What I Didn’t Know about Being in a Relationship

Being in love, in a relationship that honors God, is one of the greatest things a person can encounter in his or her short life this side of heaven. Admittedly, I wake up a little happier in the morning, as if something miraculous is waiting for me. There’s more pep in my step. The growth I have seen in my walk with the Lord has been incredible, as I have learned more about His character, and how to trust Him more wholly and deeply. But at one time, I was single.  And now, even as I am engaged, I wonder why there is so much anxiety among single people regarding their love lives.

We all know people who trade significant others every time they get an oil change or buy new shampoo,  the people who seem to think their lives would be complete if they could just find… the one. I have known some people to mope around their lives simply because they are single. And honestly, being at a college that is known for its “ring by spring” mentality doesn’t make that any easier, but the problem isn’t just taking place here. Its taking place in churches and schools and social groups everywhere. Its the idea that you are less of a person without a significant other.

I had a roommate once who was adamantly against dating, and for the life of me, I could never understand why she would limit herself, why she would insist on keeping what could be fun and healthy relationships at arm’s length. This is not an article about the benefits of kissing dating goodbye, or adopting the idea of a perfect courtship. Its not about playing the field to find just the right person for you. Honestly, I can’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, because it can vary from person to person. What I can tell you is what I wish I knew as a single person, and that I strongly believe that relationships should be treated with intention and a keen sense of reverence.

I went on dates, but never really seriously dated anyone in high school, and the only person I ever dated in college is now my fiancee. That being said, I wasted a lot of time chasing relationships — maybe not because of social pressure, but because I really did desire intimacy, and I assumed that dating was the only way to have it.

Now that I am in a committed relationship, I see the error in those thought patterns. I see so many of my peers hurting because they have bought into that lie that they are less if they are single. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with dating, but there’s a lot that goes into a relationship that I was unaware of before.

Here are some things I wish I knew back then:

1. Being in a relationship is hard work. Perhaps the problem with these revolving door relationships is that they lack perspective and purpose. We were created to be in relationships, not for our own happiness, but so that we can take on the image of Love itself. And believe me, there are definitely days when I don’t want to be all of those things that 1 Corinthians 13 says love is. I often have to ask for forgiveness, and offer it, when things go awry. I’m in prayer daily, asking God to help us communicate better, to strengthen us as we protect our purity, to give us patience when we’re frustrated.

2. Being single is just as much a gift as the longed for relationship. There is so much satisfaction in finding who you are as a single person. And believe it or not, there are just as many awesome opportunities for single people as there are for people who are in relationships. If you are single, take this time to celebrate yourself. Try new things, go new places. Don’t overthink things with the opposite sex or about yourself. Spend time with mixed company, free from the pressure to impress anyone. Also, spend time with people of your own gender who have qualities that you aspire to have in your own life or walk with God. Don’t limit yourself or waste what time you have now wishing for things to be different.

3. Being in a relationship doesn’t fix everything. You will still get pimples and have bad hair days. There will still be times when you may feel lonely or depressed. Being in a relationship is great, but only Christ can truly give life meaning and purpose. Finding your identity in him should always reign supreme to finding it in other people.

4. There is no formula for finding someone. Your husband or wife could end up being your roommate’s cousin’s best friend. He or she could be a friend from high school that you have totally lost touch with at this point. There is no way to tell when God will bring that person into your life. In the meantime, work on figuring out what it means to be someone who is worthy of that person’s affection.

5. Your husband or wife is totally worth the wait. Yes, being in a relationship is hard work. No, it doesn’t fix everything you view as being wrong in your life. But when God does choose to bring that person into your life, it is nothing short of amazing. You will see yourself assuming more and more the attributes of Christ as you seek to honor him first within that relationship. There’s nothing quite like the rewarding feeling you get from growing together with your best friend. And its so great to not have to take a lot of baggage from previous relationships into this. So for the sake of your husband or wife, take your time. Also, you are worth your husband or wife’s wait.

Do you have other advice about singleness or dating? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below, or email us at talon@tfc.edu.