My friend and I always find it funny that guys actually thought we were attractive during puberty i.e. before the ‘glow up.’ Astonishingly, they did. So much so that we ended up in relationships. However, the sixteen-year-old version of me certainly had no business being anyone’s girlfriend…
“Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right.” (Song of Solomon 8:4, NLT)
1. Your spiritual life is dead
It’s unfortunate that so many Christians view an active spiritual life as optional. Navigating a romantic relationship without Christ is like trying to assemble furniture without a manual: you might do well, but you’d do an even better job with the instructions. Your notion of what love is probably differs from Christ’s. However, your goal in a relationship is to demonstrate Christ-like love to each other; therefore, you need a strong relationship with Him to ensure you’re on the same page.
Your spiritual life will help you to determine whom you should be with (i.e. The Proverbs 31 Woman or The Ephesian 5 Man), and how you should conduct the relationship (e.g. boundaries). Without a strong spiritual life, you have no compass; you’re at the mercy of your own decision-making. In contrast, following the principles in scripture will help you to have a healthy relationship even if it doesn’t end in marriage. Therefore, during singleness you must spend as much time with Christ as possible. By the time you’re ready to be in a relationship you’ll be in the habit of obedience.
2. You’re searching for happiness
It’s not your significant other’s responsibility to make you happy. Why are you unhappy? You must ascertain the source(s) of your unhappiness prior to commencing a relationship and take measures to address the issues. Whilst they can help with the issues you’ve identified, if you came into the relationship unhappy, it’s not their job to ‘fix’ you. By entering into a relationship with that expectation, you place an unnecessary burden on that person. What happens if they don’t make you happy one day? Is that an excuse to stop loving them and move on to the next person?
All relationships have ups and downs. There will be times where you’re happy, and, unfortunately, times when you’re unhappy. If you keep hopping from one relationship to the next in search of happiness, as the common denominator, one could argue that you’re the problem. Therefore, there must be a need/issue you haven’t addressed, yet you’re expecting them to fill that void. Happiness isn’t elusive; you just need to take time to work on your issues first. Consequently, your significant other will add to your happiness, not make you happy.
3. You’re discontent with singleness
Personally, I think it’s possible to be content in singleness, whilst still aspiring to be in a relationship one day. However, some people are discontent in singleness and itching to be in a relationship because the grass looks greener. I’d go as far as saying they’ve made being in a relationship an idol. That’s a problem. Whilst it’s not always easy, it’s important to enjoy every season you’re in. Yes, that includes singleness!
If you’re running from discontented singleness because a relationship looks more appealing, then you might just be swapping one problem for another. What happens when you do suddenly get the relationship you’ve been idolising? Unless your desire for a relationship is matched with readiness, then your eagerness yields nothing. There’s so much for you to learn about yourself and relationships before you get coupled up – don’t put the cart before the horse!
A thriving spiritual life, internal happiness, and relationship preparedness is not an exhaustive list of prerequisites; however, having these three things in tow will make for a smoother (and hopefully successful) relationship. It’s your call when you decide to ‘awaken love’, but I wouldn’t advise beginning a relationship unless you had at least those things sorted. The danger of a premature awakening is that it does more harm than good.
Each person’s time is different.
It’s beautiful when two individuals come together that are truly ready for a relationship and all it entails. They are able to weather the storms of a relationship because they have rightly understood that “successful relationships are built in singleness” (see Guarding My Heart). Don’t awaken love purely because those around you have. It’s not a race. Even if you’re ready years later, the period of waiting (and preparation) will be beneficial for you and your significant other.
- Be circumspect – don’t be the kind of person that ‘unintentionally’ awakens love by being flirty or acting in a manner that might cause someone to think you were interested.
- Be intentional – if you are ready to awaken love, be clear with your intentions. Your mixed signals are hurtful and unloving.
- Be patient – being ready to awaken love doesn’t mean your significant other will appear immediately. Trust that your waiting and preparation has not been in vain.
Mutual attraction is not reason enough to be in a relationship. Relationships are beautiful… but not at the wrong time. Spare each other heartache by waiting until the time is right.