It is no secret many Christians are looking for a spouse, but what is even less of a secret are the incredibly slim number of choices when it comes to finding a Christian partner, but why is this such a problem, God only intended for us to be with one person anyway–the one he choose for us, which does not require a multitude of options to be available!
The Universally Closed-Minded Dating Lament Christians Should Never Make: There Are No Good Dating Options
We live in a society that offers an incredible amount of choices for almost everything we could possibly we want
Whether it is the food we eat, the clothes we wear, our entertainment choices, the car we drive, where we live, etc…, there is no end to the list of possibilities available to us
On top of this, companies pay billions of dollars in order to be our brand or product of choice, so from a very young age, we are beyond familiar with the concept of options, and selection based on our preferences
However, when it comes to finding a spouse, many of us enter the dating world with the same attitude we have been raised with as consumers, ie: the world revolves around us, and caters to what we want
Well Sweet Mama Stringbean, that just is not how it works when it comes to love!
Also, despite our feelings of anxiety or desires for a relationship, no matter what our logic is, we cannot overlook the fact that God has one person set aside for us, not dozens, so it is not exactly a shock if there are not a myriad of options out there, and it is no cause for alarm either
If we have not found the person we are going to marry yet, it just means God’s timing, and plan has not been fulfilled, but it does not mean it is time to panic, doubt or get depressed, we just need to trust God, and keep living for him regardless
Not the easiest thing to accept, especially when are feeling particularly alone, but it is the truth
The Worst Thing To Carry On The Journey Towards Marital Bliss Is A Sense Of Self-Entitlement
Even though it often feels right to do so, it is unreasonable to bring the same sort of consumer expectations, or sense of self-entitlement, into the pursuit of a partner, as there is no guarantee from a Fortune 500 company that our timing, or selection criteria, are being taken into account
Oh but come on, Christians never have a sense of self-entitlement when it comes to finding a spouse right?
Sure they do!
One very common example of Christian partner self-entitlement comes in the form of getting upset with God when we do not find the perfect partner, or even a tolerable one, in the time frame we want
When that happens, many Christians are quick to say things like:
“God, why is everyone around me happily married or in a relationship but I am not, where are my blessings?”
“I know you want me to be happy, but I feel so alone”
“Why are there no good Christians to date, my search seems impossible!”
How satirical is that kind of thinking though
I mean honestly, even though we are Christians, in a loving, life-changing relationship with the creator of the universe, somehow our lives are just so filled with emptiness that only a relationship with another human being could fix the void we feel inside
Okay sure, God created mankind to have partners, but is it any reason to get upset with, or complain to, God when we do not receive a partner in the timing we want–when we became Christians, was there a contract guaranteeing we would receive a partner when we asked for one, or even receive one at all?
The mind-boggling, surprising answer is no, as the Bible promises a lot of things, but finding a partner in our timing is not one of them
That is, unless you read Second Hezekiah, which clearly states:
Second Hezekiah 3:24
All those who believe shall receive exactly what they want, when they want it, especially when it comes to spouses, relationships, and wealth
(There is no such thing as Second Hezekiah by the way!)
Think about it like this:
Did Adam complain about not having a suitable helper or did God provide him with one proactively?
The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him”
…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him
When Adam was walking intimately with God, he did not feel a gaping cavern of unfulfilled emotional need, or lament over an overwhelming sense of loneliness–there is no mention that he was unhappy at all!
Despite all the things we want out of a relationship in the form of companionship, physical interaction, a best friend, etc…, one thing that is often completely overlooked, is what God wants us to experience in a relationship, ie: he wants our marriages to be centered on him, and not become a distraction or idol
So What Does A Christian Relationship Actually Look Like
Okay, so I know these exist, as after decades of searching for what I wanted, God gave me what he saw as an ideal relationship, which was what I actually needed–a relationship that glorified him first
Whoa, hold on!
So does that mean, apart from our desires and list of characteristics we want in a partner, God has a set of criteria he wants to see fulfilled in our relationships as well?
Well, no offense, but duh!
As someone who neurotically looked for a partner for decades, I can assure you, the things we often seek in partners can be rooted in entirely self-centered, unspiritual desires, ie: validation, physical interaction, increased financial stability, boredom, etc…
To make this more personal, when I look back at the relationships I chased in my own life, my standards became particularly diminished when I felt the most alone, depressed, desperate, etc…, but these temporary emotions did not change God’s plan for my life, or his plans for the one he intended to bring into it
Yes, an amazing, surprising fact, I know
To show a few examples of what happens in a Christian relationship, here are some glimpses into the past year of my marriage
One example, is when we were still in the early stages of dating, we felt like everything was right, and we were meant for each other, which is a totally unique and infallible feeling (/endSarcasm), but instead of throwing ourselves head first into marriage, I asked God what his timing was instead. His answer was that we should be married in June, which was sudden since we had only met in September, but with that said, we actually did end up diving in head first
Another example, before we were were married, was when I was in Vietnam, and she had been fasting with my mother for a week to go through a period of spiritual warfare to break the bonds the enemy had over her after first becoming a Christian. Right in the middle of this process, God spoke to me as clear as day and said:
“She is free”
Immediately, I texted my mom the very words of God, and, in what was no shock, at the very moment I texted, they were finishing up after ten hours of prayer–I of course had no idea what was going as I was in the middle of working against a crazy project deadline without any form of communication on the progress of her warfare, and while being on the other side of the world in Vietnam no less!
Another example, is when Amy was out in a very poor, crime ridden area of town doing street ministry, and I felt God’s power wash over me like a wave. Immediately, I texted Amy asking her what happened, and she wrote back talking about how she had been speaking with a homeless person, and felt overwhelmed with the power of God when this person was expressing their heart-felt belief in God. What I told her in response, was that was the miracle working power I had felt in the past when God wanted to do something miraculous as the result of someone’s sincere faith
Also, just a few days ago, before I flew to NY for a sales trip, Amy and I said goodbye as she was on her way to a hospital to visit a man who is suffering in the depths of life threatening addiction, and when we hugged goodbye in the middle of a crowded San Francisco street, surrounded by hundreds of people, she asked if I would pray with her–I did so without a second thought, regardless of anyone that might have been watching
All of these moments would have been impossible, or beyond awkward, if I was in a relationship that did not have God at the center of it
This is why I keep saying how important it is that Christians not have relationships with non-believers or be involved with Christians who do not put God first in their lives–relationships with God’s supernatural love at the center are beyond comprehension, and cannot even be remotely compared to non-Christian relationships, no matter how good they seem
God does not want us to be with people that separate us from the most important relationship in our lives, he wants us to be with people that increase our intimacy with him, and are a blessing, given according to his will, and timing
Oh Sure, You Know What Is Better For You Than God Does, I Totally Believe That
Okay, let us face it, how many things have we desired in life that have turned out to either be completely meaningless or just not the best thing for us, especially when it comes to relationships
It is interesting to note the things we found appealing in others before we knew God, compared to what we find appealing now
1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me
Since this natural fluctuation of our tastes happens as we mature, and continue to grow in God’s love, we should trust God will provide us someone when we are ready, and the other person is ready as well, getting all desperate, whiny, etc…, about it is not going to make a relationship happen faster, and just reflects some type of self-centered desire that is leading us to put too much importance on a relationship anyway
After a lifetime of searching, and after experiencing a short time of God’s blessing this past year being married, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, there is no replacement for a God-given relationship
No matter how inviting something from the abyss may seem, just do not give in when finding a relationship feels hopeless, and continuously seek to honor the will of the one who called us out from darkness, even when it seems like meeting the right person seems impossible–as God’s children, we are called to be more than just a person in a relationship, and we are, thankfully, blessed with more than just receiving a spouse!