In listening recently to a series of podcasts by Andy Stanley to singles, I heard the best question I have ever heard with regards to finding a mate. With this simple question, Pastor Stanley encouraged his listeners to shift their focus from finding the One to becoming the One.
“Are you who the person you are looking for is looking for?”
In other words, if you met the perfect person for you today, would that person be attracted to you? Or would your actions and reputation keep them at arms length?
This is a tough, but desperately needed question for any single person desiring a godly, happy, marriage someday. I know of many singles who think that if they can just get married, their financial problems will cease to exist, they will be motivated to exercise and stay fit, they will magically be more concerned with the other person than themselves, their lustful desires will go away, and everything will be perfect.
This is SO not true.
And yet, many of us, myself included, have had thoughts like this. The truth is, when two people get married, they bring themselves into the marriage. They don’t become different people, they just become married people. If you have a hard time saving money now, you will have a harder time saving money later because now two people are involved. If you don’t take care of yourself now, you probably won’t find time to do it after you are married either.
Pastor Stanley’s advice continues throughout his four part series, “The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating” (follow the link to listen to the podcasts) Here are a few thoughts that I found to be powerful:
Determine that, “I will not be someone’s regret.”
“The present will be your past which will be present in your future.”
“A lack of preparation cannot be trumped by a promise.”
“Commit now to becoming someone who can keep their promises later.”
These are such crucial things to remember when contemplating marriage. Before you ever go down that road, or if you have already begun a relationship, take steps now towards becoming the person that God says you are to be, specifically regarding relationships. Honor all men as being in the image of God. Don’t man bash them when they aren’t around. Set up guardrails around your purity. A lack of preparation will guarantee regret later. Deal with emotional trauma from your childhood. Get rid of bad habits that you wouldn’t want your future spouse to bring into a marriage.
If you know you are solidly entrenched in the world’s philosophy of dating and you aren’t sure how to change that, Pastor Stanley suggests making an appointment with yourself for a year from now to resume dating. Within that year, refuse to do anything that could lead to a relationship. Instead, focus on changing yourself. Entrench yourself in Scripture, pray for the Holy Spirit to change your thoughts, practice becoming a person that honors the opposite sex. I would also like to add that when that year is over, determine that you will keep your standards for yourself and any future mates high. Don’t settle for Mr. Right Now when with a dose of godly patience, you can have God’s best.
Another side note from me…Men are not a means to an end. They are souls made in the image of God and should be treated as such. They aren’t sugar daddies or baby daddies or a better option than being alone. Single Christian women, we have an obligation to model biblical thinking about relationships to the world. So…
What path are you on?
The common path of culture leads to loose dating and difficult marriages ending in divorce. Choose God’s path of purity and wholeness and you will enjoy a marriage full of love, trust and intimacy as God intended it to be.