Hope you had a good Christmas and a Happy new year.
Typically, the first post in the new year would relate to something like productivity or goals. But I have decided to make this post on something that had a significant impact on me last year. Although, nothing I am going to discuss is really new to me, experiencing it first-hand means I value it more and I wish someone had reminded me, this time last year.
Relationships are a tricky one. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert for the simple fact that I’m single. Then again, you have people who have been married for more than twenty years who wouldn’t consider themselves experts either, and you have people who are divorced who are marriage counselors. So, as I said, it’s a tricky one. What I can speak on is what I have experienced first hand, and the lessons I have learned.
Disclaimer: In order to validate some of the messages I want to pass on, I think it is important for me to display some transparency. Whatever I say here is the same advice I would give to a friend, so it is important that you guys know where I stand on the matter.
A couple years ago I was in a relationship with someone who appeared to be a God-fearing Christian. In reality, he was a liar, cheat and used God as a tool of manipulation (the very opposite of God-fearing). Not long after, I entered another relationship with someone who was not a Christian, but was “good”, did not try and put up a facade and seemed to be a decent human being. However, when life was not all bed of roses I quickly realized this man and his worldly ways could not support me nor my future children the way I desired.
You see my dilemma? The first relationship I mentioned made me realize I need to be with someone who is a good person right down to their core not just “Christian”. The second relationship made me understand why God does not want us to be unequally yoked to an unbeliever. Realistically, what are the odds of finding a man that ticks all the boxes when all “men are trash”?
I found honesty to be such an attractive character trait, especially after being scarred by deception. This was the very big difference between my two exes. I ran so far away from anything that seemed dishonest, I came across someone brutally honest, or so I thought. When I look back now the second relationship was not great for me either but because it was the opposite of what had previously broken my heart I held on for way longer than I should have. The irony is even the guy I thought was “good” or at the very least honest, was caught in his fair share of lies. The harsh truth is, nothing makes a person more “good” than the fear of the Lord, because such an individual sees themselves as accountable to God, who is omniscient. So even if they can deceive you, they are aware they can never deceive God.
The debate of the A God-Man Vs A Good Man is one I have struggled with, especially in times where my self-worth has hit rock bottom. Although I don’t have all the answers, I hope anyone reading this gains some clarity when it comes dating, especially dating as a Christian.
If like myself you want to live a life more Christ-like. The “good” man is one you flee. He is good according to the standard of the world and so is a sin. Putting yourself into relationships where you don’t place the same values on basic principles, means that every day will be a constant battle, and the more you battle the more you compromise. Which I think is unfair to both parties. Temptation is a constant battle we face as individuals, talk less of when someone who you consider your other half, takes part in temptation rather than helping you flee it. Whether you are religious or not, everybody has things that they desire in a partner, and it is unfair to settle for less than you desire and punish the other person for not fitting into your ideal. I’ll use a silly example; say I only want to marry someone with brown eyes but I find myself dating someone with blue eyes. I can’t be angry at them or force them to change because I entered it knowing they had blue eyes even though I wanted brown eyes. But often we find ourselves settling for what we do not want because whether we like to admit or not, we hate being lonely. However, it is crucial to not let today’s loneliness cause you tomorrow’s heartbreak; in simpler terms “it’s more trouble than it’s worth”. There are so many unproductive relationships we can avoid if we are secure in what we want and do not settle for anything that presents itself as less.
Let’s keep it real though, not everyone that calls themselves a Christian will flee sin (we are all sinners at the end of the day). That is okay… that is none of my business nor is it my place to judge, to be honest. The only time it becomes my business is when it relates to the person I decide I want to date. It is important for us to be with people who have a similar mindset and goals or at least ones that do not conflict with ours. More importantly, the same desire to be Christ-like, otherwise, like I said it becomes a constant battle and a continuous compromise. If you want to date someone who is striving towards the same things as you, it should take a whole lot more than the quotation of a few bible scriptures to get you practicing your wedding vows. After all the devil himself used scripture in an attempt to tempt Jesus #Justsaying.
When entering a relationship with anyone whether you are religious or not, it is beneficial to ask yourself what are my “non-negotiable’s”? Meaning, what are things I will not compromise on, and what are things I am willing to meet someone halfway on. Having non-negotiables requires wholeness and patience because depending on what they are you’ll filter out about 80% of people in your dm’s. So, if you are insecure and desperate, you won’t be negotiating anything, you’ll just take what you get.
“If you set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.” – Margaret Thatcher
“Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval.” – Thomas S. Monson
“All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.” – Mahatma Gandhi
That last quote sums it up for me. Whenever I was compromising I felt drained, like I would take one step forward and ten steps back. Something always felt like it was missing, but God was never lost, I was just blind to my self-inflicted pain. I was giving my all and getting nothing, then wondering why I felt empty. Don’t Plant your precious seeds in darkness and expect growth.
- Finding a life partner is not about ticking a few boxes. Sure a 6’3 ft chocolate cutie would be nice, but will he pray for me even when I don’t know?
- A man or woman’s heart who is TRULY after God, actions will speak volumes regarding his relationship with God. Finding someone with a fear of God is different from someone who can quote the Bible back to front. However, let’s not confuse this with being a ‘saint’, I did not say he or she would be perfect… so ask God for discernment.
- We often mistake a nice person for a good person, when the two are totally different. Everyone has the capability to be nice, being nice is such a shallow and in-unique quality. Not every person that is nice to you deserves your love. What you want is someone who is good, not just to you but to those around them, look at their friendships, their relationship with their family, why things ended with their ex’s (subjective). If you can identify patterns in these relationships these are things that tell you a lot about a person’s character. Finding someone who is wholeheartedly good is crucial; people who have been married for years often say that there are moments when love is simply not enough. When a person is good, no matter how they feel towards you they treat you with decency because that’s who they are.
- Not to completely discredit the second relationship I was in; but I found myself in that relationship, willing to compromise the core of my world (God), just because a “Godly” man had broken my heart. There are many wolves in sheep’s clothing, we must be wise to avoid them, but that does not mean going after wolves in admiration of their honesty and openness about their flaws. Just because it did not work out with one Christian brother or sister does not mean every Christian is a liar. The world of dating or courting is a complex one, and as mum always tells me you have to kiss a few frogs before you meet the “one”. Whatever issues your ex had is not a free pass to lower your standards, in fact, it’s a wake-up call you need to raise those standards.
- “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” [2 Corinthians 6:14]