A Pre-Relationship Posture (For Single Women)

26 01 2012

Being the pastor of a relatively young congregation, I often get questions from young adults about relationships, and how to keep God at the center of that pursuit.

One question that I have received, maybe more than any other, is from single young women.  It usually goes something like this…  “How do I know if a guy is interested in being more than a friend in Christ and how do I guard my heart in it?”

It truly is a great question, and I am proud that so many young women have the wisdom and maturity to ask it.  Making sure you answer this question with the right answer can ensure a blessed and God-honoring marriage… but if not, it can lead to all kinds of relationship problems down the road.

Before a young woman can find the right answer, they must be willing to allow God’s word to shape their view of what a God-honoring relationship looks like.   God invented the marriage concept and has given us His word to guide us in establishing God-honoring relationships and to live them out.  If a person doesn’t have a commitment to do relationships as God designed, there will always be confusion and guessing.  Without the guidance of the “relationship creator” we will be destined for poor choices, failed relationships, and broken hearts.

So what does God’s Word reveal about the structure of a God-honoring marriage?  Ephesians 5:22-33 lays out the foundation.  Here it is in a nutshell:

  • Husbands are to take the lead in the relationship.  (Eph. 5:23)
  • Husbands are to sacrifice their own personal desires (Love) for what is best for his wife and family. (Eph. 5:25)
  • Wives are to follow their husbands lead.  (Eph. 5:22)
  • Wives are to respect their husband.  (Eph. 5:33)
So, to sum it up, the husband has been given the task of being the Spiritual “Head” of the marriage relationship, and the wife has been given the role of partner or team-mate.  The husband is to have Christ as his “Lord”, and from out of that relationship, is to lead the marriage in a direction that exalts and honors Christ.  The wife is to support and respect her husband and work together with him in the pursuit of fulfilling God’s purposes for their marriage and family.  To accomplish this, it will take two devoted individuals who are committed to working together.  When it all works as God designed, God’s purposes are accomplished in big ways!

Here’s the big idea.  The structure of a healthy marriage is vitally important for you to understand and live out right now… even before you get married or into a committed relationship.

Think of it this way.  My high school basketball coach used to say, “You play like you practice”.  If you practice the right things the right way, those things will come out at game time.  However, if you don’t practice the right things in the right way, then when it matters most, those things will be totally absent.

In relationships, we play like we practice.  Think of your pre-relationship times like relationship practice.  Your job is to prepare yourself for game time, both physically and mentally.  You have to practice right boundaries, right thought patterns, right attitudes, right prayer focus, etc… Then, when God brings the right guy into your life, you will be ready for God’s very best.

However, if you allow unhealthy practices into your relationship before you get married, there can be no reasonable expectation that things will change once you tie the knot.  If there isn’t a shared Faith before marriage, chances are, there won’t be one once you get married.  If there isn’t a complete commitment to a Christ centered, God-honoring relationship before marriage, you can’t reasonably expect that the priorities within your relationship will change once your married.  It just doesn’t happen.

So what should the posture of your life be as you are practicing and waiting for God to bring Mr. Right into the picture.  Here are a couple thoughts:

  • You must learn to wait on God – God knows the kind of man you need and He knows what it takes to be the Godly Husband you deserve.  If you are trusting God, then God is in the process of making Mr. Right, Mr. Right.  God also knows the kind of woman you need to be and He will purposefully develop your heart and character in His time.  If you don’t wait for His timing, you can end up rushing into a relationship that is just not ready for Game-Time.  Wait for Him to bring the right relationship to you, rather than establishing one yourself, and then hoping He will bless it.
  • You must resist the urge to pursue – If you want a Husband who will boldly and courageously lead your marriage and family toward Christ, then you must allow him to follow Christ in whom he will pursue.  Many young women are afraid that if they don’t “put themselves out there” or let the man know they are interested, that the guy will never notice them or be aware of the possibility of a relationship with them.  The problem is that God doesn’t need any help in directing the right man into your life.  If the guy is not sensitive enough to the voice of God to hear His direction toward you, then he is probably not a guy who has the capacity to lead your marriage and family toward Christ.  To be a Godly husband, he must be able to discern God’s voice and respond accordingly.  If you are afraid he won’t hear God enough to pursue you, then he might not be the right guy, or he may need more time to mature and deepen his relationship with God before entering into a relationship with you.
  • You must learn what to pray for and what not to pray for –  Here is where I find so many young ladies start to struggle.  They begin to pray in the wrong ways about their future relationship, which makes it very difficult to keep the right heart when they find themselves around potential husbands.  Often they see a guy whom they notice and are attracted too, so  they begin to pray for that specific guy to be the one.  In your prayers, you should avoid praying for specific men, in the context of a potential relationship, unless they have initiated the formalization of a relationship (expressed interest or asked you out).  Until that happens, you are only setting yourself up for heartbreak (if the guy chooses a different direction) and temptation (to initiate or pursue).  Rather, in praying for your future spouse, pray for his spiritual development, for his life’s calling, and for his surrender to God’s leading, but do this in a general sense.  This will keep your heart from being caught up and hurt, and will keep your eyes open to all the possibilities that God may be bringing into your life.
  • You must learn to embrace a “Gentle and Quiet Spirit” – 1 Peter 3:3-4 says this “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.  You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”  It is an incredible temptation to think that “external beauty” will attract a the heart of a “Godly Man”.  However, a genuinely Godly man will be attracted far more by Godliness in you, than the external beauty that the world values.  A Godly man desires things that are precious to God, and for God, that is a “gentle and quiet spirit”in you.  What is a gentle and quiet spirit?  It is simply a spirit that is fully at rest and peace with God in control.  There is no worry or fret, no struggling or fighting.  A gentle and quiet spirit is fully surrendered to the will and providence of Christ.
  • Keep your eyes open to what Godliness looks like – It is unfortunate, but there are few examples of truly Godly men in the world.  However, they do exist and you will benefit yourself to keep your eyes open for them.  When you see one, pay special attention to what Godliness looks like, lived out in a man.  Things like how he treats his wife, how he treats his children, what kind of things he values, what kind of nature does he have.  The reason this is so important is because when a man expresses interest in you, you will want to know if the fruit of his life exemplifies Godliness  BEFORE you enter into a relationship, because there are no guarantees that they will manifest after you are together.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience his character or nature beforehand, then do some investigation.  Before you commit to a relationship, consult your pastor, his pastor (if different), and others that may give you guidance.  A Godly man will stand up under the light of scrutiny.

So, for all you ladies out there, wondering and worrying about Mr. Right, and when he will be coming along, just know that God has some great guys in development.  He has been forging them and shaping them to be Godly leaders in their marriages and in their families.  God is cultivating and nourishing them, and teaching them how to hear His voice and boldly obey.  And when the time is right, for both you and him, God himself will intersect your paths.

Why?  Because a God-honoring marriage is exactly what He has in mind you.