THE SEASON OF SINGLENESS -PART 3 : RED FLAGS BEFORE MARRIAGE
RED FLAGS BEFORE MARRIAGE.
Let’s get unpacking now. I prefer to say before marriage since red flags could present themselves in four different phases: before a relationship starts, at the beginning of a relationship, when you two have begun dating, in courtship, when things are turning out to be serious, or when engaged ready to be married – even two weeks before the wedding day.
It is important to be very wary and cautious because no sense of “ownership” is deemed permanent before marriage. Only marriage has it’s permanence.
This man loves the Lord, like totally. He is the lead worship vocalist, never misses bible study, known by all the pastors and dresses like a million dollar, did I forget how he smells like rose-water? How dandy!
This lady loves the Lord too. Her smile is enough to make the rain disappear. She is as placid as the lilies, makes you feel “manly” with her unending compliments, did I mention that she can hit some notes out this world? How splendid!
They have a great personalities. One that leaves you gushing all over your boys and your girlfriends. You cannot keep calm. You are simply smitten. The Lord must be talking…so you think…
Hold it! Wait a minute. Breathe in and out.
Time to hit the hazard button. Time to go back to the closest. After praying, pick up your dating IQ brain (because the flamboyance of love in its initial stages has a way of numbing that thinking part of us), and get moving. It’s time to watch and pray…
I love how Christ says this to us in Matthew 26:41.
This story gets me. Christ took the disciples who saw him “naked” and were his closest confidants up the mountain of Gethsemane to pray. This was the second time he found them asleep because their “eyes were heavy” with sleep. He said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
This is where the rubber meets the road. So many singles do not do the watching part, and neither do they pray. Some pray, but never watch out for the red flags that the Lord points at. Why, “the flesh is weak.” It’s weak from despair. It’s weak from failing to recognize that marriage itself cannot make one whole. It’s weak because “age seems to be catching up.” It’s weak because “all your friends are getting married” and having cute little baby bump pictures.
You see if you view singleness as a point of despair rather than a point of growth, no matter how “advanced in age” you might be, chances are that you will fall for anything. You will spend your whole life pursuing relationships, giving yourself to those relationships more than God that you miss your purpose.
There is no bigger tragedy that could possibly befall you than ignoring what the Lord asks of you to do, no matter how painful it might be. Obedience knows no ages, seasons, nor stages. His statutes lead to life (Psalms 19:7).
God ALWAYS gives us red flags. God cannot lead you into marriage knowing that it would break your heart. He must show you if you are earnestly seeking Him. But most of us ignore those flags, because you seriously want to “settle.”
Red flags are presented to us by God to caution us, to tell us that we need to proceed on with the journey with extras in the pack. God cannot lead us into unfruitful marriages, nor divorce – we either ignored the red flags or let the self-get in the way. It is either, or.
So before you begin to paint a picture of marriage with this lady or guy, see if you can find some red-flags in your relationship, whichever phase it lies on the continuum of friendship to marriage. If you do, it is highly advisable that you take a pause and re-evaluate your heart, re-evaluate your purpose against what you are hoping to have or holding on. The bible says in Proverbs 4:23, that we should guard our hearts with all diligence for out is springs the issues of life.
Are you so petrified of being alone? Then you don’t need a relationship first…You need your wholeness back.
RED FLAG 1: FALLING IN LOVE TOO QUICK TOO SOON.
I get people who ask me a lot, how did I know my husband was the one?
No! God did not hit me with a thunder-bolt and spoke with a loud voice that, “He is the one.” I did not know for sure that he was the ‘one’ automatically. What I can tell you for sure that he was eye-candy to me! No joke! I loved how he looked when I first saw him.
Look is the word. I loved and still love his beard. He had a white shirt- still loves white- with blue jeans and his favorite shoes, the air force. He wore a chain and stood straight. His gait made me notice how broad shouldered he was. His arms were chiseled, and definitely smelt like rose-water! Yes, I noticed all that! My heart raced as he said “hey.” I really had to compose myself. I needed to compose myself.
It was so easy for me to fall for him based on his looks. Who wouldn’t want a man who makes your knees warp? I mean, 11 years later, I still love his physique – but I did not allow myself. I couldn’t allow my heart to grow fond of him too fast. I was through enough that i promised myself that i wouldn’t make an idol out of a man. So I hit my hazard button. It was time to be attentive and proceed with caution.
So many of us fall for people too quick, too soon. We don’t know how to pace ourselves. Have you ever seen a marathoner? They don’t just sprint out as if the race will be over in two minute. They pace themselves. Others remain at the tail end until the bell signals, “3 more laps to go.” They begin picking up, strong, steady, but faster.
We on the other hand, are a quick-fix generation. We want the product, but not the process. We don’t know how to cultivate friendships, instead we are so thrilled by how someone makes you go ga-ga and how they superficially look.
Truthfully speaking, there is nothing better to build your intimacy on save for friendship. Friendships make it easier for one to build and cultivate on. It’s easier to solve a rut with your friend. It’s easier to speak truthfully to your friend, other than a stranger. So why not pace your steps?
Ladies often build a whole life with this “guy” even without knowing exactly what his vision is where he is going and how he interacts with people whom he is not trying to please. Watch out Miss! Pace your steps. Do not allow yourself to ‘feel’ things too quick without interacting with this person outside your domain.
How is this person’s behavior with other people other than you? He might be smiling so much at you yet he is flirts with other girls. How is his temper? How does he solve problems? She might be complementing you so much, but she does the same to the guy next door. Is she too clingy?
Do not be hasty that you miss the way of wisdom. Desire without knowledge is not good— Proverbs 19:2-3 says how much more will hasty feet miss the way! A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.
They might look like a blessing but they are not. The purpose of dating is to get clarity on certain matters pertaining the future. It’s about character evaluation and you cannot evaluate someone character with the clarity of mind if all you do is build ‘castles’ in your head, all day, and even have a complete family with them!
Give your feelings time to sediment! Am not saying that you should turn off your attraction towards them, instead put put a guard on it. Watch them. Study them. The best things that happened to us was to date outside us. I quickly joined in in places he invited me to go with him, not keep track on him, but to watch how he carried himself out around ‘other ladies’ apart from me. It was necessary to know. It was part of my quest.
I needed to listen to what they were saying about him. You might not join each other’s church circles, join his bible study group, but there will definitely be points to watch out for. Who do they talk about often? What dominates their conversations? How do they respond to situations not favorable to them? How is he/she when you two are conversing?
I remember time and time again, Johnny used to correct my approach on handling situations that did not favor me. He told me that I needed to learn some patience. Sure, through him God has taught me about “my hastiness in talking.” He was my friend. I loved our friendship and still do. It’s so easy to talk, and correct each because we paced ourselves. We are good friends.
Friendship makes us talk even when angry at each other because we love each other’s company.
“So why shouldn’t tell a guy that I love him?” Well, I am a firm believer that a man finds you. He should have his mission, vision set out before him before pursing you. God prepares him to be a husband before he finds his wife. You come in as a suitable-helper. You are his vehicle to his future-self. Therefore, you cannot be any man’s wife. A man who hasn’t pursued you is either engaged elsewhere or not sure of his commitment to you.
A lady who has to be pushed to meet you over coffee. Always gives excuse as to why she cannot come to have a talk, talks in monologues and generally looks bored around you, is clearly telling you that you shouldn’t try harder.
Sexual attraction is secondary to a friendship in a relationship that is to lead into marriage. Friendship cultivated allows you to differentiate between pseudo-intimacy and true love. True love is tested with time and seasons. So pack up, the journey is not for the swift, it’s for the paced.
Singleness in Christ…