By: Raegan Thornhill, blogger at Delight in Him
I wish I could go back to when I was dating and just scream. Scream at myself for not seeing how detrimental it was to be dating a man who wasn’t invested in the Lord, and his goal was not to lead or protect me, but to selfishly get what he came for, whatever that may have been, and then leave.
Ladies, I’m going to say this as bluntly as I can: if the man you are dating is not a Christian, he is not the man for you.
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Trust me, I get it. I’ve made up these excuses numerous times to why I should keep dating guys who were not leading me in the right direction.
“He says He’s a Christian.”
“He has a favorite Bible verse.”
“He goes to church.”
I would compromise my beliefs in order to have a temporary comfort. My flesh was saying, “This guy is showing interest in you… What’s dating him going to hurt?” I got wrapped up in relationships and feelings when I knew the end of the road was near, and there was no commitment heading toward marriage. I may have thought I “loved” them, but the reality is, my heart was in the wrong place. You cannot know love without knowing Christ. So, ladies, let me say this: if he says he loves you, but he doesn’t know Christ, if Christ is not his first love, then he is deceiving you. It might be a worldly love, but it will never compare to Christ’s love, which is given to us through Him and only Him.
“But I’m so comfortable when I’m with him.”
“He makes me laugh, and we have a good time when we are together.”
“He makes me so happy.”
Those are all great things, and they definitely come along with loving someone. But I can guarantee you will find all of those things with about 1,000 other people in this world. That might be love on the world’s standards, but not on Christ’s standards. Because in a few weeks, months, and years after you’ve been married, there will be times when he doesn’t make you happy, when you don’t really want to be around him, and when your days are long and you just feel like giving up. What then? You have to choose to love him. Choose to choose him. Put his needs above your own, and ultimately preach each other the Gospel daily. Your ultimate love is Jesus, not your boyfriend or husband. They need to be there to constantly keep pointing you back to Jesus.
I remember sitting down with my now husband, Taylor, while we were dating and having to tell him all the sins of my past. I felt ashamed, guilty, and undeserving of Taylor’s love let alone God’s love. I remember tears streaming down my face as I asked for his forgiveness. I expected him to flee immediately–break up with me right then and there because he didn’t want to be with someone with so much baggage. I’ll never forget the way he reacted. He showed me grace. The grace I still don’t deserve–that I am a new creation in Christ, and God remembers my sins no more (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). He showed me I am indeed a wretched sinner, but because of Jesus I am free from bondage. It was that moment I knew I was going to marry Taylor.
Marriage represents Christ and His church. The unconditional love. The devotion. The adoration. The sacrifice. The joining together. It represents how much Jesus Christ loves us: His body, His church, His bride.
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When two sinners come together, the Gospel is displayed. Being married myself, I continue to notice how marriage reveals your sins. My husband has to forgive me daily for sinning against him and ultimately being selfish. Marriage is hard enough with a believer who grasps the Gospel, but bring an unbeliever into that, and it gets messy.
When dating your possible future spouse, you need to be constantly asking yourself these intentional questions: does he actually love God more than you? Is God’s Word his absolute authority? Is he actively a part of a Bible-believing church? Is he merely respecting your purity, or is he protecting your purity? Is he leading you closer to God? If you say yes, how? Do you see him as the father to your future children? Is he going to lead, protect, and provide for you, spiritually and physically?
Being intentional in dating relationships will help with unwanted heartbreak. It will keep you out of situations that are only meant for your husband.
Please don’t settle. Wait for the man who preaches you the Gospel and loves you like Christ loves His church.
Connect with Raegan at Delight in Him, and follow her on social media