I have had my fair share of unhealthy, harmful, and heartbreaking relationships. But that still makes me no expert! After a series of these types of dating relationships, I found myself searching for more meaning and purpose in love... and this is when God grabbed a hold of my heart. It was a process, but over time, I came to understand and believe that unlike the guys I had been in relationships with, God....
loves me for who I am, not for what I do
is always with me, because of who He is
sees me as beautiful, for He created me in His own image
always desires His best for me.
How freeing that was for me. And it wasn't until I grabbed a hold of that Truth that my heart was ready for the kind of love with a man that God desires for me. When my heart was ready, God introduced me to the love of my life! But even in dating Tyler, my now husband, I had to be careful... after all, how was I sure that he wouldn't hurt me like the others had? I only have one heart and with it I must make it through all of life... I knew I needed to take good care of it.
Well, Tyler and I shared values and beliefs, which allowed for communication with ease on topics like physical boundaries, life goals, and knowing God more deeply. Without a shared belief system (in our case, our belief in Jesus), you're asking for trouble and ultimately setting yourself up for failure and heartache. I also put into practice "guarding my heart" as we're told to in Scripture. How? Well, first and foremost, I had to at all times surrender Tyler and our relationship -- trusting that God could choose to end it at any time -- I had to trust God's plan for me, and for us. There were also topics we chose not to discuss early on in our dating relationship. We set physical boundaries and to up the ante, we were careful to not put ourselves in situations that would be more tempting (for instance, we wouldn't spend time alone in an empty apartment together late at night). We also involved other people in our dating relationship -- and by that I mean, we had a married couple give us wise counsel, we had friends we would spend time with as a couple and as individuals, we spent time with one another's families. We were dating exclusively, but we were not all that each other had.
As you prepare your heart for dating and guard your heart in dating, I urge you to seek God. Without Him, we can do nothing. He knows you better than you know yourself, so trust Him to introduce you to who He has for you! They'll be more perfect for you than you could have ever imagined!
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
- Proverbs 4:23