“I will never date or marry a single man.”
God has pressed this sentence into my heart for a couple weeks now, and I feel I may explode if I don’t write about it. In my years of singleness and reflection on all my dating mistakes, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to do everything in pursuit of honoring God. For most of my life, I disconnected God from relationships. God has since connected the thoughts to be, “You love me first.” Once I started focusing on that alone, nothing else really mattered.
I’ve spent some time with God and wise counsel on what it looks like to acknowledge warning signs, seek God first, and set healthy boundaries. Since one of my biggest life struggles emerged in acknowledging my own self-worth, I didn’t always wait for respectful men. I went along with anyone who gave me attention and allowed them to disrespect God (and in turn, me).
There are certain warning signs when beginning to get to know a person, which we call “seeing the red flags.” My problem in dating was something I’ve grown to call my “red-flag ignorance.” For example, a guy would say things like, “A woman’s ‘no’ doesn’t always mean ‘no’” or “No, we’re not really dating. She’s mean to me anyway, want to come over later?” Or they would invite me over after midnight to “watch movies,” keep handing me drinks until I couldn’t stand up, argue with me that God didn’t really mean that we couldn’t get physical, etc. The list goes on. Each moment looks like blatantly large red flags that I should have acknowledged but didn’t. Because I didn’t have self worth. I would see the red flag, and shove it under the couch. “Oh that? Don’t mind that. Please keep telling me how beautiful and perfect I am.”
I know I’m not alone in this because I’ve talked to a lot of women who have had red-flag ignorance issues as well. Somewhere along the way, we lose sight that our worth comes from God and try to find it in the empty words of a male who doesn’t respect our bodies as temples of God. We don’t realize all the red flags we ignored until they leave us, and suddenly the barrier of infatuation falls away. We ask ourselves, “How did I miss this?” We berate ourselves for our ignorance, and/or tell all our friends what a horrible person he was anyway.
Yes, you probably shouldn’t be tearing him down to everyone and their mother, and we really need to stop calling ourselves stupid; however, we first need to start acknowledging the red flags from the start. We can’t acknowledge the warning signs to run unless we first acknowledge that we’re worth anything. We must spend time with our maker to understand our worth and be rooted in that before anything else changes.
Once I began understanding my worth, growing in my intimacy with God, and realizing my need to acknowledge and run from red flags, I discovered a particular red flag that I need to be looking for—single men.
“What in the world are you talking about Sarah? Are you saying you should only date men already in a relationship? That’s messed up…”
No, that’s not what I mean. I mean men who do not have a mentor or accountability partner. I mean run from men who are trying to do life on their own. Run from men who think they can just get through the tough stuff without another human to help them carry the burden. Run from men who aren’t brave enough to allow someone into their lives vulnerably. Run from men who refuse to follow any type of authority.
Those who do not know how to follow do not know how to lead. Period. No exceptions. If the only wise counsel they seek is their own, acknowledge the red flag, turn, and RUN.
I will never date or marry a single man. I will date and consider marrying a man who surrounds himself with wise counsel. A man of honor follows authority and seeks accountability.
But I won’t leave it at that. I won’t just hold high expectations for someone to seek me out and sit and wait. I do not expect this man to just appear as a promised gift.
I will follow the Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind. He is the only part of this life that matters. I will not compromise for a man who tries to tackle this life single-handedly. He’s not worth losing my life and lover of my heart. If a man wants to join me, he’s got to love Jesus more than I do.
Because the purpose of my life is not to get married.
The purpose of my life is to love God.
To those affected by the American Culture,
I’m sorry the world has distracted you so thoroughly from your purpose in life. I hope and pray you realize you’re worth more than a single person covered in red flags. You are more than what you can achieve in this life. You are worth more than a wedding band. You are more than #cleverweddinghashtags. You are more than who has your last name. You are more than a bride, a groom, a fiancé, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a friend with benefits, a widow, a divorcee, a mom, a dad, or whatever label with which you identify.
You are a child of the creator and king of the universe. You are nothing more and nothing less. Everything else is what you do, but isn’t who you are. Who you are is God’s. Period. Everything else is temporary. I hope you can see that.
Ruined by Grace