Only Jesus Walks on Water

“You’re Christian, You’re Single – Find God’s Soulmate for You at Christian*****.com! Make a Meaningful, Lifelong Connection With Someone Who Shares Your Beliefs.”

Well, there you have it. Sign up online and you get God’s Soulmate for You. So nice to know God works through the internet. (insert eyeroll)

We’re currently talking about self-awareness, in life and mostly in dating. Last week, we focused on men, and this week, you ladies get our attention! I’ll preface this with I’m pretty opinionated on this subject and not everyone will agree with me. That’s ok. This is one woman’s thoughts.

So, I’ll start here. The quote above is directly from a Christian dating site. Sign up and find God’s Soulmate for you. Makes me want to scream. I am in my second marriage. Every day I thank God for him. Every day we are grateful for our marriage. I wouldn’t trade it and I’d stack it up against anyone’s marriage. So, is he my soulmate? Hmmm. Not sure I can answer that. I’m not fond of the soulmate fantasy.

God is very clear, He brings people into our lives to sharpen us, to make us holy, to make us more like Jesus, to grow us. I think the idea of a soulmate would be entirely about making us happy. Marriage is about making us holy. So first, I think we have to stop looking for our soulmate.

As I’ve worked with women over the years, there is often this unrealistic idea about the man we are going to date or marry. Maybe it comes from Hallmark movies (and I’m a bit of a fan) or Disney or just society as a whole. In the secular world, we are taught to look for the perfect man, the knight in shining armor. In the non-secular, were taught to look for Jesus. This puts incredible pressure on men. My favorite phrase is, “Only Jesus walks on water, he is not going to.”

Growing up none of us get 100% of our needs met. It’s part of the world we live in. This is true of you. It’s true of me. It’s true of everyone. The degree to which our needs aren’t met varies widely. But it’s the sad truth, we all have baggage. And some of us have a lot of it. Whether it’s from childhood, or our twenties, or previous relationships or marriages – all of these experiences leave their mark as a series of micro-traumas that shape and define us.

The nature and depth of these traumas imprint themselves onto our unconscious and become the map of how we experience love and intimacy. If mom was over-protective and dad was never around, that will form part of our map for love and intimacy.

You and I and everyone else have met thousands of people. Out of those, multiple hundreds probably met our physical criteria for a mate. Yet out of those hundreds, we fall in love with a couple – maybe? Only a handful we meet in our entire lives will ever grab us on a soul level.

In short, our unconscious is wired to seek out romantic interests who it believes will fulfill our unfulfilled emotional needs, to fill in the gaps of the love and nurturing we missed out on as kids or young adults. This is why dating and relationships can be so painful and difficult for so many of us. We often think that somehow this other person is going to meet all our needs, resolve any past traumas, and complete us. When they don’t, these experiences rub up against our prior traumas causing us anxiety, neuroticism, stress and pain.

Hopefully by now, as a Jesus follower, you’ve come to understand that only God can truly fulfill us, heal us and complete us. No human can do that, but somehow we still seek it.

So listen up, gals. I hate to typecast us, but I have seen women do some crazy stuff. Not rabbit in a pot crazy, but still pretty out there. The number one thing women tend to do is come across as desperate. Whether it is desperate to be in a relationship, or to be married or to be completed. That is a lot, A LOT, of pressure for a guy.

Then he backs away because the pressure is too high and what happens next? She moves in, maybe freaks out a bit, leaves voicemails, multiple texts, a few emails – looking more desperate. It’s a bad cycle. Admittedly, most of us don’t go there, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t tempted.

Here are a few things to think about on the frontend:

  • Objectifying someone is when you see them only for a specific purpose and don’t see them as fully integrated human beings. Objectification is ultimately disastrous for one’s own emotional health, not to mention one’s relationships.
  • Manipulation and games. By engaging in games and manipulation, we withhold our true intentions and identities, and therefore we withhold our best selves. With these tactics, the aim is to get someone to fall for the perception we create rather than who we really are. Eventually, our true self must come out, which can then be problematic. Be authentic.
  • Overuse of humor, teasing, bantering. A classic strategy of distraction. Not that jokes or teasing are always bad, but an interaction of nothing but jokes and teasing is a means to communicate without saying anything important, to enjoy yourselves without actually doing anything, and to feel like you know each other without actually knowing a thing.
  • If it ends, it ends. Move on.

Ultimately, your emotional needs will only be fully met in a loving and conscious relationship with someone who you can trust and work together with – and not just your emotional issues, but his as well. This is the reason that honesty and vulnerability are so powerful for creating high-quality interactions – the practice of being upfront about your desires and flaws will naturally screen for those who best suit you and connect with you.

This kind of authenticity changes the whole dynamic of dating. Instead of chasing and pursuing or wishing and hoping, you focus on consistently improving yourself and presenting that self to the beautiful strangers of the world. The right ones will pay attention and stay.

A Few Tips for Women Who Yearn for Marriage

Top Two:

  • The most important thing is to focus on your faith. If your relationship with God doesn’t feel strong, vibrant and fresh, then that’s the love to focus on. Start with God.
  • Be honest with yourself, not every Christian man is dating or marriage material. Don’t ignore the warning signs. Be honest about the red flags as soon as they arise and talk to someone you trust.
  1. Talk to God about your hopes for a relationship

What are your hopes for your future? It’s so tempting to rush into relationships – especially when you’ve been single for a while. You’re experiencing a natural, healthy desire for connection and intimacy. God created men and women to be together.

The most important dating advice for women is to take your time. Be patient. You’re tired of being alone, and you believe God has someone for you. These are good, healthy thoughts and desires! There is nothing wrong with your hopes for marriage.

  1. Let God lead the way to the right relationship

Do you know what’s best for you? Smart Christian women admit that no, they really don’t know what should happen in their dating relationships, marriages, and lives. They know what they want to happen, but they don’t know what God knows.

In my early years, many times I was certain that THIS was the guy! Then I met someone, ignored every red flag and married. It lasted 7 years.

When I met my second husband, I had become a Jesus follower and was focused on my God walk not my dating life. I was humbly allowing God to lead me. Listening for His voice, His direction, His promptings. If He had a future relationship for me, then so be it. And, He did!

  1. Balance patience with action

Work towards getting emotionally and spiritually healthy before you embark on a relationship. You’ll have a better chance of building a wonderful marriage.

Were you emotionally or spiritually destroyed by a past relationship? Talk to a Christian counselor. Get help, because your past relationships will affect the decisions you’re making today. Forgive yourself, forgive others. God will use every experience He gives you.

  1. Trust God to lead you to the right man

You know you need to trust God. But you also need to know that you can trust Him.  Do you truly believe He knows what He’s doing, and you really have no idea what’s best for you? Do you believe He loves you and wants the best for your life?

  1. Seek the wisdom of others – but take it to God

Women in relationships or in love need to gather wisdom from Godly friends and family, Biblical advice, prayer, and direction from the man they’re dating. And then, take it to God. Pray over your relationship, goals, hopes, and feelings. Don’t rush into marriage, and don’t make impulsive decisions that will affect the rest of your life.

Dating is tough. And, dating later in life with baggage in tow is tougher. It only works with God in charge. It only works by humbly letting God lead the way. Yes, it takes patience and often, especially in matters of love, patience is hard to come by.  I can only say, I’ve been there and my heart goes out to all of you wanting to be in a relationship and waiting for the right partner. Trust God. And, most importantly enjoy life and all it offers in the wait.

For God and you,

Deb Bostwick