Reading and understanding what the bible says about relationships completely changed my outlook on what I desired in a spouse. God’s message through scripture provided me with better advice than any friend or family member could of ever have given me.
Up until 2016, I believed in God but I was not doing any more than just that for my relationship with Him, especially not listening to what the Bible had to offer. Which I now know, is the most valuable guide I could have in my life.
After reading the Word and being filled chapter after chapter with its wisdom, my outlook on many things in my life changed. Any doubt I had within myself dissolved, I didn’t feel lost or depressed and the sense of “ having things” didn’t matter to me.
Should Have Felt Like Failure
I was living back at home at the age of 28, the first time in 10 years after leaving for college. I returned home with no job, no car and not a clue what I was going to do. This too, all dissolved, because for the first time in my life I realized God was in control of all of this. Yes, I had to put forth the effort to eventually obtain these things, but the sense of panic, and worst of all, comparing my current self to others faded away with God’s words.
Once I experienced God working in my life, there was no end to the possibilities in other areas that he could help me improve in.
One of the biggest changes I saw within myself was the relationship I created with my boyfriend, now current husband. Before coming to Christ, my outlook on relationships was very much similar to others and how society has influenced us to view it.
My Secular Relationships and Why They Failed
From a secular standpoint, I felt it was acceptable to have a boyfriend with whom you resided with before marriage. Having a relationship that was built on living like we were married, but indeed we were not.
I have had three long-term relationships that had not turned into anything more than just that. It felt like an act of playing house, but with always something greatly lacking. Now I know, that was indeed Jesus that was missing.
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:6
We already saw the obvious flaws and holes in ourselves and it had a greater impact on our relationship than we had recognized. We were living as “ one flesh” before we were joined and our issues were in plain sight. It was like we wanted to the benefits of marriage without the sacred commitment that the unification allowed.
It wasn’t until discovering why God guides us to wait to have sex before marriage, to marry before residing with one another and how to honor one another before your unity, did I realized how a rewarding these guidelines were. I knew I needed to follow God’s word to be truly fulfilled with my relationship with my future husband and I am so glad I did.
I then readjusted my outlook on mine and my husband’s current relationship and saw the long-term impact of waiting to have sex until we were married. I am going to be completely honest, it was difficult, but it was so worth it.
Nick and I both knew our relationship would be rewarded for following God’s word, even more so then if we decided to cave and have a short moment of feeling rewarded.
Why Listening to God’s Relationship Guidance Changed Me Forever
The Following 7 Things We Focused on in our Relationship to Uphold our Commitment to the Lord.
1. I Got into the Word
This helped me focus on God and not my worldly desires. It helped me keep in mind why we decided to wait. I can tell you the days that I go without reading even a chapter in the bible, those are the days I feel less grounded, even now. Reading the word of God each day is something I feel I must do to keep a growing relationship with God and some days it’s a way for him to reveal what I need to hear at that exact point in time.
It is something we can all do. Now that smartphones have thousands of apps, they also have a handful of Bible apps which makes it easy to read, comprehend and track your reading. I really enjoy the Read Scripture app because it not only gives you a few chapters to read each day, along with a few verses from Psalm, it gives you a great detail video for each book, breaking down what you are about to read. I would always do my readings in the morning, on the shuttle bus into work. On average the daily reading that is laid out for you takes 15-20 minutes to read, so anyone can fit that into their busy schedules, even I did!
2. Looked at Why We are Asked to Uphold These Godly Standards
If you look throughout the Bible, those who listen to God and followed his commands, in turn, were rewarded more than they could have ever imagined. The bible clearly explains and states guidelines for us to live by. Many confuse and misinterpret this advice as being told what to do, but since God granted us free will when he created Adam and Eve, this is not true. He is simply laying out a blueprint to live a rewarding and happy life.
Before my husband and I were together, we were in other relationships where God being the center (or even apart of our lives) was not there. The difference between our marriage and the “ play pretend marriage” like relationships we had experienced before, is quite profoundly different. And it’s not only different to us who experienced those different emotions and events in our lives, but our relationship now is so evidently guided by the Lord that others can see a clear difference. Our relationship is pure. In Hebrews 13: 4, it states “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”
3. Took Advice from Mentors
The great thing about being apart of a church is your church family. There are so many relationships that can be developed through bible studies, weekly service, and church groups. There are a couple of people who my husband and I have grown close with and having the ability to ask questions that are personal.There are many people we admire in our church family and often reach out to for advice when we need it. We also took a premarital course called Symbis through our church that both of our pastors lead. It was super helpful and it made us realize a lot of things about one another we may of not of known otherwise.
4. Attended Church Regularly
Attending church weekly is something that helped me when I felt weak during our engagement period. It kept me focused on why we were upholding to God’s advice.
If I miss a day of church, I feel not as charged for the next week. We need our weekly attendance so we can be filled with the Good Word our pastors have decided to share with us.
Being able to congregate with everyone in my church gave me the ability to hear something God wants to communicate to me and it backs my weekly readings as well. This has given me an even stronger foundation of my faith especially when things had become tough in our relationship.
5. Kept Appropriate Boundaries
I read about this exact advice in one of the first Christian articles I came across when I first started dating my husband, and I laughed at it. But soon realized how great this advice really was. This has to be one of the most difficult rules we implemented into our relationship because we really love each other.
You want to show affection towards one another and have that feeling of mutual attraction. But, if you are waiting for marriage like we did, this recommendation is very important and it’s worth it.
If you have a date night, go somewhere outside of your house. Try and avoid activities that require you being alone with one another. This will help avoid being snuggled up on the couch with one another, making this even more difficult.
6. Realized Short-Term vs. Long-Term Pleasure
The old saying “ Good things are worth waiting for” is not an understatement, especially when it comes from God advising you to wait.
We both saw the potential of how much stronger our relationship would be if we just took God’s advice and waited. So we did. We knew if we waited, that pleasing feeling would be carried further than just within the bedroom and it has. Knowing on our wedding day that we had waited to have a sexual relationship was the very first goal we had accomplished as husband and wife. We did it with our heads held high, facing the Lord because we had put him first above ourselves.
Praying is the foundation for most advice I will give. It gives you time to talk with God, quiet your mind and lay down any sins you want to be forgiven for. It also gives you time to ask God for guidance and strength. This is something we both do every day and it’s given us time to think about what we want out our relationship before it had even developed. Prayer, combined with daily reading and weekly attendance to church was what ultimately gave us the strength to wait before marriage.