It’s so crazy to think if God would have let me have my way, I would be married right now. I am so thankful God loved me enough, to save me from my premature desires, show me the idolatrous heart, and teach me to press into Jesus and his Church.

Compiling Biblical Manhood
Unlike most of the women I know, marriage isn’t something I’ve been dreaming of since I was a little girl. My dreams began when I became a believer in my late teens. I would read books about Christ-centered marriages, and what it looks like to be a Godly wife, but one topic in particular held my attention: Biblical Manhood.

I loved to read books and articles about what men of God should be like. From those readings, I began to compile a mental list of qualities I would like my man of God to have. The crazy thing about all of this is while I was building this list, I was completely blinded to the areas I needed to grow in.

My only focus was how this man would serve me. In this list, I found false security in an invisible man, and I did not know it at the time. I was looking for a “savior”, but his name was not Jesus!

Man vs. Checklist
Through the books and articles I had been devouring, I developed an idea. If a man and woman who truly loved the Lord got together, it would have to result in a fairy tale marriage where he would flawlessly love me like Christ loves the church. I had no idea my unrealistic and idolatrous view of romantic relationships would soon be my downfall.

During this time, I met a man who simply asked me to share my testimony with him. Because I was already way too obsessed and eager to be in a Christ-centered relationship, I quickly became interested in him. I totally jumped the gun and began to mentally check certain things off my list: believer –“check,” intelligent—“check”, handsome—“check,” loves theology—“check,” and so on.

This man didn’t stand a chance against my graceless expectation for him to be my savior. I never would have admitted it, but I fully expected him to be the one to make me whole.

As time went on, we entered into a serious relationship. At first we genuinely attempted to honor God, but began to fail in so many ways. Over time we found ourselves overlooking certain failures; so much so they became a normal part of our relationship. What was at first abnormal became our new normal, and honoring God now took a back seat to our unhealthy relationship.

Many of these failures could have been avoided if we weren’t operating in isolation. Proverbs 18:1 warns us isolation causes us to break out against all sound judgment. This is the kind of sound judgment that neither of us had, prior to and during our relationship.

We had surface level interactions with other believers, but lacked the kind of community that knew the ins and outs of what was really going on. If we had brothers and sisters deeply involved in our lives, they would have been able to lovingly point out the red flags we couldn’t see.

A Bitter Engagement
Unfortunately, we continued to rely on the leadership of our feelings, and honoring God was pushed further to the side. I am certain a healthy community of believers would have counseled us against even entering into the relationship, because of our lack of spiritual and emotional maturity. Just as scripture says, without counsel, our plans failed big time (Prov. 15:22).

After a little over a year together, we got engaged. Though I thought all of my unrealistic dreams were coming true, this was really the beginning of the end. The stress of the engagement magnified the negative aspects of our relationship.

All of the things we refused to acknowledge became completely unavoidable and manifested themselves into bitter arguments and battered feelings. I think it’s safe to say that he fell off of my pedestal – way off!

Because of the tunnel vision in our relationship and lack of accountability, we missed many obvious warning signs. This proves no matter how many books you read or how many sermons you hear, you can still have absolutely no clue what you’re doing. The knowledge we took in only produced arrogance that kept other believers at arm’s length. Even when people tried to speak into our situation, we shut them down. We thought we knew it all, but we were so wrong.

By God’s grace, I was able to see how unhealthy the situation had been all along. I had made an idol out of him and out of our relationship. By God’s grace, I finally decided not to stand for the patterns I realized dishonored God.

Even though we were just five months into the engagement, it was clear it had to end. Through the pain of this heartbreak, God continued to show me where my heart really was.

But God…

This process was painful and embarrassing, but totally worth it to call me out of my delirium. I see now relationships have their place, but they should never be in the place of God. I was using this relationship to define who I was as a woman , and this break up was completely necessary for me to finally see that nothing— and no one—can define me or complete me but my Creator.

Though it didn’t feel like it at the time, I know it was God’s loving kindness that brought me back to the truth of where my identity lies. It’s not in relationship, not in a man, not in marriage, but in him and him alone.

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