When I was younger, my expectations for relationships and marriage were bound to be disappointing. I felt something missing from my life, a hole in my heart that longed for attention, purpose, and happy feelings. I tried to fill this hole with relationships that didn’t honor God and left me feeling more worthless than ever.
Now that I have three girls, I truly hope that they learn why God created us to have relationships and marriage. I want to raise girls that know we will never find a perfect love aside from Jesus Christ. The people in our life will fail each and every day but our God’s love never fails. He is fighting for us and we should always be growing closer to Him instead of dwelling on how we feel in this world.
Here are a few points that I hope to teach my children:
It’s not about you.
I was a shy, 15-year-old girl that struggled with positive self-esteem and fitting in. As I would walk through our high school hallway, I would pass the popular girls holding hands with their popular boyfriends. These girl appeared to be happy and confident, like they had it all figured out.
I believed that Jesus loved me and wanted a relationship with me, but I began to think that I needed more than Jesus. I couldn’t have been more far from the truth. This way of thinking led to a cycle of unhealthy relationships that caused more and more damage in my life as a teenager.
I was so distracted from finding the perfect guy and the perfect relationship, that I put God on the back burner. I didn’t feel His presence in my life because I wasn’t seeking Him. I was seeking a relationship that would provide only what I can receive from Christ.
I became boy crazy, having a new boyfriend each month because as soon as one guy would disappoint me I would move on to the next. I didn’t want to feel unwanted or ignored, which led to me wanting more attention. When I received too much attention, it would annoy me and I would want more space. It seemed like I would never meet the “right” guy.
The truth is I now have my guy and he isn’t perfect. At times, he gets on my nerves and ignores me, but I have learned that my purpose in this life isn’t found through my husband. God is my purpose and His unfailing love is enough for me.
It’s not about people at all.
We tend to have a list of unrealistic expectations for something in someone that we think will make us happy. For me, I wanted a guy that played music. I enjoyed playing guitar and drums, so naturally I thought that I needed to be with a musician. Even though I did end up marrying a musician, it wasn’t ultimately a very important thing.
Sometimes we idolize certain things in a person: funny, athletic, good-looking, smart, even “Christian,” and though those can be good things, they can’t sustain a lasting relationship. Our focus should be on Christ and our relationship with Him. If this is the case, we can learn to be content with someone even if they don’t check all our boxes.
No matter what we think we need in a person, we will never find perfection unless we are looking to God.
It’s not even about relationships.
Sometimes we see a couple and just think, “I wish I had that.” Or “They are perfect for each other.” It’s nice to have godly couples to look up to and mentor you through your single life, but you should never believe that a successful marriage just happens because you are in love.
Behind every marriage and every relationship, is a sinful person that will mess up everyday. We shouldn’t idolize the idea of relationships or the fulfillment that we hope to find from looking good to other people. We tend to want others to think that we are great, that our relationships are great, but as sinful people we have to admit that they aren’t always as great as we would like for them to seem.
I look back and see how Satan used the idea of finding love to distract me from God’s unfailing love for me.
God created marriage to be between one man and one woman for life. Submission and love between wives and husbands happens only when submission to Christ is already happening. We must truly believe in God’s design and the beautiful picture He paints for us of what marriage is supposed to be. Ephesians 5:22-33 says:
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
Respecting our husband begins the day that we become Christians. Submitting to our husband begins before we even have a husband.
It’s about trusting God’s promises, His design, and His plan for us. My desire is to teach my girls that we have a bigger purpose and it’s about living a life that honors God. We can search for ways to love and be loved but ultimately Jesus is all we need. I pray that my girls would have a passion for living a life that pleases Christ instead of relying on earthly relationships for happiness.
The truth is that we will find our happily ever after, but only when we are in Heaven with our perfect husband.
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