At Faith Filled Family, most of our messages are geared towards married couples, and sometimes we overlook those that are single and searching for the person that God has especially for them. There are many things that single people need to know, and be aware of because without this knowledge, no matter what your age, it can deeply affect your future. There are many pitfalls in dating/courting that many of us have been through out of ignorance- and wished that we hadn’t.
The most common mistake that is made when you are single is that “search for love”. Yet the success of this venture depends on your definition of love, and your expectations. If you expect that you will meet that special someone, and they will fill all of your love needs, you will experience devastation. There are some needs that only God can fill- not your spouse- and to place those needs on another person is a set up for failure. Before you even think about getting married, you need to have an intimate relationship with Christ, know His love for you, and know who you are in Christ.
When we know who we are in Christ, and are grounded in our identity. we will not generally find ourselves attracted to people who are controlling or abusive. Most of the people who fall into the controlling/abusive category aren’t attracted to people who have self-confidence, but rather to those who have low self-esteem. They prey on feelings of low self-worth in order to gain control, and exercise superiority over another person. You may never guess it, but people who control others generally have the lowest form of self-esteem imaginable.
Entering into this type of marriage is a tough road, as anyone who has experienced it can attest to. It is not to say that victory isn’t possible if you find yourself in one, but the road is hard. The person who is being controlling or abusive never exercises outright control, but rather gains it very subtly, and does so out of what they say is genuine concern for you- but it really isn’t. Breaking the pattern is even harder, and can result in either a victory, or abuse escalating into something physical.
The most common pitfalls have a root of low self-esteem. Society preaches this idyllic love at an early age, but if you look at it, it is appearance driven. Love often centers around how physically attractive you are, but what we fail to see is that this type of love cannot satisfy. It is a superficial type of love that cannot successfully sustain a marriage. Too many relationships begin in a passionate moment, and society calls it love when in reality most of it is lust. Physical attraction is only part of what a relationship is all about- not all of it. When it is the only thing that is present and the couple doesn’t delve deeper into the individual, intimacy fails to exist. When the passion fades, so does the marriage because people tend to look at each other and realize that they don’t know each other. The world uses the phrase, “we grew apart”, but the reality is that they were never really together to begin with.
A godly relationship begins with really taking the time to get to know someone before a physical relationship exists. It says that the other person is worthy and worth getting to know on a deeper level. To have a sustaining marriage, you need to know how the other person thinks, what their feelings are, what they like/don’t like, what they want in life, etc. By talking to someone and getting to know them, you will find out if you can sustain a life together. They may be attractive, but if your core beliefs and wants clash, you will find married life a constant battle.
The issue of unhappy marriages usually stems from a superficial marriage between two people. It is a relationship that society repeatedly promotes and describes, but isn’t long-lasting. It is a relationship wherein two people are attracted to each other, but don’t know about much about each other or if they do, it’s not on a deep level. Those involved, after awhile, have a deep sense that the other person doesn’t really know about them, and if you ask the other person, most often they don’t have a clue about what’s important to their spouse. If you ask them to describe what they like about the other person, or what attracts them to their spouse, their response is often at a superficial level or not accurate. People change over time and grow. If communication doesn’t exist, or the couple doesn’t spend time with each other, their relationship never deepens.
Sometimes, however, relationships do sustain themselves on a superficial level, but they never really feel the depth of what love in marriage was designed to be. They only know their spouse on a very surface level, and often the cause for this is a trust factor. They keep people at a distance and prevent people from getting to close. The reason can have multiple origins, and can only be fixed through personal reflection. They keep people on a surface level, and you will note that they don’t have close confidants. They are always the ones to fix others problems, but never open up about their own personal life.
In a marriage, intimacy really doesn’t exist, and the couple has never really “given” themselves over to their spouse in any way. They are emotionally distant, and keep their spouse at arm’s length. There is only really a partial connection, and their spouse really only knows what they have revealed about themselves- no more. They are guarded and calculated about what they share because often they fear that it will ultimately be used against them.
What you need to know, as a single person, is that you are worthy. Most of us would just say, “yeah, I know” internally, but do you really? You need to know that you are worthy to be loved on a deep, intimate level, and that you are more than just a beautiful appearance. I grew up, like many women, being taught by society that in order to attract a “man”, you must be attractive. Everything centered around how pretty you were, and if your affections weren’t returned, you either weren’t pretty enough, or desirable enough. There was something wrong with you that left you undatable.
For many women, including myself, it lead to an eating disorder in an attempt to be good enough. No one ever told me that I was beautiful or special on the inside. No one poured any sense of self-worth into me or told me that I was worth so much more than what I saw of myself. I never thought that I was worthy of anything better than what I got. What I got, for the longest time, was relationships with people that weren’t worthy of me.
It’s not an attitude of superiority at all when I say “not worthy of me”. My parents described it as dating “loosers”, but the reality is that I dated people who didn’t really care about me. A few were verbally abusive, but many used me in one way, shape or form. All I ever felt was used deep down inside, if I were honest with myself. I was empty.
I needed someone to tell me that I was worth far more than I realized, and that God loved me, and said that I was worthy. I needed to know that I had a worth. I did, eventually, give my life to Christ, and through reading scripture, I found out the following things.
You are worthy- more than you know. You deserve someone who loves you for who you are on the inside- not just an appearance. Someone who loves you and is worth your time is someone who will take the time to get to know who you are as a person. They will not judge you, but encourage you through times of struggle. They will lift you up when you need them. You will be a better person because they are with you as your “cheerleader”. They should give you an “I can accomplish anything” attitude, not feelings of worthlessness. You should feel comfortable and secure with this person. Communication should be open and honest. If it isn’t, you should ask yourself why.
If you have a parent(s) who set rules governing dating, thank them, because not many do. They are not restricting you, but preventing you from emotional harm. If they say that he’s not good enough for you, then he may not be good enough for you. They aren’t being controlling, but what they are saying is that they love you enough to tell you that you deserve better. You deserve someone who will treat you like a prince/princess, and not like garbage. People who won’t let you settle for second best are treasures in your life because they often see things that you don’t. Parents who teach their children that they have worth raise children with high self-esteem and who make good decisions because they trust themselves. These types of parents are rare, in today’s age, but they raise children to live victoriously.
The key to finding “the one” has its roots in a relationship with Christ (He can guide you to the right person), and being grounded in who God says you are. The world cannot define you as it only has a mere perception of what you are. The only thing that should define you is God, and you need to know how precious you are to Him. It will boost your self-esteem, give you confidence (which is attractive in and of itself) and guide you into making the best decisions for yourself. Know that you are worthy in God’s eyes for only the best, and as a loving Father, He only wants the best for you. The one that God has created for you is worth waiting for, and you are worthy of that kind of special love. Never settle for anything less.