To the Dating Girl:
I know you quite well.
Well, kind of.
I know we aren’t all exactly the same, but we probably have a lot of the same hangups when it comes to relationships. It’s how girls are wired. We crave connection and desire to be loved. We each want the man we love to pursue us well and show us that he cares.
There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s good to desire true connection. It’s how God made us.
But what happens in a dating relationship when things don’t go exactly as we hope, dream, and plan? Some of us girls tend to get discouraged. That discouragement can then bring out the worst qualities in us. The awful qualities that show how much we want to control.
Ehh… Just thinking about what happens when I don’t get my way makes me feel icky inside because, honestly, I don’t want to be someone who insists on everything going my way. I want to be easy-going and fun. I want to be faithful and patient as I trust God’s timing for things in my life.
But because I care so much about my dating relationship, I try my hardest to hold onto it. In fact, I hold onto it so tightly that the life sometimes gets sucked out of it.
I don’t like living in that place.
You probably don’t either.
My desire is to be in a relationship that’s life-giving for both people involved.
So how does that happen?
What I’ve realized is that if there are no red flags and if my boyfriend is truly seeking God’s will for the relationship’s timing, then the best thing I can do is just enjoy him. Even if I really, really want to marry him and he’s not moving as fast as I would like, I should recognize the gift I already have in my boyfriend. I should enjoy the beauty of being able to share a relationship with him in this season.
Because I was so enamored from the start of our relationship, I was constantly reaching for connection with Jonathan. I wanted so badly to connect that I didn’t go into our dates or times we spent together with the best attitude. I went into our times together wanting to go deeper in our connection. If our conversations didn’t meet my expectations, I would feel frustrated. Jonathan didn’t always want to talk about deep things or how he saw the future. A lot of times he just wanted to enjoy time with me.
I can be extremely driven. Because I saw the end goal of our relationship as marriage, I wanted to make sure we were on track. Having a deeper emotional connection, in my book, was a sign that things were where they should be. What I didn’t even stop to realize was that we could achieve that deeper connection organically if we would both just enjoy the time we spent together. The important topics can and have come up naturally at times when neither of us had an agenda and we were both at ease when discussing them.
It’s important for us dating girls to remember that while marriage may be the goal of a relationship, embracing the road we’re on to get there is just as important. God’s timing is key and we can’t be looking to our boyfriends (or future husbands) to meet all of our needs – only God can do that (Philippians 4:19).
The concept of just enjoying time with my boyfriend really hit home when I thought about the way I saw other friendships in my life.
Think about this:
How many times have you had coffee with a friend and then later been irritated by the fact that you aren’t as far along in the friendship as you hoped you’d be? Do you ever get mad that you haven’t covered as much ground as you wanted to cover in seven months of friendship? Do you get upset that your friends aren’t doing enough to show you that they love you?
You probably would never think that way! Sure, you love your friends, but you aren’t going into times with them with an agenda. You likely enjoy spending time with your friends and want to see them because it’s fun to connect and encourage one another.
Yes, a dating relationship with a boyfriend presents a different level of potential intimacy than just a friendship, but if we want our boyfriends to lead us we need to trust them to make that connection happen at the right time. For now, while there’s no ring, the best thing we can do is love them and enjoy them. And, actually, no matter what season we’re in – dating, engaged, or married – just enjoying our partner without expectations will help with contentment.
So, girl, if you’re anything like me, I invite you to relax. Take a deep breath. Think about the gift you have in your boyfriend. And then, remember to just enjoy him! You’ll be glad you did!