My first date was when I was 14. We went to a Macaulay Culkin movie and out to dinner. This guy became my first boyfriend. It’s hard to say what I thought of that relationship…obviously I liked him, but one day he said (referring to our relationship), “Love is a wonderful thing!” And in that moment I thought, “Love? This is not love.” Shortly after, we broke up.
My subsequent relationships all went pretty much like that. With each new relationship, my heart filled with excitement and hope that this guy would be the one to fulfill all my longings! But I was always frustrated with him (whoever he was at the time). He was consistently letting me down. Sometimes it would be that he would forget the things I had told him. Sometimes I didn’t seem like a priority to him. Sometimes he even cheated on me. And eventually, we broke up.
I thought, “Maybe I’m dating the wrong kind of guy?” So then I decided that I would only date religious guys. “They are considerate and moral,” I thought. So I dated a Christian. And he too let me down.
Crying over instant messenger, I asked my friend’s boyfriend for advice. (I wanted a guy’s perspective). He told me that God had the answer. He said that until I was satisfied and fulfilled with being loved by God, that I would never be content in any relationship with another person. Because I was looking to a guy to love me in a way that only God is capable—perfect love. He told me that God did have a wonderful plan for my life, and it most likely included a wonderful man, but that God’s intent for human relationships is to reflect our relationship with Himself.
My friend’s boyfriend continued to ask me questions. They were mostly about Jesus. Because without Jesus, we cannot have a relationship with God. I knew this from my childhood. I was fortunate enough to have someone explain to me at a young age that because I had sinned, my relationship with God had been broken. (“Sin” is a Bible-word for “missing the mark of perfection”—Romans 3:23 and 6:23). But God loves us so much that He wants our relationship with Him to be restored. So He sent His Son Jesus Christ, who did in fact live a perfect (sinless) life on earth. Jesus was falsely blamed and put to death on a cross for my sin (and for yours and everyone’s!) (John 3:16).
So like I was saying, when I was young, someone explained this to me in a way I could understand. And I believed with all my heart that God loves me, that He sacrificed Himself for me, that He is powerful enough to overcome the very death He suffered, and that there's nothing I can do to make Him love me more-- I just accept by faith this gift! (Ephesians 2:8-9). One of my favorite quotes is: “Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is the glue.” If I just accept God’s gift of Jesus, he glues me back to Himself!!
So my friend’s boyfriend knew that I did have this mended relationship with God. But he told me that I wasn’t allowing that relationship to impact my life the way it could. He told me to think of God saying to me, “I want you to stop planning, stop wishing, and allow me to give you the most thrilling plan existing…one that’s meant to prosper you and not to harm you, one to give you a hope and a future.” (All of that is in the Bible—Proverbs 3:5-6 and Jeremiah 29:11).
So I took His advice (God’s and my friend’s boyfriend’s). I focused just on the Lord. I came to realize for myself that my relationship with God was the best one that I had! HE would never let me down! HE never forgot what I told him, HE never thought me unimportant, and HE never ever would betray me! But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t still need relationships with other people.
I quickly found that if my friendships were based on the common thread of a relationship with God, that they too were richer and more satisfying! Of course, it was the same with dating. I met Karl at a Cru retreat. He was the first boyfriend I had who said that I was #2 in his life, yet I always felt more valued by him than any of those other guys. It was because his #1 was his relationship with God.
We’ve been married for many years now. Our relationship continues to reflect God’s perfect love as we strive to encourage each other to keep God our #1. Being satisfied with our #1 allows us to forgive each other when we mess up—which we do because we’re still not perfect. But I am confident that our marriage would not be as joyful, peaceful, and I think too, fun, if it weren’t for us first being in love with our Savior.
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"God saves us, not because of the good things we have done, but because of His mercy." Titus 3:5
"Noi non abbiamo fatto nulla che potesse piacere a lui, ma egli ci ha solvati perché a avuto pietà di noi. Ci ha salvati nel battesimo mediante lo Spirito Santo che fa rinascere e ci dà nuova vita..." Tito 3:5
"For it is by grace you have been saved by faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; not by works so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
"Ricordate, è per grazia di Dio che siete stati salvati, per mezzo della fede. La salvezza non viene da voi, ma è un dono di Dio; non è il risultato dei vostri sforzi. Dunque nessuno può vantarsene." Efesini 2:8-9