Finding a love worth striving for
What does the Bible have to say about relationships this Valentine's Day?
Written by Drew Read
It's Valentine's Day, and handwritten notes, candy hearts and XXL heart balloons fill the hallways of school once again. All this talk about love and romance can make us want to celebrate our current relationship or think about the boyfriend/girlfriend we wish we had.
The temptation can be strong to use a boyfriend or girlfriend to fill a void in your life, especially during this time of year. You may think it will give you identity at school or help you feel accepted. But as we've seen before on fervr, dating is not something Christians should take lightly. So as you think about your current boyfriend or girlfriend, or before you start looking for a date, take a moment to stop and think about these five essentials to a healthy dating relationship.
1. Discover your identity in Christ first
Finding your identity is a process. Trying to nail it down as a teenager can be like driving down a dirt road in the dark: gloomy and hopeless. But like anything, it takes time for success to build. If you are simply keeping pace with the culture by trying something else on for size, or putting on the clothes or labels of someone else, the process cannot take shape.
As easy as it is to take on the identity of the culture around you, your identity is deeper, more complex and defined by someone you can always anchor to. Look what the King of Kings says about those who follow Jesus:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1
Knowing what you’re not can help define who you are. You are not alone. You are not forgotten. You are forgiven. You are bought with a price. You also might not be good at science and that’s ok. You’re uniquely gifted in other ways. Being confident in Him first is foundational for a healthy relationship with others.
2. Be equally invested in the relationship
By definition, relationships require two people sharing a mutual respect and a mutual interest in each other. Are you dating for the sake of dating, to not be lonely or to create an image for yourself? Or are you both dating to seek the best team to reflect God’s glory?
Relationships are hard enough. Don't take on a project. You are not in a relationship to fix the other person or try to make them more like you. A healthy interest in one another comes with no agenda. So make sure before you start dating that you're not getting involved for the wrong reasons. And on top of that, ensure you're both following Jesus, and seeking to honour him in your relationship.
3. Look for more than a companion
If you’re looking for someone to keep you company, find a friend. If you’re looking for true fulfilment, you'll will never find it in another person. In the movie Jerry McGuire, Tom Cruise’s character says the famous, dramatic line, “You complete me.” It’s a poetic line and great movie moment. It’s a horrible relationship perspective.
If you think a relationship is all you need to make you complete, it can't and won't succeed. As sinful people, none of us can fill what seems to be missing in others. Only God can give us the lasting fulfilment we need.
4. Look beyond the physical
The first thing anyone notices is outward attractiveness. But a real, lasting relationship is based on unwavering character. How does your significant other’s character match up to yours? Is he or she honest, trustworthy and pursuing the Lord? What do they do when no one is watching? So what if someone is hot when they have no ability to connect mentally or emotionally.
This is not to say physical attraction is bad. It just can’t be the foundational basis of a healthy relationship as it won’t, and simply can’t, last.
“Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right.” Song of Solomon 8:4
As we've seen in this article, God’s timing is perfect, and his advice to remain sexually pure until marriage is because He loves you and wants the very best for you.
5. Find and be someone who is comfortable being themselves
Confidence is attractive. Confident people know who they are and don’t put on a show. They are unwilling to compromise for other’s expectations. When you’re confident in who you are and the plan God has set before you, you’ll be able to face any rocky waters a relationship—or lack of one—can bring. Read this article to discover more about being a confident Christian, and always remember who you were created to be …
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
Drew Read, Chief Operations Officer of the Paul Anderson Youth Home, frequently speaks and writes on the topics of identity, technology, culture and high-risk behaviors affecting today’s youth. Since 1961, the Paul Anderson Youth Home has provided a sanctuary for more than 1,200 troubled young men ages 16-20. The alternative to juvenile correctional facilities helps young men overcome addiction and unhealthy lifestyle patterns by placing emphasis on physical work and play, rigorous academics, and restored relationships with God, their families and society.