Last week I wrote about love from 1 Corinthians 13. We studied that passage in our Bible study group. Some of those in that group, the youth group at church and many other people I know long for a serious relationship. They long to be married some day. They long to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. They long for companionship and love.
This longing is good and has existed even before sin was in the world. Adam had this longing. I had this longing. You may have this longing. But I want you to be ready for a serious relationship. I'm so glad I didn't enter one until I was ready (not entirely by my choice, but some of it was).
Below are some signs that you are ready for a serious relationship. These signs are written for men but may be helpful for women, too.
You're ready for a serious relationship if:
1) You know your strengths and weaknesses.
I believe you should discover who you are in Christ and how you were created before jumping into a committed relationship.
2) You can provide for yourself.
Men are to be providers. How can you provide for another if you can't provide for yourself? I'm not saying that you need to be rich by any means, but you should know how to take care of yourself. If you're sitting in the basement of your parents' house playing video games this afternoon you might want to wait to date.
3) You are spiritually well.
You will not be perfect until heaven, but you should be in a healthy relationship with God before you date one of His daughters.
4) You can lead yourself.
Men are called to be the spiritual leaders of our families. How on earth can you lead others if you cannot lead yourself? Are you disciplined? Do you pursue God? Don't pursue one of His daughters unless you're pursuing Him. Ladies, don't let a man love you unless He loves God more.
5) You want a Godly woman.
Boys chase after easy girls. Boys want girls. Men want Godly women. Men, pursue women like the one described in Proverbs 31. Women, be the Godly woman that Godly men want and watch how the boys stop pursuing and the Godly men start noticing you.
6) You want to love NOT be loved primarily.
This was a huge sign in my life that I was ready to find my wife. In my immaturity I wanted someone to love me. When I started wanting to love someone I knew I was husband material. See, God poured His love into me so that I was overflowing. I don't need to be filled by someone else. I need someone to share my overflowing love with. Do I desire to be loved? Yes. But that wasn't my primary desire. Desire to give love more than to get love.
7) You are willing to die for someone.
Men, could you potentially die for someone that you love? If you can't, then don't get into a serious relationship. Now, when you begin to date you don't have to be willing to die for them. But you should be prepared to reach that point with someone. I didn't say "I love you" when I was dating until I knew I could die for my wife Christine. She's the only woman I said that to, or will ever say that to, romantically.
8) You aren't scared by marriage.
Dating relationships end in one of two ways: you break-up or get married. Don't enter a serious relationship if you are petrified by the thought of marriage. Now, you don't have to be positive that you'll marry someone before you seriously date them. That's ridiculous. But you should be in a place where you could see yourself getting married soon. If you think, "Marriage is waaaay in the future." Maybe a serious relationship should be waaaaay in the future too.
The eight signs above are neither comprehensive nor perfect, but I believe we should be level minded when thinking about entering a serious relationship. If you've read this and feel that you aren't ready to date, then don't date. It's not that weird, in fact it will give you a lot of time to serve God and others and do some things that you want to do.
If you've read these eight signs and are more than ready to not only date but be married, I implore you not to lose hope. If you desire to get married you desire a good thing. Don't lose that desire, but don't be controlled by it either. Keep trusting God. Whether you're married, dating, not wanting to date or desperately desiring romance your charge is to trust God today.