5 Signs You’re Ready For A Serious Relationship
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What does our culture say about dating and how do we distinguish if we are ready to take the next step?
In a world that tells you that your feelings and thoughts define who you are, and to do what makes you feel happy, it can be difficult breaking out of that way of thinking.
Let’s be honest, we want what we want right? Sometimes that means wanting it now even when we know the timing is off.
Personally, this was one of my biggest problems when it came to dating as a whole. I didn’t want feedback on it, I most certainly didn’t want to wait, and I wanted to be happy. Jumping into relationships whenever I wanted brought a series of disappointments, and heartache that could have been avoided if I trusted God with my future and if I would have allowed other people to speak into my life.
My identity got wrapped up with what I felt, and with each step in the relationship, I lost myself even more. The problem with that way of thinking is it distorts what love and relationships should look like. It distorts how God designed it be.
Our feelings were never meant to be an ultimate thing that defines our identity, and they shouldn’t rule our actions.
The moment we allow what we feel to be our sole decision maker, we put our trust into something that is constantly shifting instead of the God who is stable and knows what is best for us.
Our hearts can trick us.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
I believe our “feelings” are meant to be soft indicators of what’s going on within our hearts and what we spend our time and energy thinking about.
So how do we know if we are ready to date, and what should we consider before taking the next step?
Here are 5 Signs that helped me determine if I was ready for a serious relationship.
1. Is Christ the center of my desire/life?
“What is it that is competing for your allegiance to Christ? You may have both hands on the plow, but what is it you keep looking back at?” –Kyle Idleman,
Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus
The reality is when Christ isn’t the center, someone or something else is. It grabs our attention and can consume our thoughts.
It can become an idol, and instead of moving forward and growing we are looking back.
Eyes fixed on what our heart really is worshipping.
I usually can notice quickly when Christ isn’t in his rightful place in my life: I become fixated, but God doesn’t seem to be included in the picture of the plans I’ve dreamt out.
When Christ isn’t the center of your desires or life, it shows. It can show through a relationship in multiple ways, whether you become clingy, the relationship becoming an ultimate thing, or God is not involved in it.
2. Am I Emotionally Stable?
People who are emotionally unstable have a more difficult time with handling things. Emotional health is a choice. I had to be honest with how I handled my emotions. For a long time, I had a habit of externally expressing my emotions.
I came from a house where expressing your emotions right when you felt them was normal. If you were angry, you had the right to display your anger to the point where it was explosive. The thinking habit of “I need them to hear me and know I’m upset” was common. The feelings controlled my actions, and with that, I struggled to figure out how to balance my responses healthily.
There was a period of time I was struggling badly with depression. It was hard for me because I didn’t know how to deal with my emotions. I would usually try to escape the feeling of sadness and the perception of weakness through different things like alcohol or relationships.
I didn’t know how not to be controlled by how I felt.
Until I was able to have God show me and heal the areas where I was broken emotionally, I wasn’t ready to date. I had to address my past hurts in relationships, and my childhood, and I had to change my responses. It required me to allow God to renew my thinking.
It is very hard to make wise choices when you are emotionally unstable.
3. Am I Trying to Make My Decisions Right OR Make Wise Decisions? (There is a Difference).
This one really stood out to me during a class I took a few years back. It was called Single, Waiting, and Dating. They stated that an emotionally healthy, and a wise person, would not try to push the boundaries but do the wise thing.
It helped put things in perspective for me. Pushing the boundaries didn’t just mean sexually, it could mean emotionally, and with my actions overall.
I noticed I had crossed a lot of boundaries in the past, and with those relationships. It never worked, and we both would end up getting hurt.
Some ways I had crossed boundaries were:
Allowing my feelings to progress when God hadn’t given me the blessing to.
By dating too quickly knowing my character wasn’t where it should be.
Dating because I was lonely, depressed and wanting to be “happy”.
Pursuing a relationship, I had no business pursuing.
Looking back if I would have dated James, my husband, when he first initially wanted to I honestly believe things could have turned out differently. I needed to heal, and I needed to ask the tough questions despite how I felt. I wanted to give us our best shot, and I wanted to be in God’s will.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
If we are making decisions based on our emotions right now and never think through things, it will not work for the long term. It will affect more than just you.
Three questions that emotionally healthy/wise people ask themselves:
- In light of my past, what is the wise thing to do?
- In light of my current circumstances, what is the wise thing to do?
- In light of my future hopes and dreams, what’s the wise thing to do?
4. Am I Several Steps Away from Being Able to Get Married?
When I first moved out of my parent’s house, I had no idea how to do laundry. Not only that, but I never made a meal for myself. For the first year my mom still did my laundry (How embarrassing lol). She loved doing it though; my mom has such a serving heart.
My roommate, Hana, asked me if I knew how and I remember thinking ‘like do I tell her the truth though?’ And if I am honest, I was like why do I need to do it? My mom knows what she is doing! It showed the areas I still didn’t want to grow up in.
I ended up telling her and she offered to teach me. That seems so minor, but it was a pivotal moment for me because I was learning to take care of myself.
Being several steps away from marriage really can just mean you can’t take care of yourself on your own. (For example, no job, no place to live, etc.)
5. Am I Ready To Give Up My Independence?
Who doesn’t like going out whenever they want? That was one thing I could relate to. I moved out so I could be independent. I did not want to have to ask anyone’s opinion, and I didn’t want to consider someone else’s feelings in my everyday decision making either.
That all changed when considering being in a serious relationship. It was no longer about my independence; it was about us being interdependent with each other. And even though it was different, at first, I now enjoy including him in my everyday life.
If interdependence is not something you are wanting, then you shouldn’t be considering a serious relationship.
It’s the same with Christ; I can’t be in a relationship with him where he is separate from my everyday life and decisions.
Like I said previously if our feelings are the thing that’s teaching us how to make decisions we will end up with a lot of hurt feelings. There is a blessing when you do things in the right timing, one of those things being that your relationships will turn our healthier and stronger.
Even though it’s not necessarily always fun to be in a season of waiting for Mr. Right, in the long run, you’ll have much more success if you wait until the time IS right.
God is not withholding anything good from you in the process of waiting; he is preparing you to give you the absolute BEST!
If you’re in a season of waiting, then you’ll want to check out this post:
“Single on Valentine’s Day? This One is for You”
Victoria Taylor comes from a family of four and her parents are from Sicily. She is a lover of poetry, friendships, and all things funny. She recently got married to her best friend James and are expecting their first child in June! She currently leads a small group in the Orlando area for college-age women exploring and wanting to grow deeper in their faith and make some awesome friendships. (If you are in the area, check it out: https://goo.gl/j4YrEC!)
Other articles written by Victoria on She Is Reclaimed:
How to recognize if your thoughts are lying to you
How I knew I was ready for marriage
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