Grains of Rice: Relationship Redemption
In relationships, Jesus cares about my sanctification, not my satisfaction.
The most common thing I see on social media and hear from people is “I just want someone who can make me happy”. Well, I think Jesus doesn’t wants your happiness. This is a concept I have struggled with for a long, long time.
Ever since middle school, I’ve struggled with girls accepting me. I was always the tall, awkward guy who was NOT good at talking to girls (maybe still am not??). So in high school, when the first person really liked me, I latched on to that. I finally had the acceptance I wanted. There was no substance to the relationship, it just satisfied me for a time because I finally had someone I could call my own and go do fun things with. That was it, we didn’t have an agenda for the future and we weren’t pursuing Jesus as a couple. Really, the relationship was just there because it was nice and was easy. But after the first 2 years and I went off to college, the depth of the relationship really started to show through. Because we didn’t have a common goal, the distance was hard. I started to nitpick the little, stupid things because I wanted something more.
So eventually we broke up and I moved on to the next thing…
Another girl who liked me. YES, more acceptance. This relationship had more substance than the last, but my mind was completely geared toward all of the fleeting things about dating. I cared so much about physical, emotional, and personality compatibility that I abandoned the truth: nothing of this world could satisfy my soul.
Even still, I kept searching for that “something more”. I had a friend bugging me weekly, saying “dude, you need to get out of this, you’ve lost focus”. I had, but for months, I ignored him. I wanted atonement but I was too comfortable with where I was at. I started to nitpick the little things again trying to mold her into my “perfect person”.
Thankfully things changed, and, in the early summer months of 2015, I listened to my friend and found myself single for basically the first time in 5 years. I knew from these two relationships something had to change. I started reading an awesome book, Love-ology by John Mark Comer. Seriously, if you are a person (hopefully all of you are), go buy it, at whatever stage you are at in relationships. It opened my eyes to a lot of things, the biggest one being that Jesus doesn’t care if I’m happy.
The purpose of dating is marriage, and the purpose of marriage is to point to Christ. Therefore, the purpose of dating is to point to Christ.
Nowhere in that statement is happiness a part of the equation.
I began to realize that my criteria for who I wanted to date was all wrong. Initial attraction is a great thing, but the name suggests exactly the purpose of it, to attract. Not sustain. Not cultivate. That next person had to be someone who was “equally yoked” as the Bible says. Someone whose love for Jesus is their #1 goal, as I strive to do the same. I wouldn’t settle for anyone that wasn’t marriage material. After all, that should be the goal.
I learned a lot that summer, and as I was nearing the end, something crazy happened, ANOTHER girl liked me.
But this time, I was ready.
Right now, I am engaged to the most beautiful, God-fearing woman that I know. The single pool will really take a hit on May 20, 2017 when she finally becomes mine permanently.
As I anticipate that day, I love to reflect back on that kid I was those years ago. I still struggle with a lot of the same stuff, but my purpose is different. Christ first. And the craziest thing has happened, I am the happiest I have ever been, because not only am I with a great girl, but closer to God than I have ever been.
He is the source of my satisfaction.
To close, I’ve compiled a little list of things I’ve learned along the way:
- High school relationships are most of the time really dumb.
I saw some crazy statistic that the high school sweetheart divorce rate is like 70%. So if you’re in the small population that actually marries that person you dated in high school, then you’re still not looking very good. Yet, 90% of us that date in high school are in no way thinking of marriage. It’s a pointless relationship.
2. Don’t search for your future wife in a bar.
Have to be honest here, for a short time I thought “there could be a lot of awesome Christian girls here partying at this bar on Thursday night”. I quickly found out that the best place to search for a potential spouse, in light of what I have talked about, is church. Obviously you can meet people other places, but my point is, your success rate goes way down at a bar on the weekends. it’s easy to want to try to mix partying and finding a godly wife, but the chances are slim.
3. Personality compatibility doesn’t matter as much you think it does.
Jonathan Pokluda at Watermark said it the best I have heard: “Sinner are not compatible with sinners.”.. I think it’s important to be interested in the same things, but it all comes down to pursuing Christ daily together. You’re going to butt heads, you’re going to fight, but having that common goal and purpose is HUGE.
4. Don’t settle because you’re comfortable.
If during the relationship you have an epiphany that it probably isn’t the best thing, don’t be afraid to end it! That sounds terrible, but it’s easy to get comfortable and not want to have to start over. But the price gets higher the longer you keep it going.
5. Love Jesus first, and he will bring the right person along.
The best prep you can do is pray often and get to know God better. Trust in God’s plan for your life, and know that if he calls you to marriage He will show you that person, whether it’s the person you think it will be or not.