Hi Christian Youth Person,
You’re probably tired of reading and hearing about relationships and marriage by now, I for one am or at least I used to be. I used to shy away from relationship talks and programs because it was exhausting, like there are more important things to talk about right? Why can’t we talk about fulfilling destiny and walking in God’s plan for our life or divine wisdom or my favourite topic of all, the Love of God. I was completely exhausted and if you’re anything like me, I’m sure you are too. As I grew older, I realized that adults (our pastors and family) were talking about it so much because it is so important, even more important than we think. I realized that most people were either not enjoying their marriage and didn’t want us to make the mistakes they did or were enjoying it and didn’t want us to miss out on it. I find that with this thing there’s no in-between, that’s why I started taking it very seriously and why I think you should too.
I grew up in a very dysfunctional marriage and was surrounded by a lot of failed marriages. I have a few aunts that left their husbands because they were not happy and went on to do their own thing. My parents marriage also broke at some point and while God was able to restore the marriage, it took a lot of work and came with a lot of pain. It was through this I realized that a lot of people were enduring their marriage and/or relationships, and as a hopeless romantic I never wanted to experience that. When older Christian couples would talk about how much marriage affects your life, I would laugh and say they were being overdramatic but now I know they weren’t. In the past 5 years, I have seen things that could happen from marrying the wrong person. We recently buried not one but two relatives whose death can be linked to their failed marriages. I’m not trying to scare anyone and Lord knows I’m not lying when I say these things but it’s the truth and it’s happening in the world whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.
Moreso, people are now more open about their oblivion to the purpose of relationships and how to approach it. You’ll see weird (and sometimes cute) things on twitter tagged “relationship goals” and you’ll be left asking,“God when?” It’s so exhausting being single in this generation, I’m not even going to lie. You’ll go to Twitter to laugh and banter, next thing you’re seeing pictures of relationship twitter flying around and you’re just like, “Na wa oh God, am I not your child too? Abi do these people have two heads?” I know I’m shaking tables now but I too am on this table, my dears. I have realized that not all that glitters is gold—some of these people don’t even know what they are doing in the relationship and that’s just the truth. No one is talking about the foundation—about having God at the centre of your relationship, being comparable to your partner, serving God with your relationship, fulfilling purpose as individuals and as a couple, and the value both of you can deliver to each other. We only see the optics and that can be very misleading because the optics can always be manipulated to fit the narrative of its owner, so don’t be so easily deceived.
To avoid being swindled by the world’s perception and approach to relationship, God led people into my life that taught me to talk to him about it. That’s just it. That’s how God has been able to keep me in check, by being transparent with Him. Talk to God about what you want in a partner, and while physical appearance is very important, do your best to focus on the intangible things like their character because those are the things that are not easily changed. This is so so important and has helped me because when anyone comes along and you begin to catch feelings for them, and you’re praying to God to bless the relationship and give you a go ahead, He would refer to what you said and hold it over your head. I personally had this conversation with God a couple of years back and it was not a one day thing, it was over a period of time. The result of this conversation were some vows I made, and God has been faithful to help me keep them even though I constantly sabotage myself.
One interesting thing about God is that He doesn’t forget what you tell Him, and that can be a good and not-so-good thing. I say this because whenever a guy that doesn’t match what I asked God for would come around and I would start to catch feelings and would go to God and ask him for his permission, while I’m already biased towards the guy and hoping God would approve of it, God would simply ask me to say back to Him what I told him I wanted in a partner, then He would ask me if the guy I’m currently talking to fits the description and that’s all He would say. He wouldn’t say more than that, and because every intangible thing I asked for in a man is backed up by a scripture, it was essentially God communicating His word to me in form of my original desire. I hate it so much, just writing about it is pissing me off even because I had to deal with this recently. It’s even more annoying because I saw a future with these men that I’ve had to let go of. So whenever God would do this, I would get very very upset.
What’s even more funny is that my friends would tell me things like “God’s plan for you is better than your plan for yourself” and “God knows best” and I always feel like slapping them because I know all these things, but it’s not looking like that right now. Right now, I feel like I’m about to die from this heartbreak, the heartbreak that will eventually ensure that I die alone. Am I being dramatic? Yes, yes I am but what’s your business? At least I can act my drama for myself while I wallow in singleness and share a bed with only myself for the rest of my life. I’m just being real (and very dramatic) but my friends are actually saying the right things, and I eventually come to accept and believe them again. This leads me to something I need to talk about briefly; Please surround yourself with Godly friends, I am begging you. You need Godly people to give you advice when this happens because it will happen, and if your friends are truly Godly people, they will give you advice that tallies with the word of God. God has used my friends to save me from making very dumb decisions in life. So please get Godly friends that you can be accountable to, it is so so important.
Ironically, I find that even before talking to God about potential partners, I know what God’s answer would be, but for some reason I always hope He would at least indulge me. I also find that in the relationships I know He wouldn’t approve, there are always red flags—very big ones at that, ones that I decide to overlook because of my emotions. One thing I’ll now do is call out the red flag to God, I’ll say something like, “God, I know that he is…. but he is…”, like I’m trying to defend the person to God with hopes that He changes His mind. I’ve personally had my fair share of them, the most recent one was me hiding how “spiritual” I am and how much I go to church because I thought it would scare the guy I was talking to. Can you imagine that? Hiding something I value so much, that is part of who I am from someone I’m supposed to share myself with? Like how will that even work? I wasn’t thinking of that then though, I was too wrapped up in my feelings for that.
One thing I both love and hate about having these conversations with God is that He doesn’t negotiate. Once God puts me in check, He’s quiet. Then I’ll start trying to persuade God. Can you imagine the audacity of me? I’ll be saying things like “God but he goes to church, he’s even a servant in church”, but I’ve learnt the hard way that because s/he goes to church doesn’t mean s/he has a relationship with God. I’ve also learnt that people join service units for a lot of different reasons, that in itself is a story for another day. The fact that the person goes to church doesn’t make them spiritually comparable to you, that’s just it. Also I guess we’re mature Christians and know this already but don’t even try being with an unbeliever, the bible is so clear on that. Paul said it many many times, David kind of said it too. It is way easier for someone to pull you down, than for you to pull them up. Even if s/he begins to go to church when you guys are together, it’s still so risky because there’s the possibility that they are doing it not to relate with God but for you and you don’t want that, but that also is a story for another day.
I have done a lot of dumb things, but I know we all have because we were (and maybe still are) afraid of being single. I remember when I eventually let go of the last guy and I started hearing voices, voices that were telling me that I was going to die alone and unloved. I think that’s a great fear for us ladies particularly. I was only able to push back on all that because I know God loves me and I know He has my best interest at heart. God has big plans for me and even bigger plans for my future, things I can’t even imagine—a partner that I would have never thought of, the blissful and loving marriage that eyes have not seen, a God-centric family that ears have not heard of. That is what keeps me in check, and sometimes it’s hard but nothing good comes easy. I also know that God knows what’s best for me and if I desire to be married, God will give me exactly that. It’s really about being able to recount what God has done for you in the past and use that to build your faith. So if God saved me from death and gave me a purpose, then surely giving me a Godly partner won’t be an issue. Recounting God’s faithfulness is how you stay strong in the wait. Remember your God history.
So Dami, what’s the essence of this post? I am by no means an expert in this thing, I am just a youth so I am writing to remind myself and maybe one other person out there to be patient and careful because your relationships matter, who you marry or date has implications on your destiny. Don’t let desperation or loneliness make you settle for less, settle for the replica. God has an amazing man/woman out there for you. A handsome man or beautiful woman, fully armed with the word of God and full of the Spirit of God. Don’t let present pleasures stop you from fulfilling your marital destiny in Christ. As I continue this journey in my season of singleness, this post is to hold me accountable because I genuinely cannot afford to miss it. It would be a shame if I still make a mistake in relationships or even worse, marriage, after all I’ve seen and heard. I really hope this resonated well with you and you got something from this. I genuinely pray that God continues to guide us and just shield us from destiny damaging mistakes. I definitely want to hear what you think, so leave a comment or reach out to me on Twitter, let’s chat about this.