I remember when I was asking God for the type of person I was hoping to end up with. I took the time to write up what I wanted. I refrained from writing down things that emphasized something shallow or vain. However, I really wanted to identify the qualities and features this person needed to have. His character needed to have some type of integrity. At the time, I was having some trouble in the love department. No matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to find the “right” person. When my boyfriend finally came into the picture to pursue me (who was still just my friend at the time), I decided to read my list to him. Even after doing so, I wasn’t so sure he would be able to fit the bill. We were friends for years and sometimes it seemed we could never just get it together. Therefore, I was ready to leave things where they were just as friends. However, since he was putting the effort to pursue me I let him know what it was I was looking for. Once we finally came to the point of dating, I began indirectly doing something I didn't notice I was doing. It wasn’t immediate in our relationship, but as we continued, it became more apparent to him. I began comparing our relationship to other relationships I had seen or admired. If you ever want to put a rift in your relationship this is the way to do it. I continued to look at other’s relationship versus our relationship and often wondered if we fit the bill of what God wanted.
In the Christian community I can say I've noticed an increase in what most believers would call ‘Christ-centered relationships. Other names for it include courtship or dating with a purpose. I see more and more couples creating boundaries in their relationship to better assist with maintaining respect for one another and to stray away from sin. I believe that is quite admirable. We should strive to "be ye holy also as our father is holy." (1 Peter 1:16) What does that look like? To make it simple, you want to be set apart. You want to be a living sacrifice and offer your body as such. (Romans 12:1) Respect yourself so your mate knows how to do the same. When it came to my relationship it took so many shifts due to me trying to fit it to the standards of what others were doing. Although most couples followed the same ideologies, I wanted to have EXACTLY what others had and my boyfriend began to notice. If they didn’t kiss before marriage, I wanted it. If they had devotion every day I wanted it. If they had chaperones everywhere, I wanted it too. This is not to say any of this is wrong. However, true conviction wasn’t driving my decision making. I wanted God to deem our relationship as “pure” as possible. Now, to be clear, my relationship is founded on Godly principles. However, if I thought it could be more “perfect” for God I would try to force new rules and regulations. I began fabricating an image of what I thought my Godly relationship should look like, but I also was priming myself to believe my relationship would look precisely the same. I became consume by the way others got together and the divine way their relationship began that I started waiting for the Holy spirit to do something supernatural to make my relationship just as “heavenly”. I discredited the amount of work God had already done for us. I was indirectly deeming it not good enough. Now, I am a firm believer in Christ. I also believe in these types of dating. However, I’ve realized and have come to the belief that you should use other's Godly relationship as a template, but not your "Bible." I thank God that there are people out there willing to show their love for Christ through their relationship. I had to come to a realization that our story was unique to us. Our triumphs, struggles, and our ability to serve God as well.
So if this is something that you know you're guilty of doing or have been guilty of doing, then this message is for YOU! Yes, you; the one who is constantly idolizing another couple's relationship rather than learning from it. The one who constantly changes things in your relationship because "God told me so,” without you and your partner coming to God together. The one who, quite frankly, know they shouldn't be together with that particular person, but because God saved "those other couples together, then that must be our story too." The one who still haven't conquered or been delivered from a sin, but believes that being in a relationship this season is the right answer. This is for you. Some relationships, even the Godly ones, lack knowledge. This lack of knowledge from a relationship can be very detrimental to a relationship and future marriage. There is so much we should learn from the season of dating and courting before the betrothal season. I personally had to come to terms that "our story isn't like their story" and we all must remember that. God works on people differently. He is your manufacturer and he knows your inner workings. Therefore, as you guys are in a relationship, you may undergo different tests than other couples. God will always test the authenticity of someone against their own faith. If you truly are a follower of Christ, follow his word and his characteristics especially if you have been declaring and decree things. Be ready to face your own words through a test.
You may have to face the realization that you and your partner may not be meant for one another. Or that you guys may be moving too quickly into marriage , because God may still have some kinks he has to iron out before you guys say "I do." Or maybe you guys may just date longer than the other couples because, the truth of the matter is, your story is different. You may not have started on the right foot of a Christ -centered relationship and you guys may have fell into sin. You may have to go through something completely different than most to get over this hurdle. However, God still love you guys and wants the BEST for you. So do not turn from him and judge yourselves, but seek to be better than before. There isn't a green, blue, or purple book on the perfect courtship, but there is YOUR story. If we all had the same story then there would be nothing unique about it.Our testimony would also be lacking uniqueness. It is God who polishes us through the trials and tribulations to create a beautiful covenant between a man and a woman. More importantly, God polishes us to establish a beautiful relationship with Him. Seek a Godly relationship God's way and if He is really centered and in the foundation of your relationship, then allow only Him to write you guys a beautiful love story.
If you are having trouble figuring things out here are a few questions you can ask about your relationship.
1. Is God truly in our relationship or are we acting as if he is?
2. When I prayed for a mate, what did I ask for?
3. What is the end goal?
4. Has this relationship made you better, the same, or worse?
5. If we commit to one another, do either of us feel we are settling?
6. Are we being purpose driven or emotionally driven?
7. Are we spiritually mature to be in a relationship right now?