Have I missed out?
After a recent talk I did on dating, a woman in her mid 20s asked to speak with me. She explained that she had dated someone before for a long time and thought they would eventually get married. She then said:
‘He was great, but the enjoyment had been missing for a while, so we ended it. Have I lost ‘the One’?’
I get this question in various forms all the time, and it’s no surprise. Many people frequently hear that God is preparing ‘the One’, so no wonder they feel terrified by the thought of missing out. Throw in some conflicting feelings and confusion will inevitably follow.
Thankfully, I believe God has answers for us.
Finding vs Making
I think the first thing to realise is that the Bible never promises us ‘the One’.
Is that shocking?
We find that promise in movies, music, TV shows, but not in God’s Word. It never says God has ‘One perfect person’ for you, just wait for the delivery.
Rather, what we see is a rhythm of encouragements and commands calling us to build healthy relationships with God and neighbour (Mark 12:28-31), people in church (Galatians 5:13-14, Hebrews 10:24-25), people outside our communities (Leviticus 19:33-34) our enemies (Matthew 5:43-44) and spouses (Ephesians 5:21-33).
So I said to her, God’s rhythm asks us to get involved with building our modern romantic relationship based on mutual grace, forgiveness and love with someone worthwhile. This rhythm of making the One frees us from the fear of missing out.
Does enjoyment matter?
Thinking about how we build healthy godly relationships is essential because many people get hurt when dating. Taking dating relationships seriously is important. Nevertheless, it’s meant to be enjoyed.
Really, it is! I want people to enjoy dating.
The problem is people often only think about their own needs, use others and lead them on. Which is why I talk about love alongside commitment, attraction alongside healthy choices, our needs alongside selflessness so that mutual and real enjoyment can flourish.
So I reminded her that relationships take hard work and aren’t constantly fun, but she shouldn’t feel guilty about thinking enjoyment matters. God designed relationships to be a blessing (Genesis 2:18; 24:67).
I hope this frees her from previous fears and guilt, and she’s excited by God’s rhythm, which calls us to be involved in building healthy, mutually enjoyable, godly relationships.
This article was originally published on Relationship Dilemma on 12th June 2015.