Chris and I are celebrating our 7 month anniversary today. “We got engaged within 7 months of dating and we’ll be celebrating our 7 month anniversary in a few days. Can you believe that?” is what I asked Chris. Actually, we’ve been married longer than we were engaged – that’s a discussion for another day! Anyway, it made me think about what was so different this time around.
Prior to Chris, I’d been engaged twice. Yep, Chris was my third engagement. As I reflected on the differences, I was inspired to share my lessons learned. Before I do that, I would like to impart some words of wisdom to you. If you’re currently in a relationship, or engaged to be married, and you’re having reservations, it’s possibly time to move on. When neither of my previous engagements ended in marriage, I was embarrassed. I was concerned about what other people would think. Would they think something was wrong with me? Would they think I’m a failure? The truth is, the people you’re concerned about will be off living their lives and you’ll be miserable. Do what’s best for you. Sometimes, it takes more strength to walk away than to stay.
Based on my lessons learned, the advice I have for you is:
- Pray FIRST. You may be thinking, duh! But, here me out. In my previous relationships, I never sought God, first. I sought His guidance about a lot of things but never who I should date. It never even crossed my mind. Interestingly, I ran straight to Him when things were going south. At times, even praying for Him to deliver me. I’m so thankful God didn’t say, “You’ve been doing your own thing. Now you want my help? Chile bye!” What about you? Is your experience similar to mine or do you seek God before entertaining a relationship?
- Set Boundaries. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” We start playing the role of a wife long before get the title, wife. Then we wonder why things aren’t working out. God sets an order for a reason. When we step outside of that order, we get into trouble. Before Chris and I started dating we established a set of boundaries. If you don’t set boundaries early, you find yourself at a point of no return. Yes, 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us God won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. That when we’re tempted, He’ll provide a way out but the way out starts long before “Netfix and chill.” If you allow him to come over after dark and nobody is home, and won’t be home for hours, what do you expect God to do? Come down and sit on your lap? Sit on your hands? Wire your mouth shut? C’mon nigh! Don’t be foolish!
- Surrender to God. In the past, I took matters into my own hands. For example, after I graduated from college, I was offered a job in Colorado. In my mind, it made sense that the guy I was dating would come too. Who wants a long distance relationship? Clearly, I didn’t pray first, nor did I set boundaries. Had I sought God’s word on the matter, I would’ve known this was wrong because it contradicted His word. The first night I talked to Chris on the phone, I was smitten. He was different from any man I’d ever encountered. He seemed to be all that and a bag of chips but as soon as I hung up the phone, I prayed this prayer: Lord, if this man is not my husband, remove him from my life. Period. I’d wasted enough time. As our relationship progressed, we continued to surrender. Over and over again, God showed us His faithfulness. We dated long distance until we got married. Most of that time, I was in Colorado while he was in Alabama. God orchestrated it all. I didn’t do a thing! Oftentimes, we don’t see God move in our lives because we’re too busy taking matters into our own hands. Is God carrying your relationship, or are you?