Where are my single friends? Today’s post is for you! I'm mainly addressing the ladies, but guys, I think you can find something in here too. You’ve been on my heart throughout the entire series of sharing how Kyle and I became a couple. I wish someone would have encouraged me sooner with what I’m about to share with you today, and hope with all of my heart that you feel loved and challenged in how you approach dating.
Before I dive in, I want to remind you that I’m not Dr. Phil, Tim Keller, Oprah or any other relationship expert you may admire. I’m just a girl trying my best to chase Jesus and encourage you with what I’ve learned. I’ve lived the single life, and ended up marrying someone who looks nothing like what I imagined! Through the ups and downs of dating Kyle, I learned how to slowly peel back the layers of my heart to let myself be known by someone I never saw coming.
Growing up in church, I was told I needed to date and marry a strong spiritual leader; a man with tenacious faith. Maybe you’ve been told this too. I wanted my future spouse to not only meet high spiritual expectations, but to also meet physical credentials, make me laugh, drive a shiny car, and earn a certain amount of money. These became empty boxes waiting for a check mark on my lengthy “future husband requirements” list.
Maybe you have a list too.
But I have to ask - where are your dating checklist requirements coming from? Or better yet, who are your requirements coming from? Your parents? Maybe your friends? Or maybe you’re setting your standards based off of who you see on Instagram or other social media outlets?
Maintaining standards in dating is wise, but who are you allowing into your heart and mind to shape your list? Allowing the opinions of others to guide your dating requirements is a guaranteed way to miss out on God's deeply rooted purpose, joy and direction for your life. If you’re a believer, I want you to know you have the opportunity every single day to tune into the powerful yet gentle voice of the Holy Spirit - the voice that provides unique wisdom, counsel and knowledge. You have the opportunity to let Him lead you into fruitful relationships worth investing in.
Your checklist is a nice guide, but it’s not the ultimate guide. God is, and He wants more for your life than pleasing people, aimlessly swiping right or checking off boxes.
Allowing yourself the freedom to open your heart and mind to the Holy Spirit’s direction, and maybe someone unexpected, is scary and intimate. It takes guts. But it’s a heck of a lot better than waiting on a man or woman who might not exist. The person who ends up capturing your heart will most likely not look the way you imagine via your checklist or Instagram feed. They're going to be better, but they might show up at a time and venue you never expected!
I often hear friends say, “There are no good Christian men out there.” And as much as I thought the same thing when I was single, I don’t think that’s the case. I believe with all of my heart there are spiritual leaders waiting for you – you just need to give them a chance!
If you’re single, I encourage you to take risks, to carefully let go of your strict requirements and to allow the Holy Spirit lead you. Kyle didn’t become a believer until he was 27. I was saved at 12. Kyle didn’t get baptized until he was 28. I was 12 for that too. Kyle had 19 tattoos when I met him. I have zero tattoos. In fact, nobody in my family has a tattoo except for my brother, who hid it from my dad for an entire year! I was afraid to introduce Kyle to my family because I thought my dad would ask him what gang he was in. If the two of us can fall in love and chase Jesus together, I know there is hope for you!
My heartfelt prayer is that you don’t disqualify a great person just because he or she might initially miss a check mark or two. I don’t want you to miss out on the joy of discovering someone’s character. Thoughtfully ask questions, kindly listen and learn, and if you find a deal breaker within those conversations, so be it. The Holy Spirit will lead you if you tune out the noise, and tune into Him.
I put together a list of questions to ask yourself, and the person you're dating if you are with someone. These questions are meant to guide you toward a place of self-discovery and understanding. I asked myself and Kyle these questions when we were dating, and it got real, really quick! God wants you to enjoy a healthy, Christ-centered dating life and marriage, but it takes a willingness to put in the work.
Questions to ask yourself:
Who are your dating standards coming from?
Are you clinging too tightly to your checklist?
Do you only date a specific “type” of person – do you need to open your heart and mind to accepting different people?
Are you in any way acting self-righteous in dating?
Are you writing someone off based on what you presume about their faith?
Are you letting fear stand in the way of dating?
Are you praying each day for your future spouse?
Questions to ask the person you are dating:
Is faith a priority in your life? If not, why, and are you willing to learn more?
What are your hopes and dreams in life? What are your goals?
Have you ever tithed? If not, what are your feelings toward money? Don’t be afraid to dig deep here – Jesus talks about money A LOT in the Bible. If it’s important to Him, how a potential future spouse views money should be important to you.
The best part of opening your heart and mind to God is the freedom you experience in letting go. Kyle is better than any checklist I could have pegged him into. When you surrender your fairy tale expectations over to God, you may be allowing in your biggest blessing yet.
PS - There will not be a new blog post next week - we will be on vacation! :)