The wedding gift I wish I didn’t have to give

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One of my friends recently got married and shared some of the rawest and realist words I’ve heard in a long time. Most people won’t have the courage to admit these things. We like to pretend our lives are fine. We like to pretend the choices we make don’t really have an impact on others. Oh how we wish our past was only our past. But it’s not. And the choices you are making today will have an effect on those around you, including your future spouse. Here’s Ashley’s story:

My whole dating life had been long-term relationships that lead me to my marriage. My first was when I was 14, the boy was 18, and we dated for one year. Then he went to college and I haven’t spoke to him since. I remember thanking God that I didn’t give him my virginity because that relationship sent me into my next very bitter. When I was maybe 16, I was neck deep in a relationship with a boy a year older than me. I had a group of friends that encouraged sexual deviance, encouraged experimentation, encouraged partying and after a while I gave into that temptation. I tried things I’ve to this day never admitted to because I remember thanking God that I was alive because I’ve seen people die from less. And after we lost our virginities to each other I felt so emotionally naked that we broke up two weeks later. That’s the first time I sat dissecting every inch of me wondering what was wrong with me.

It wasn’t long until I started dating the nearest male who called me pretty because I didn’t believe it at that point. I remember thanking God for Kody. Kody was 24 and I was 17. I vividly remember thanking God for a man, a man that treated me so well. I grew so scary dependent on him. He was my everything. I stopped partying. I stopped cheerleading. I stopped playing tennis. I stopped student government. I stopped anything that took time away from time I spent with him. Kody died a week shy of our one year anniversary. I don’t remember much except praying at his funeral, praying that “God please be real, please have him” because it was the first time I was scared of where my choices would lead me. I moved out of the state because my dad was terrified I was going to kill myself. I didn’t walk at my graduation because I didn’t leave my bedroom for a month. I didn’t take my final exams, I only passed because my school board felt bad.

When I moved to Florida, I met this boy who acted so innocent and sweet that I fell in “love” with him three minutes into conversation. Three years later I have a restraining order and ongoing court appearances that was left behind during that mentally and physically abusive on & off again relationship that was mostly secretive anyway. I used to pray to God everyday that he would stop. And the worst part is I had been saved in that time. In that time I was lying to my church, my accountability partners, my friends, my family… Everyone. I was lying to myself. I still lied even after we broke up and told people he was great and we just didn’t work out. I was so shamed. I am still shamed but I am no longer afraid of persecution from people who know the truth. Now that you know my past, I hope when I advise you guys to take matters of the heart seriously, you will. Because these soul ties I created, these men have pieces of me I can’t erase, and I can’t have them back. These are men in which my HUSBAND has to share me with spiritually. There are damaged parts of my heart that my husband is dealing with, damage he didn’t create. I can’t express how important it is to guard your heart.

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Tinder Sam and more fam!


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Is that even possible?! For those of you that have been following along, you remember my boy Sam (Sam requested to have his named changed to Zak to coincide with Ben Folds’ Zak & Sara song, how cute). But we are already in too deep with “Sam.” You can read about our times together in the previous posts (here & here) but one thing that definitely stood out with Sam was meeting his whole family on our first date. I think I loved the “So how did you guys meet?” questions the best.

Sam came down recently (aka a few months ago- sorry, I’m a bit behind on these types of posts;) and we were able to hang out some. Though slightly awkward. I, unfortunately/fortunately, had started talking to a new guy right before his visit so it created a little tension between us. Hey, in my defense he was going to bring down a date! Okay, not really- but it was going to be someone that liked him who would help out with all the nieces and nephews. Who knows. Regardless, she didn’t come and I didn’t bring my guy. It just would have been too awkward all around. [Sidenote, new guy and I decided to just remain friends].

Our normal outings are typically held in St. Augustine but this time it was Daytona Beach. It was Stan’s 94th birthday party. 94! Stan is a family friend that is pretty much family. Sam, his grandma, Stan, Sam’s two sisters, sister-in-law, more nieces and nephews than I could count, his mom, dad, and I think that is all. That’s who was there this time. And me. Of course I fit right in. I think Sam’s grandma likes me more than she likes him. Amongst screaming kids, great BBQ, and amazing homemade cake from granny (I’m pretty much family, I can call her that), all I can say is I hope to be like Stan one day. He was so active- wanting to help, loving everything and everyone. It’s always such a joy being around people like him.

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After the party, Sam and I decided to go to the boardwalk since neither of us had ever really been. I drove us since he rode with his family there. Big mistake. We almost just decided to go somewhere else. Parking was the worst in my truck. Awful. Sam is a little passive aggressive in that he won’t tell me what to do until after I didn’t do something and then lets me know what he would have done (now that it’s too late). Thanks. Sam was firmly upset my truck did not fit in certain spots and disliked the fact I did not feel comfortable parking in sketch situations. Then he got mad and said I yelled at him. I can neither confirm nor deny what I did. I ended up driving into a bar parking lot that had spots and we discussed the parking situation for a good 10 minutes. I saw other people parking there and walking to the boardwalk so I told him we should just do that. He thought it would be too obvious what we were doing since we had been sitting in their parking lot awkwardly doing nothing. During this time, a guy in an orange vest came out of the bar to start selling spots. Great. I thought we would be okay since we were already there but I was still nervous. We decided to ask permission from the guy. Well Sam did. I like that about him. He has a manly, take charge, side to him that makes me feel safe. For someone who is somewhat bossy, it’s nice to relax every now and then and let somewhat else take charge;)

BeachcollageWe walked around the boardwalk as Sam complained about the rides and the prices. Sam was too cheap to buy me water, which was free. I know right. Okay he wasn’t that bad, he just didn’t want to stand in line to wait for it even though I was soooo thirsty! On top of this, he was texting his “girlfriend” and making fun of my guy interest with side comments. I remember passing by some people who were passing out Christian tracks, asking people if they were saved. Normally I will pass on by, let them know I am saved, or say something to the effect of I like what they are doing. Sam, however, stopped. He engaged in conversation with them, made them feel valued, and encouraged them. Among all of our play fighting and jokes, it was nice to see this side of Sam. He inspired me more than he knows.

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We ended up stop at a place for drinks while watching a concert that happened to be in the amphitheater that night. We talked about a lot of stuff. I remember asking Sam if he thought we’d still hang out like this once he got a girlfriend. Without hesitation, he said we better. I guess I didn’t realize how scarred I have been from lost friendships with some of my guys. I’m not expecting things to stay the same and I’d never want to come before a guy’s girlfriend but it’s somewhat sad that there’s this underlying theme in society that guys and girls can’t just be friends. It was reassuring to hear Sam say that to me. It made me realize he valued our friendship. Me. Beyond wanting me, if that makes sense. A lot of guys have stopped talking to me once they realized I wasn’t interested in dating. While I understand to a degree, it doesn’t hurt any less. So I try not to get too attached.

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I ended up driving Sam back to the condos where all of his family was staying. It was pretty late and I was hungry. Per usual. Sam made me steak and then gave me ice cream. I didn’t even have to ask. He knows what makes me happy. I hope he’s planning another trip soon because I’m starting to get hungry again.

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Dating means letting go, marriage means holding on

I think we have it backwards. Too many people stay in relationships they should have left long ago while others exit when they should have stayed. Maybe it’s just me but I often see these people in dating relationships that just seem miserable. And the excuse is always the same, “Yea, but I love him/her.” Really? What is it you love so much? Okay okay, I don’t want to come across negative but what I really want to tell these people is that they aren’t married and it won’t get better. I think we often think it will. We hope it will at least. And it does in some ways. But I think we forgot the whole concept of dating.

Dating means letting go

Many people who are just dating say they are basically married. What?! If they don’t say it, it’s often implied. It’s fun to think about. We date because we want to be married, well really because we want to be loved. And marriage signifies that. But the whole point of dating is to get to know someone to see if you want to be married to them. You can’t possibly know if you want to marry them until you get to know them. So it’s okay if you end up breaking up- you aren’t married! That is what happens. Yes, we often feel we can’t. We don’t want to quit. We don’t want to fail. We want to work through it. We want to be loyal. All great qualities but it’s simply tragic when it’s wasted on the wrong one because you didn’t think you could break up for whatever reason. It is hard to do but it’s life and it happens. Contrary to what your heart wants to do, you need to balance being “happy go lucky” with objectiveness to see if this is actually the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. No one can be mad at you for breaking up when you are only dating. Well, unless you were a jerk about it;)

Marriage means holding on

So what leads me to believe these people are running into marriages instead of breaking things off? The numerous divorces I see happening in couples just a few years in. That’s what. What happened? What went wrong? We exit marriages quicker than we exit work when the clock hits 5 o’clock. I think a big problem is the fact that people want to get married but they aren’t ready for marriage. At least not with the person they picked. Numerous reasons I am sure. But just like dating is the opportunity to decide whether or not you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, marriage signifies that commitment to actually spend the rest of your life with said person. Commitment. Fighting. Loving. Choosing the other person first. Constantly. So if you’re not ready, don’t get married. If you don’t know the person well enough to know, don’t do it. Marriage is losing its value in our society, but don’t let it lose its meaning in your life.

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photo credit: Amber Dancing via photopin (license)

Dating, Marriage, and Sex: Part One- What to look for when you are looking for marriage

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I have always been a firm believer in never dating just to date. I really don’t see any benefits in that and someone always ends up getting hurt. That will be someone’s spouse one day- we shouldn’t play with people’s hearts or emotions if we aren’t willing or looking to commit. One of the pastor’s I listen to is Ben Stuart from Breakaway Ministries at Texas A&M. He has a wonderful ministry there and I always appreciate his perspective on things. He did a series awhile back and I wish I could find them but the messages were entitled Sex and Dating and had four parts, I believe. I decided to utilize my notes from his messages to write this series for you all because it has helped me so much in reminding me what’s important when it comes to dating. I would like to preface this with the fact that I don’t believe in checklists but this should serve as a helpful guide to help us all think a little more objectively when our emotions may get the best of us. Ultimately, you have to listen to God and make the best decision for your life.

Anyone can get a date. Let’s just get that out there. Sometimes we get discouraged or feel inadequate, that no one likes us or we’ll always be single but the truth is, we could all get married tomorrow if we really wanted to. And we can’t forget that. Lower your standards enough and you can. But we don’t want to and we shouldn’t have to. Sometimes we get caught up on this whole dating and marriage thing as if it’s the most important thing in the world. And while I think we could all agree that I do think it is one of the most important decisions we will ever make, there are far greater things out there we should be thinking about. We must not forget that one of the coolest and most exciting things about marriage is how it represents and shows how much Christ loves us, loves the church.

I think that we tend to be in such a rush to find someone that we miss the gift of singleness. Yes, you heard right- singleness is such an amazing gift. It allows you to be fully devoted to Christ and Him alone. You don’t have anyone else to worry about and aren’t looking for ways to please another. Don’t get me wrong, marriage is a beautiful thing and with the right one, you both will be so completely powerful together as you both pursue Christ. But with the wrong one, it could prove to be detrimental. Marriage is never about two incomplete people finding wholeness with the other; rather, it is about two complete people complementing each other to create power. THAT is what makes it so amazing and exciting.

Before you even begin to look at dating, you have to have your relationship with God right first. I cannot stress this enough. If you are not complete yourself, you have no business in the dating world because honestly, everyone will fall short. Only when your security and identity is found in Christ, will you be able to engage in healthy relationships. Otherwise, what we see are just mutually exclusive using relationships or partnerships. I hate to be so blunt but that’s what it is and it makes me so sad. Yes, some of them work but they could be so much better! Don’t you want and desire God’s best for your life? Let God fill your heart so you will be complete, lacking nothing and then allow Him to bring the perfect person FOR YOU into life to help complement it. You have to be full of God’s love first if you want to succeed in a loving and healthy marriage. Since God is love and you are full in Him, the rest will just come naturally and you won’t need all these self-help books on how to love or save your marriage, it’s just who you are.

The next six items are things to consider when looking for a spouse. Once again, these are helpful reminders and tips to help us stay focused and not get distracted from what we really want and are looking for. I would also argue that the first two are the most important. The rest don’t necessarily have to be there but I would imagine a lot of hiccups and arguments in the future if they aren’t. Love is the most important thing, but sometimes we need reminders as to what love really is.

1) A believer. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” You can’t really get more clear than this. One, God says it so I would follow it since God only has our best interest at heart. Two, think about it. If God is the most important thing in your life, two things could either happen- you start to resent the person you are with because you can’t share the most important thing in your life with them or two, your relationship with Christ begins to suffer as you start compromising. There have been some very rare instances where the unbeliever gets saved from what we call “evanga-dating” where you witness to your unbelieving partner. However, this is only because of God’s grace and should never be a model for what we pursue.

2) Someone who is morally submitted to God. This one is so important. If you aren’t really following Christ, I would question how much you really believe. I will sum this one up with a quote from Matt Chandler:

“Can I say something to young ladies here? I’m trying to pick my words carefully here. Your husband, whoever he is, single ladies, will have an unbelievable amount of influence over your sons and daughters in regards to spiritual things. If you want your children to love Jesus deeply, hold out for a man that is Godly. And let me tell you this: I am well aware that Godly men are rare. Lots of neat Christian boys, not a lot of Godly men. And we’re working our tails off for you to try to develop some into that. But don’t settle, because it’s better to be lonely now than you be married and lonely later. Are you tracking with me? It is better that you be lonely now than for you to get married to a man that will teach your kids everything but the way of Jesus.”

3) Someone who is moving at the same pace. This is so important. Okay, I find myself saying that a lot but it is so true because I’ve been there and it doesn’t work. You do not want to date or marry a guy you are having to drag to be the spiritual leader. It gets exhausting. I can’t tell how many times I’ve had to encourage the person I’m with to go to church or do devotions with me. It’s fine for a friendship but I am looking for a man to lead me and my family one day. I have such a strong personality outside my personal life, that all I desire is to be lead when I am home- safe and secure. And I don’t think that is wrong. God calls women to submit to their husbands and I have such a strong desire to do that but it has to be to someone I believe in, that hears God and I can look up to and admire. We are always to be chasing after God and how easy and comforting is it if we have someone there who is moving at the same pace as us? We are only here for a short time; you don’t need to settle for someone who will only slow you down.

4) Someone who is theologically compatible. While I don’t think this one is a deal breaker, I do think it is important. I had someone break up with me because we weren’t on the same page in regards to infant baptism, spiritual gifts, and predestination. I was willing to compromise on them because I didn’t think they were deal breakers; he was not. What it came down to was he didn’t want me teaching our kids what I believed as he thought he was correct and 100% right in what he believed. As you can see, this would have created numerous arguments down the road. My personal opinion is that there is not necessarily one denomination that is better than the other but that the person truly has a relationship with The Lord. I believe that there are things in the Bible that are clearly stated, while others are a little more grey. It is up to the two of you to share and discuss your individual relationships with Christ (always look for someone who has a personal relationship with Christ and not just someone who can quote off scripture or popular theologians- personal experience;-) and the Bible to ensure you are on the same page in your beliefs.

5) Someone who is socially compatible. I think this one can change over time but this is where it’s imperative you already have your identity in Christ. Once you know who you are, you can begin figuring out what your purpose is. Oftentimes, we confuse the two or get them backwards, or worse- find our purpose and/or identity in another person. What’s scary is if you don’t know your purpose yet and you end up marrying someone else who does have a clear direction and purpose, only to find out it’s not the direction God had planned for you. I do think sometimes another person can help aid us in finding our purpose so I don’t want to discredit that. But at the same time, God created a deep desire within us to accomplish something for His kingdom utilizing our personal gifts. What a tragedy it would be if we miss out on that by marrying the wrong person. Only you can know this one. If your heart is for missions overseas, you may not be most compatible with a person who feels called to stay in the states and do something else. I don’t know though. I still feel with real love, both people can accomplish big goals for God that may eventually change. Just something to think about.

6) Someone you are physically attracted to. Alright, I am going to be honest- when I first heard this series, I thought this last one was totally superficial. I’ve been around long enough to think that looks won’t matter if I can really find someone who loves God. However, I recently dated a guy that I was not attracted to at all but I thought he really loved God so I was willing to look past that. I did start to think he was cuter when I got to know him more. However, I was never really attracted to him. Our relationship never went anywhere for other reasons but I did spend some time thinking about the attraction thing. I finally concluded that God does not desire for us to be with someone we aren’t attracted to. There is nothing wrong with wanting someone you are attracted to. Thankfully, we are all attracted to different types of people so I don’t believe we will have to settle in this area. It’s not asking too much to have a godly, cute person:)

Wow, okay that was a lot longer than I anticipated. Check back later this week because I’ll continue this with my next post on how you should date because we all know that’s just as confusing;-)

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The difference between loving someone and being in love

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I love all of my exes. I am not in love with any of them. There is a difference, there has to be a difference. But what is it exactly? Does being “in love” go away? I’m not really sure but I have a flood of thoughts that run through my head that I felt like sharing. I think the Bible talks about many different types of love, but we just use the one word love. It’s kind of sad when you think about. The same word is used in the context of “man, I love this pizza” and “I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Like whoa. Let that sink in for a second.

I posed this to my friends and all of their responses just confused me more. There were some real honest feelings spoken that I appreciated and they made me think more. Although my friend that posted “I love my children with all my heart and nobody bats an eye; I fall in love with my daughter and everyone loses their minds,” made me laugh while pointing out that there is indeed a difference.

You can love people you don’t necessarily like. I don’t think you can be in love with someone you don’t even like. Yea, I’m sure there will be times you don’t like the person you are in love with because of something dumb or annoying they did but in general you like them. I think the being in love aspect adds a new dynamic where you like them as a person and who they are, aside from any romantic feelings. And then that grows into a love for them. Sometimes it just stops there. Other times it continues to grow into something more. People use the term fall in love and act like it’s a bad thing because you don’t fall into anything; but, I see falling in love as something that grows and develops over time. If you have it from the beginning, I don’t see how that can be real love. Infatuation, maybe lust, dependency, obsession but don’t call it love. You don’t even know the person yet. I think more times than not, we are simply in love with the idea of being in love. It’s when real life happens and push comes to shove that we see where we’re really at, how we really feel, and what really matters most to us. When you are in love with someone you will do anything for them and nothing else matters because honestly, love is what makes us feel most alive. Real love is what keeps us going- not our job, our money, our fame, our house. So many people have all of these things yet feel so alone and empty. And I know some of my readers aren’t Christian but I firmly believe that this type of love can only come as a result of knowing Christ’s love. Otherwise, love is just all these things that I believe it isn’t- choosing to do the right thing, attraction, lust, fleeting feelings. It’s a beautiful thing when two people with the same understanding of love fall in love with one another. I don’t think there is anything as powerful as love.

I liked what one of my friends said: “If you love someone and are romantically involved then you are in love with them. I don’t understand how it’s more complicated than that.” He’s right. But how do those romantic feelings evolve? Over time. Do they always evolve? I don’t think so. I do think there has to be some level of attraction but I’m not going to say a huge, strong one. Mainly because I have dated guys who I thought were cute but as I grew in my love for them and I got to see who they were, they became more attractive to me. So how do these “in love” feelings evolve? Nothing is a substitute for time. We are living in such an instant gratification society right now that everyone thinks they need to know to know if the guy or girl they just met is their soulmate. What?! It’s crazy, yet we do it. But that being in love feeling- if that’s even what you want to call it- stays or grows as you strengthen and deepen your relationship with someone. When people fall out of love, that’s when they get to know more about that person and don’t like what they see. The “in love” happens when they do like what they see. That’s why you just can’t rush this, you can’t. Well you can but you might end up stuck in a relationship you never really wanted or you get a divorce. Both sound awful. The problem is that most of us don’t take the time to actually analyze our feelings. There is no such thing as “I just wasn’t feeling it.” Think about it some more. There is something you don’t like. Either about that person or about how that person makes you feel about yourself. Whatever it is, listen to it. In time, things either get better or worse. Pay attention.

I had some friends talk about how being in love is when you can’t live without them. Not that you can’t, but you feel like you can’t. That’s what happens when you do really love someone. If you can live without me so well- why don’t you? That’s my thinking. Maybe a little cynical. Others say you are incomplete or something is missing. I wouldn’t say incomplete but it’s okay to fill like something is missing isn’t it? One of my friends explained how she is better because of her husband, he inspires her to be better and how she is in love with him and everything about him. I think that’s important.

I don’t think being in love is just a phase of feelings. I don’t think it fades with time. I think, if anything, it grows with time. I hope to consistently fall more and more in love with my husband as we grow together and spend our lives together. When trust, love, loyalty, and kindness all continue to grow and increase- how can I not? The more we open up with each other, are vulnerable, love each other with flaws and all, feel safe, free to be ourselves, respect and feel inspired, and feel loved, liked genuinely loved I don’t see how I would not be in love with someone like that. Especially when I know and recognize how rare it is. That’s how I feel at least. With all my guys, I have either fallen more in love with them or less as I got to know them. Yes, I could have chosen to still love them regardless of my feelings of not wanting to, but why? I can still love them. Doesn’t mean I should marry them and spend the rest of my life with them. No, I hope to do that with someone who I continuously fall more in love with. Is that asking too much? I would hope that they’d fall more in love with me too.

I think many people get married to people that they love, not people that they are in love with. And I guess that’s okay. Two people can make it work. It’s all about priorities and preferences I suppose. But I couldn’t do it. Maybe that’s why I’m not married. I need something more if I’m going to commit to someone for the rest of my life. I don’t know if that’s wrong or not. But I can continue to love many people and remain single, it’s not that bad. To me, it would be worse to be married to someone I’m not really in love with. So I will wait. I had someone say once, “If love in love hurts so much when it ends and if it feels like you’re dying when you’re not with the person you love, then that sounds like a horrible feeling to me.” And he is right. It is awful but I think that’s what also makes it so beautiful. I don’t want to marry someone I just love because honestly what’s the point? I can love them and stay being friends. I want something more. I don’t think I know what being in love feels like honestly but until then, I will wait. Keep loving. And pray that when it happens, I will know. Because I think I already know what it’s not and I have no desire to settle for that.

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50 notes-to-self regarding relationships

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While I have mixed feelings about checklists, these notes-to-self serve as reminders and guidelines to help me remember truths I have learned from past relationships.

  1. Avoid any physical aspect for as long as possible in a relationship; this will ensure you really like them and not just those feelings.
  2. Ask yourself if it’s him you like or just the idea of him.
  3. Try your hardest to not default to guys you know like you to feed your ego during a break-up. Use this precious time to run to God.
  4. Trust those gut feelings (Holy Spirit) and be brave enough to walk away when you know something doesn’t feel right.
  5. Be strong enough to not make excuses; brave enough to acknowledge red flags.
  6. If talking about God pulls you apart rather than bring you together, run!
  7. Be with someone that truly values and appreciates your best qualities.
  8. You shouldn’t have to talk yourself into it…
  9. Respect and trust for him will either increase or decrease- watch for this and adjust appropriately.
  10. Wait for someone who can love, support, respect, and challenge you and knows how to balance the four correctly.
  11. Love is and always will be the most important thing. You’ll be able to recognize it; he’ll either have it or he won’t.
  12. If he views it as a sacrifice, it isn’t love; love trumps all.
  13. Be with someone who doesn’t give you the option to say no to something he knows you really want/desire.
  14. It will be easy for him to give you attention in one-on-one settings; watch how he treats you when you in groups.
  15. Be with someone who loves you as Crist love the church; after God, and because of God, you will be his #1.
  16. Never be with someone who demeans, belittles, or judges you.
  17. He must have a personal relationship with Christ.
  18. He will never attempt to question your relationship with Christ or come between it.
  19. Wait for someone who is humble. Genuinely humble, not just says he is. Always desiring to learn, grow, and be better than he was yesterday- together.
  20. There is a difference between doing things out of love and out of obedience.
  21. If I don’t feel loved, I’m probably not. Excuses do get old.
  22. Be with someone who cares about my feelings, even if they aren’t always right.
  23. Wait for someone who is proud of me and who I am proud of.
  24. Be with someone who could live without me but will fight and do whatever he can to make sure he doesn’t have to.
  25. Be with someone who enjoys being with me.
  26. He will know what Ephesians 5 means.
  27. He will understand that one of the greatest things he can do for his kids will be to love their mother/his wife.
  28. Wait for someone who gets excited about God with me.
  29. He will be someone I want to submit to.
  30. Don’t rush the relationship. Wait. Watch. And enjoy. Time will tell.
  31. Can I see him being my best friend?
  32. Wait for someone that will encourage me to lead and teach and do what God is calling me to do.
  33. Don’t be with someone who is legalistic but does have strong morals, values, and convictions.
  34. The thing he will love most about me is my heart for Christ.
  35. He will love me as much as I love him because we will both have Christ’s love.
  36. He will fell like the luckiest guy in the world to have me and I will feel the same.
  37. Wait for someone that will challenge me to be better but love me no matter what; love is unconditional.
  38. Watch for someone who is proactive and offers to help and solve problems before you even realize you needed help.
  39. Never judgmental but pushes you to grow in love.
  40. Wait for the one that truly believes that you were worth the wait.
  41. Don’t let anyone abuse you- physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.
  42. You will have fun with him no matter what you are doing.
  43. He won’t have any unhealthy bromances.
  44. Always step back and wait to see if you really like him or you are just emotionally attached; there should be definitive things you like about him.
  45. In the beginning you will see actions; in time, you will see motives.
  46. Time heals. God heals. Sometimes you’ll have to wait for God to mend your heart. Sometimes you’ll have to wait for your feelings to catch up with what you already know deep down.
  47. Wait for someone who initiates and sacrifices.
  48. A real man will use his power to love.
  49. He will value godly things above worldly accomplishments; he will understand God’s heart.
  50. I won’t have any doubts and I’ll just know.

-the virgin heartbreaker

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Why you do [NOT] have to be financially stable to get married and/or have kids

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I hear a lot, both in and out of the church, about how important it is to be financially stable before getting married or starting a family. While the definitions for ‘financially stable’ may vary, you can quickly pick up on how people feel about the subject through both verbal and non-verbal cues. When a new couple announces their engagement, my first thoughts are how well the couple knows one another, while many others immediately look to the financial side. Although being financially stable- whatever that really means- may be used as a clue into someone’s deeper character- I honestly do not think it should be a determining factor when deciding to get married or have kids. Any family can work with some effort and creativity, and most importantly, love. Call me crazy, but contrary to the popular saying of how you can’t run a family on love, I truly believe you can- and here are some reasons why:

1) You will never be (financially) ready. What does that even mean- financially ready? Is there a set amount? I always love getting my friends’ feedback on my upcoming posts. It makes me view things from a variety of perspectives. A lot of my friends said that if you wait until you feel financially ready for marriage, it will never happen. And I tend to agree. It honestly breaks my heart when I hear people say they are waiting due to financial reasons. Life is so precious and while it is important to plan and not be careless, I don’t believe in allowing money to be a determining factor. And honestly, if it is, I would question the foundation of the relationship. A guy I was dating once made a comment about a couple with three kids who were looking to have another and they weren’t doing too great financially. His tone was enough to show his disapproval. It bothered me. How do you put a price tag on a child? What it really comes down to is what are you (not) willing to give up for another child? It just makes me sad. When I think back to my childhood, the best gifts my parents ever gave me were my siblings. I wouldn’t trade them for any laptop, dance classes, vacations, or anything else we tend to spend money on while saying we can’t afford a family.

2) Love has to be enough. Why? Simply put, if not, then the relationship is dependent on whatever it is you say needs to be there. Why is it that money problems are a leading cause of divorce? Because these relationships were not founded on true love (1 Corinthians 13). They were either founded on a good business deal or partnership or infatuation/lust, but don’t call it love. That is why the “money problems” break up marriages- it was never about love to begin with. Money can serve as a complement to your marriage so you don’t have to worry or stress about certain things but it should never serve as a substitute for love. Never equate someone’s ability to provide for you to how much they love you. With real love you can make anything work. Life is full of uncertainties. What happens if one becomes disabled? One loses their job? House burns down? When you base a relationship on the financial stability level, your relationship lacks the stability it needs to survive and that is why there are so many divorces related to money problems.

3) I’d rather live in a trailer park with 5 kids with love than a fancy house with one kid feeling unloved. Life is short and real love is rare. When you find it, you better hold onto it with all you have. A guy I was dating who owned his own home once asked if I still would had agreed to go out with him if he still lived at home with his parents. This question surprised me and I was somewhat shocked. A lot of thoughts immediately ran through my head. Did he really think that mattered to me? Did he think that made him more of a man because he didn’t live at home? Were his priorities the same as mine? Did he not understand why I liked him or what attracted me to him in the first place? In some ways I was offended. But as time went on, I learned why he had thought that. For many men that is part of what they are taught equates to success and being able to take care of a woman and family. While it was nice he had thought about those things, I came to later find out he lacked the one thing I desire above all else. True love. Genuine love. While you can make choices to put others first, you can’t make yourself love if you don’t have any love to give. A person knows when they are truly loved. At least I know.

4) True love is the best motivator. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is how much we loved. While it’s certainly nice to have the latest gadgets and be debt free, these things won’t matter in the end. “He who dies with the most toys still dies.” I believe we were all called to live for something so much greater than this life. Sometimes we get so caught up planning for our future in this life that we forget to take the steps to plan for our future in the next. We don’t know how long we are here for and our time to leave could come at any moment. I see so many people my age that are miserable because they are so set on planning for the future. Don’t get so caught up on the future that you miss out on the present. One of the biggest regrets of so many old people is how much time they spent working. Enjoy today. Love. Real love comes from God and understanding of how much God loves us. “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” -1 John 4:8 When we truly love our spouse and our kids, anything is possible and we can make anything work. And I don’t even like to call it work because, to me, loving and being loved is such a precious gift and makes everything worth it and so much better. I can’t wait to experience that kind of love with my future husband.

-the virgin heartbreaker

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