Ten years ago, Christianity to me was a mere matter of classification which I needed to know for filling out forms. At times, I also saw it as an “opium” for my soul, with its rituals and propensity to go the way of good works.
I was already 25 when I realized how wrong my views about faith were, and decided to take it to the level of relationship. It was because every person I met through my new church told me, “It’s about a person.” Of course in the beginning I found it ridiculous, at least until I fell in love with Jesus. And in going through the motions of my newfound romance did I realize that there’s no better way to prepare for love and marriage than to go through it with Jesus himself. Here’s why.
Jesus teaches us how He hears from us and how to hear from Him. Communication with Him is largely coursed through the language of His Word (the Bible) and prayer, sometimes dreams, prophecies, and visions. However, He has different ways of saying them at different seasons of my life, and vice versa. It takes careful attention to His calls and messages for me to truly understand the what, why, when, how of the one who is saying it.
Just the same, in human relationships, many messages are not to be taken at face value but decoded according to the person saying it and the context of his/her season. Communication is always unique to a couple and their time, and useful in keeping both parties in the same page always. I know this because I experience alignment with God’s will when I am faithful to talk to Jesus.
It takes time to get to know Jesus, to understand who I am becoming in Him, and much of it to fall in love to the point of never letting go.
When we finally find the one we will spend the rest of our life with, time together is an investment that helps keep you together. Because this is the space where we build memories and prove faithfulness. No good and solid relationship can come by too quickly. No relationship will also progress if both parties do not even want to make time for it. Because time communicates more than just a schedule, to human beings it means value, desire, priority.
The simple setting aside of time every morning as I do my quiet time with the Lord, was great training for when I started to date Joseph, until today, when we already are a family of three. Now I know that even just a few hours or even minutes can mean much, when I set it aside especially for the ones I love.
Loving me cost Jesus His life. In return, it cost mine to be with Him.
Loving someone till death comes means a whole lot of costs, with the biggest item on the list as yourself. It will hurt, it will mean giving up people you hang out with, places you go to, even dreams and passions, a whole lot of money, that you might be with your loved one and keep the relationship healthy. And I am not sure if I could do that for my husband today if I did not see it first modeled by and done directly to me, by Jesus.
Commitment to be faithful, to stay true, to not give up easily, to not have any other, are not limitations but expressive of a stability both can rely on even when times get rough.
Jesus has shown that to me through it all– as He died for me even as I was still my sins, and remained patient even in my resistance and rebellion. Again, if not for Jesus, I think I’d have a hard time limiting myself and not grabbing other options the moment life gets hard for me and my husband.
Jesus is too unique, too divine, too mysterious sometimes that we ought to ask of the wisdom of other people about what He seems to be saying or asking us to do. (Aside from that, His commands are also clear about the never giving up meeting fellow believers part.)
Just the same, my husband and I highly believe that every couple must exist in a like-minded community, and have mentors or advisers who can help pacify, facilitate, mediate, clarify, advise, whenever it is needed. I am not sure of how many fights we skipped just because our mentors agreed to step in the gap. When I was still single, the same wise friends would also bridge me back to Jesus whenever there was a need.
Jesus taught me to trust even when I am not sure of what He’s going to do next. Because He is good and never-failing, I have learned to be more relaxed about putting my life in someone else’s hands, and in not thinking it would fall apart. (Actually with Jesus, it becomes even better!)
Just the same, I have learned to trust my husband even when we don’t agree and I don’t exactly know what he is going to do next, because Jesus has made it such a good and encouraging experience for me.
Jesus taught me He isn’t only divine and wise but also fun. That relationships must also be enjoyable and pleasurable. Over the years, I’ve learned that God has pretty crazy sense of humor and that has taught me much about how laughter and joy are highly useful in enduring the seasons in marriage.
I always tell single people this is the easiest part to create when you’re only beginning to date. But once married, this is also the first to go away, as the realities of life take over, like the bills you have to pay, the diapers you have to change, and more.
But because Christ does not stop pursuing, wooing, and surprising me, I have learned that relationships also need to regularly stop to create all the feels.
If you are wondering where love is, it’s in all the points above. To be able to do all that can only mean love is at work!
Now all these (and more!) you will learn, I promise you, as you pursue Jesus. But the best part about making Him first in your life a single person who hopes to date or marry someday, I say, would be these three things:
1. Hopefully, you’d automatically know that anyone who doesn’t know Christ, will not be on the same page when it comes to these things. He’d have a very different standard and even definition of all the values mentioned above and this, I think, is a point for deep consideration.
2. When you are finally in a relationship, you’d be more forgiving and gracious because you won’t be looking for perfection in a human being, having already received that from Jesus. Not that you will lower your standards, but you’d have a more realistic set of expectations and merciful attitude toward the other.
3. Lastly, you won’t mind never getting to date or marry because you will definitely realize that Jesus is all you need and you already have Him. And like what I once said before, I consider it mere bonus all else that comes after Him.
Happy Valentine’s month, single women. There is no reason to fret on this holiday because you are already loved. You are already pursued. And if you’ve said yes to Jesus then, yes, you are also in a relationship! And believe me, no human being can ever beat the love that you have with Him.