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So this past week, my boyfriend worked with my roommate, and suitemates to surprise me by him coming home early for his spring break. He just showed up at my school when I least expected. It was honestly one of the cutest moments of my life. However, I’m not here to talk about how great he is.
The past year, I’ve seen so many friends get hurt in the mess that is high school and college dating. There is such a confusion and haze around dating, being “kinda a thing”, and when it becomes official. I’ve talked to a lot of girls struggling with guys that don’t deserve them. It’s painful to see how many girls wait around with boys that don’t value them, their time, or their emotions. Now I know guys face dating struggles of their own, but I don’t feel as suited to address that. So ladies, here we go.
- Your singleness does not define you.
When you go to a “ring by spring” school like I do, there is so much pressure to be married right out of college. (Or sometimes even sooner.) However, that isn’t the path for everyone. There is a plan for your life, and your calling doesn’t have to wait till you’re married. Your ability to have a joyful, God-directed life is not tied to your relationship status. Just because you haven’t found someone doesn’t mean someone will never come along, but don’t wait for that to make you happy. Your boyfriend/husband won’t be perfect and if you try to place your worth and happiness solely in finding and keeping him, you’ll both get hurt. Right now is the best time to discover your passions and who you are as a person.
- Know your standards.
I read a book that suggested categorizing what you want in a future spouse into two categories: negotiable and non-negotiable. Negotiable would be things like being musical, having blonde hair, or anything like that. Non-negotiable would be things like core values and beliefs, or general life callings. You don’t need to evaluate every guy that you know with this list, but if you’re considering getting serious with a guy, it’s good to know how they match up. A good basis for these standards is 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” NIV
Can you put their name into theses verses? Are they patient and kind? Are they easily angered?Does he dishonor others? (A guy that is nice to the CEO, but not the janitor is not a nice guy.) Do you feel like you can trust them? Now no one is perfect, but if they are working to live this, they are heading in a good direction.
Now there are also some expectations that are irrational. If you’re expecting him to have a perfect body, constantly spoil you, and always know just what to say or do, then you’ll always be disappointed. There have been times that I’ve had to step back and apologize for letting my standards become too high, or for becoming too critical. However, if you’re looking for someone that won’t pressure you, won’t talk down to you, and will be honest with you, then you’re safe. I know sometimes it seems like those people aren’t out there, but they are.
- You DO NOT need to lower your standards.
Before I met Travis, I didn’t know what it meant to pursued. He has and continues to go out of his way to do things like open doors for me, make me laugh, buy me food (my love language ❤︎), and learning my interests and passions. In return, I try to do the same type of things for him. You can’t expect him to pursue you endlessly without you also putting effort into the relationship. Jesus called us to serve each other. If you’re both seeking selfish things from the relationship, then the relationship won’t thrive and you won’t be moving closer to God.
- Think about what you’re reflecting.
This isn’t true of every situation, but majority of the time you attract what you are presenting. You probably shouldn’t expect to meet a man that will be a Godly leader if you’re looking at a party, or flirting with guys you know aren’t good. Don’t even get me started on missionary dating… Become what you want to attract. Remember that 1 Corinthians 13 part? Now put your name in there. If you don’t feel like you’re reflecting love, then maybe you have some changing to do.
Growing up, I was told over and over to “chase after God with all you have, and the right person will be the one who can keep up.” So far, that’s proven to be unbelievably true.
- Recognize your value.
All too often I’ve been hearing girls upset about guys that don’t value them, and all too often these girls just put up with it. If you spend too long with someone who doesn’t value you, you begin to forget your worth. In college and high school, money can be tight. It’s understandable for a guy to not shower you with gifts and expensive things. However, quality time and listening cost basically nothing. Sweet notes cost basically nothing. Opening the door for you costs nothing. When you find a guy that is excited to be with you, these things will come easier. Understand that his love language is probably different from yours, and you may not immediately understand how you communicate love to each other. (For help with this, take the 5 Love Languages quiz! It’s my fave.)
- Finally, take this time to figure out who you are.
Travis and I have different interests. Some of those things overlap, but some don’t. Having your own passions should continue throughout your life, but it’s easier to figure them out now. A youth leader completely changed my perspective on dating when she said to me, “It’s important to understand who you are before you add someone else into the equation.” Dropping your entire life for someone is so unhealthy. Instead, find someone that you have some shared interests with, but who also appreciates and respects your individual passions. Sometimes in looking for your personal interests, you connect with someone!
Please feel free to comment any thoughts or experiences that you’ve had being single, dating, or in a relationship! ❤︎