The holidays are coming and it’s inevitable – one of your relatives is going to ask you that dreaded question: why aren’t you married yet? If it’s not a family member, it’s a concerned friend, who is married. Or worse, you are asked that question by your new date! There are many quips to respond to such an inappropriate question, but the most important response is the one you give yourself in the silence of your heart when you ask that same question. Why am I not married yet? Is there something wrong with me? It’s easy to think that we must have a “fatal flaw” if we’ve been single for a while but haven’t had a relationship develop into marriage. When in reality, we all have a fatal flaw – many of them actually – single or married. As God’s creatures, we are made in his image but fallen from perfection. In our very human nature we are inadequate and flawed. That is why we need God’s grace and strength to perform heroic acts – like forgiving a justified resentment or not lashing back when under attack. So no matter what you may perceive as your “flaw,” we all have them, including the person you end up marrying. Want a great way to start working on your marriage now? Start by accepting yourself, flaws and all, as a practice to one day accepting the imperfection of your partner.
With that said, it’s not a bad idea to take an inventory and determine if there is something you are doing or a way you are reacting that might be contributing to difficulties meeting someone or difficulties maintaining a long-term relationship. Do you have a pattern of wanting to get involved very quickly when you meet someone? Most likely, your date can pick up on your anxiety, and that can make him or her want to back away. If you find yourself in that cycle, ask yourself why you might be pushing to get closer. Is there a fear of people leaving you? Or, do you meet someone you’re truly interested in but then always feel pressured to get involved more than you want to? Your style of attachment might be a pattern of needing “space.” And once again, this will trigger a reaction in your date – either to try to push for more closeness or to back away. Either way, the “push and pull” wreaks havoc on a dating relationship. You may want to take a personal inventory and see if you truly are ready for a close, intimate relationship.
Is there an active addiction in your life? That’s a sure way to kill a relationship.
Is there anything from your past that may need healing? Start by checking in with yourself for emotions from your past that you may not be addressing, to prevent them from spilling over into your present day relationships. Be sure to bring your hurt or anger to Christ – work through the process of lifting them up to him and allowing those feelings to be covered by his perfect love. If you discover you need help working through past experiences, you may consider seeking the help of a trusted Christian counselor or clergy.
Just remember, if you have avoided marrying the wrong person, then your “dating” is functioning properly! Dating is meant to clarify your values, help you discover what you want in a mate, and mature both parties. As long as you are learning, you are growing. And as long as you are inviting Christ into every part of your dating life, he is blessing the process and preparing the way for you to meet the mate he has created just for you – flaws and all.
Want more resources? Check out the CD “Making Christian Dating Work” at michelefleming.com.