. You are or you’re working on becoming the type of person you want to marry
It is so easy to have this long list of things you would like in a mate, but rarely do we stop to think about what we have to offer in a relationship or better yet, are we all of those things that we are asking of the other person. Think about your “list” for a second. As you go through your mental checklist, one by one ask yourself if you have that “thing” yourself whatever “it” is. For example, I want my husband to have good credit. Well do you have good credit? I want my man to be in shape. Are you in shape? I want my man to be strong in the Word. Are you strong in the Word? I want my man to pray every morning before he gets his day started. Do you pray every morning before you start your day? Do you see where I’m going here? It is unfair for us to demand something from someone else that we are not yet walking in ourselves. While no one expects you to be perfect, you should definitely be making strides towards your goals, and have some real fruit before thinking about jumping into a relationship.
5. Your relationship with God is solid
This one may be last, but it is certainly not least. In fact, this is the most important thing to check off of your list. If you have this one in order, then everything else will fall into place. A solid foundation is needed for any marriage, and for believers I would hope that foundation is Christ. He should be the center because a 3 cord strand is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12) I honestly do not know how people do it without Jesus. I call on Jesus regarding my marriage almost everyday. But in order to have a relationship and eventually marriage that is built on the foundation of God, your personal relationship with God needs to be solid. You have to know how to get a prayer through. You have to know who you are in Him and let Him give you your identity and your purpose. You need to build up that intimacy with Him. You need to understand how much He loves you so that anyone else’s love is just extra. You need to develop your faith so that when the storms of life comes you can be an anchor and not a burden to your family. You need to let God develop the fruit of the Spirit in you such as charity, longsuffering, joy, peace, faithfulness, kindness, and self-control so that you can operate effectively in all of your relationships and in life in general. All of this responsibility is on you to cultivate (with God’s help and grace of course). It’s not wise try to develop a relationship with another human being until you have developed the most important relationship you will ever have, the one with your Heavenly Father, Lord & Savior and Helper. He longs for a relationship with you.
I know this list is not all inclusive so I would love to hear some other signals that may indicate you are ready for a relationship. Comment them below or on one of my social media pages.
Still in Hidden in Him,