Feb 14th: the international day of lurrrrrve. When I was asked to write about relationships I was pretty stumped as I feel completely unqualified to speak into this as I am fully guessing my way through it but I suppose that is what everyone is doing. So, I thought I would just attempt to share some thoughts and things I have been learning along the way. This probably won’t be a classic ‘relationships blog’ as I will highlight some of the more challenging (yet necessary) parts of relationships as well as the great and easy parts. I think anything beautiful and good in life is worth the work.
I’ve been with my boyfriend for a few months now and although only a short time I feel like I am learning something new literally everyday whether it’s about myself, him, communication, how I receive love, how he receives love… the list goes on.
The first thing I feel is important to note is that we both have more fun with each other the more time we spend together. As the friendship and love grows and the more comfortable we become with each other the better the banter gets but also the more freely and openly we can speak with one another. I think there is this huge emphasis often put on dating your best friend and I 100% agree the person you’re doing life most closely with should be your best friend but I also don’t think you need to be best pals before you can even consider going on a date to explore the possibility of eventually being together. Just enjoy the journey together as you get to know one another better and learn about them and spend time intentionally growing in friendship. What I’m saying is, if you feel a bit awkward or nervous on your first date (totally normal by the way), don’t just write it off.
Communication. The golden word that is the topic of so many conversations. It really has been one of my biggest learning curves in learning how to let someone new into my life, thought processes and honestly also insecurities. It’s a big deal and probably also one of the first things you will find yourself learning and facing as a couple. I’d say the top thing I have learnt in this area are, if you trust the other person, share openly with how you are feeling and let them into the process with you as it’s a lot harder to do it on your own. Although the conversation may feel difficult in the moment it is always worth just getting through a slightly awkward couple of minutes to prevent problems arising because you aren’t both on the same page. I think this is something you practice both individually and as a couple and you can grow in together. The awkward conversations will always be awkward, you’ll just get better in communicating to your partner and vice versa.
Finding things and activities you enjoy doing together is so important in my opinion. Whether it’s a sport, watching a movie, going for walks, reading together, whatever it is… finding things to do together to just have fun and enjoy each other’s company is so good, especially when life can get so busy and days and weeks just pass you by. Taking time to just enjoy being with one another intentionally, always getting to know the other person better and more deeply is so key. In the same way as well, dating someone who has some similar interests to me and can have good, honest and deep conversations with me was also so important. I wanted the person who I was going to be journeying life with the closest to be someone I can bounce my questions off, pray with, talk about Jesus with and about the harder things too. The thing is, different things are going to be important to different people entering into relationships and I would really recommend knowing those in yourself beforehand.
I once read in a book (crazy love by Francis Chan) to read the classic Bible verses used to explain love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 : “love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant…” and substitute the word love for your name and honestly it’s profoundly convicting. So for me; Beth is patient, Beth is kind and so on. Do it for every part of the passage and by the end I think you will find yourself feeling like you’ve just lied your way through it. I did anyway! I want to continue learning and growing individually but also with my boyfriend in how to love more deeply and have grace more openly. A lifelong journey I think. I would encourage you to invite God into the process, He is the best example of love we are ever going to find.
I loved my singleness and I also absolutely love being in a relationship. I believe that in every season of your life that if you’re choosing to walk closely with Jesus, there is so much beauty to be found there. Finding someone to share life with, in the highs and the lows is a true gift and one I don’t take lightly. Don’t rush in or out of any places you’re currently in, grow, learn, fall more deeply in love with Jesus and I promise you, you will find great joy and peace there.