Are You a Wife in the Making?
I was on the shuttle bus on the way home from work when I overheard two friends (a guy and a girl) talking about relationship issues. It seemed that God knew what I needed to get inspiration for this article. I lowered the music in my headphones to listen in, though I only captured bits and pieces (I rarely ever eavesdrop, I promise you). The girl seemed to be having relationship problems with her boyfriend and the guy acted as her counselor, using examples from his own relationship with his girlfriend.
[Sidebar: I wondered, has the girl even confronted her boyfriend about these issues first? A word of caution: when you’re going through rough patches in your relationship, NEVER run to someone else to vent, or even to seek wise counsel, without first confronting your significant other with the goal of solving the problem(s) and committing it to prayer. If you both can’t agree, use discretion about WHO you seek to elicit advice (e.g., a close friend, mentor, or pastor).]
I overheard things like: “You’re in college; have fun!… As long as you’re happy.… She lets me have fun, but I know my boundaries.… Only if you’ll be together for a while.” Words like “control” and “manipulation” also came up. Hearing those words was like hearing screeching tires coming to a sudden stop.
Image via A Well Traveled Woman
As Christians, we ought to view relationships in a different light. They aren’t just a fling or a substitute for loneliness. It’s not just about being “happy” or having “fun” without commitment. That’s why so many hearts are broken and the pieces never seem to fit perfectly the same way in the next relationship. People often go from one to another, looking to fill a void that only Christ can fill, without first dealing with their own issues. Allow God to step in and mend your hurts. Putting a band-aid on deep wounds won’t do. God desires to heal you from the inside out.
Understand that Christian courtship carries with it the intention to enter into a holy covenant with God through marriage. When you’re intentional about your future with your significant other, you don’t have time to play games. If you’re a Christian, you should realize that being a good steward means giving yourself and everything God’s blessed you with – including your relationship – to Him so that all can be used for His glory.
If you’re a Christian, when it comes to relationships, your mindset should not be to date around but to purposefullycourt each other – ultimately leading to marriage. Now I’m not saying that as soon as you get into a relationship, you start planning your honeymoon. This simply means that you purpose to be in a relationship ONLY because you mutually agree that marriage would be the next big step in your life together. You’re honoring God and committing to one another for a lifetime, not until you graduate from college or move to another city – convenient opportunities to call it quits prematurely.
If you’re in a relationship with someone just to try it out, you’re likely to run into some roadblocks that may lead you into a ditch. If you believe God will one day grant your desire to be married, become a marriage-minded single, rather than one who wants to test drive every guy on the street. Save yourself the time, energy, and emotional baggage.
However, I won’t sugarcoat this. You will struggle during this critical season of life, especially if many of your friends are already in relationships. Rather, see it as an opportunity to do more – for God, yourself, your family, your friends, your church, your work, etc. This is a time when you can focus more of your energy in areas that you may not otherwise prioritize if you were in a relationship. When you’re married, your priorities are divided, devoted mainly to God, your spouse, perhaps your children if you have any, and so on. When you’re single, though, you usually have more freedom to do the Lord’s business, to serve, to learn, to travel, to minister, etc. (1 Corinthians 7:34-35).
I’d like to offer you some valuable tips that will last beyond this spring season, when flowers are not the only things in bloom. Uproot those bad habits and negative attitudes you have toward relationships and plant some new seeds in good soil that will blossom beautifully over time. Here are seven “must-haves” to start planting now:
1. Look to God, not man.
Putting God first and making Him the center of your life will reveal that He knows what’s best for you. Don’t allow the pressures of family, friends, and society dictate whom you’ll be with and when you choose to do so. Seek God wholeheartedly, being totally devoted to His will. If it’s in His plan, He will bless you with a mate in HIS timing. Most importantly, if you’re a Christian and you long to be in a relationship, your focus should be on the greatest relationship you already have – with Christ! Trust Him. Find your joy, peace, and satisfaction in Him and in Him alone. Ladies, you know how the saying goes. Your heart should be so hidden in God that a man must seek Him first in order to find you.
|2. “No randoms, Pinky Promise*!”
My big sister Heather Lindsey is a huge advocate of this. Don’t just date anyone who says you’ve got it going on. Learn to appreciate a compliment and keep it moving. With a “random,” you know you’ll never get married, but you expend all of your resources (e.g., your time, money, maybe even your own body) and allow your emotions to get entangled in a toxic relationship. Ladies, unless he’s actively demonstrated a sincere commitment to build you up as his sister in Christ and pursue a lifetime relationship with you, then platonic friendship is as far as it should go.
3. Recognize that your fiancé or boyfriend is NOT your husband.
That means they don’t get the same privileges as spouses do. For example, don’t try to see how far you can go sexually. Set boundaries to guard your hearts and protect yourselves from doing anything that wouldn’t please God. Be intentional about preserving your purity before the Lord. This is crucial because a little justification can eventually lead to a lot of sin. Have your closest friends hold you accountable in this area. Even when certain you’re going to get married, realize that you’re not there yet, so don’t open your “presents” too early. Your time to celebrate will come. Patience has its rewards.
|4. Embody the qualities of a wife BEFORE marriage.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing (Proverbs 18:22), not a wifey or a girlfriend. This woman should already be exemplifying the qualities of a wife in her everyday life, a reflection of the woman in Proverbs 31. You should be busy doing the Lord’s work and not living to achieve the mere goal of getting a man. Are you focused on LOOKING for the right kind of mate, or BECOMING the right kind of mate? As you’re out there praying, serving, teaching, giving, helping, a man who’s diligently living out his God-given vision will be attracted to that. He’ll see that you’re serious about your faith and worthy to be his wife. Study the Proverbs 31 woman and take notes. Check out 31 Status for some great resources.
5. Don’t settle. Period.
I can’t stress this enough. It breaks my heart to see women settle for less than the standards they’ve initially set for themselves, especially the ones God expects of us. Women often lower their standards perhaps because their hope of “finding” a mate fades like a chalk-written sidewalk on a rainy day. Ladies, you shouldn’t chase after men. A lady of grace chases after God while He blesses her along the way. She doesn’t make unnecessary stops that take her off course (aka settling). She’ll weave through traffic but with God in the driver’s seat, she will always reach her destination.
6. Understand that not every man who loves Jesus is for you.
Just because he has a cute face and says he’s a Christian doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your research to examine his heart and character, to see if his standards and desires line up with the Word of God. Too many well-intentioned women settle for just “He’s a Christian.” You need to go deeper than that. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions.Where does he see himself in 5-10 years? What spiritual gifts does he have that you could potentially support/complement? What has God been teaching him lately? If you think you’ve met your future husband, take the time to get to know one another as friends first. Prepare to be a lifetime best friend. Spend time together in group settings. This may help you to see different sides of him and observe his interactions with others. Above all, let God work out the details.
7. Don’t convince yourself that God is pleased when Christians get into relationships with non-Christians.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14). This is a huge mistake people make, especially women. And don’t think that you or your church can try to “convert” him (aka missionary dating). You’re setting yourself up for more problems than you can count. None of that “He’s not a Christian, but he’s such a nice guy” mess. If this man is led to Christ through your friendship, that’s great! But don’t risk that by getting into a committed relationship with him. Let God do His work and keep praying for him. When you allow an unbeliever to influence you in such a way, you’ll likely have your standards corrupted. Two imperfect people who are spiritually incompatible is bad enough. Don’t make it worse by trying to justify an unequally yoked relationship.
Of course, there’s much more I can write about this topic, but this is an article, not a book. For now, start carefully tending to your relationship garden. Pull out those nasty weeds that have been choking up your beautiful flowers of grace. They’re waiting to sprout! Water your garden regularly with the love and wisdom of God. You’ll reap the benefits of growth in due season – that which God has already ordained for you.
This post is part of our monthly featured posts from B.L.O.G. Magazine. We are proud and honored to work with an amazing and positive ministry.
Jessica is passionate about life, love, and most importantly, her Lord. In 2009, she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Florida International University in Miami. Her love for music and promotion landed her an executive position with a local non-profit organization (Employed By My Vision, Inc.) and record label. Jessica now works as a grant writer/editor at her alma mater, where she met her husband whom she married in August 2011. She has also appeared as a guest on NEWDradio discussing interracial relationships. Once a victim (now a victor) of sexual abuse, Jessica plans to one day write a book about true healing, sharing her testimony and the hope of overcoming brokenness. She currently serves at Christ Community Church, where she spearheads its marketing efforts, sings on the worship team with her husband, and co-leads Sunday School for the youth. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for updates on what God is doing in her purpose-driven life.