Are You Relationship Ready?
Finding people that have suffered because of bad relationships isn’t difficult. It really doesn’t matter which continent you’re on. Experiencing heartbreak seems to be a worldwide phenomenon. What seems strange to me is that many people jump right into the next relationship, before they've had time to heal. Generally, these people are not relationship ready? Recently, I took a trip to Ecuador to visit my family, meet my newborn nephew, and help my father with some medical decisions. Before the trip, my mind was clearly on family, but the Lord used the long plane flight and my stay for a few divine encounters. You can probably guess the topic, I spoke about--marriage.
While flying back and forth on the plane and at the airport, I had the opportunity to talk with a few people that were at different stages in relationships. Unfortunately, four out of five were divorced. How sad! As far as faith is concerned, two were atheists, one an agnostic, and two other gentlemen reconnected with their faith in Jesus as we spoke. What a mix of people are out there. The atheists clearly stated that they didn’t need God in their lives. They believed that as long as they did something good in this life, all would be fine. They both felt this was what life was about. They obviously didn’t have the hope of eternal life.
I also spoke with a lady who shared how she had a few relationships with men, but that none of them worked out. Now she is married to a lady. One gentleman I spoke with told me that he was divorced and life had been very tough for him. He didn’t see any signs of true hope in his present romantic relationship. Both people were curious about my faith. I was excited that the women promised to read the Gospel of John. The other gentleman checked out my blog and sent me a note saying it was a pleasure to hear what I had to say.
My last conversation before my flight landed in Quito was with a man that was about to meet his future bride. He had been in a long distance relationship, but was ready to get married. It was refreshing to share some insights about preparation for marriage with him. He thanked me and said that God was in the midst of our conversation. He allowed me to pray for him. What a special moment that was for me and my new friend.
After landing, I talked with a young lady. She told me about a recent heartbreak and the wasted years of her life. Having suffered through a bad relationship, she has rededicated her life to the Lord. I shared with her that it’s better to not get married at times because of the threat of a painful divorce.
You hear stories like these all the time. Life is all about relationships and at times that means much sorrow. One theme in all the conversations I had involved dating after a breakup. How do you know you are ready to start dating after you have gone through a painful breakup? As I prayed and meditated on this, I realized that the answer for young people is the same as the answer for the divorced.
The first tip is to fall in love with Jesus.
Many people don’t understand what this means, but the best way I can explain the idea of “falling in love with Jesus” is by telling you that God loves you so much that he has given us the freedom to choose to love him back. He has given us his only son Jesus to bring us closer to him through his forgiveness of our sins. Jesus paid a big price, a ransom for all the ones that chose him and accept him as Savior. He gave his own life and took our place so we can have a loving relationship with our heavenly Father. Falling in love with Jesus means accepting what he did for you and me and thanking him by acknowledging that he has the first place in our hearts. We must let his Holy Spirit guide us, so we can joyfully surrender our life to him.
The second tip is to become whole and healthy through Jesus.
When Jesus came to this earth to die for our sins and give us eternal life with God, he also came to give us hope and healing. Physical, emotional, and spiritual healing are accessible to us. Become content with who God made you to be. I know this is a process, but the sooner we discover our true identity in Christ the sooner we can walk with confidence knowing that the only one that can make us whole is God. This will give you a head start because you’re not looking for a person to comfort you through your pain and emptiness. People can certainly help you heal from past hurts, but God is the only one that can bring lasting healing. Don’t settle for a “bozo” like Jackie Kendall says in her book “Raising a Lady in Waiting”. God is the only one that can totally fulfill your dreams and heal you. This healing is what makes us whole people and great prospects for marriage. I see many people that rush to the next relationship without being healed of past hurts. This makes marriage extremely difficult. This is the reason why you have to wait and ask God to heal your heart before you enter into another relationship.
The third tip is having a committed mind-set.
You know that you are going to honor and love the person in such a respectful way that you wouldn’t do anything to hurt him or her. You must think of marriage as the reason you’re pursuing a romantic relationship. The goal of starting a relationship isn’t to have casual sex. This implies a commitment to become friends first and to set healthy physical and emotional boundaries. Be careful to not rush into a physical relationship, but take time to get to know each other by being honest and vulnerable.
Be accountable to a friend. This might seem scary to some, but what it really means is surrounding yourself with people that have good marriages, who are trustworthy, and can speak into your life with love and respect. Make sure you know that you’re in the relationship to give. Prepare yourself for marriage by studying about it. Ask God, what the marriage commitment really means. Read the Bible and books that teach you about it. Make sure you know marriage is a commitment you make forever.