How to Find True Love in the Waiting
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TRUE LOVE AND COMPLETION
“Madi,” as she likes to be called, has learned a lot about relationships in her 27 years. She admits that she, like many other young women, have looked for their identity in a relationship. “If I just had a significant other, I would feel whole and I have to follow my heart above all else. While there are obviously wonderful aspects of being with another person, these ideas aren’t the fullest expression of God’s love and calling for us,” she says. "We will never feel the security we crave if we try to build it on the quicksand of today’s version of love. But what about a love that is never changing, never failing, and never leaving? Isn’t that what we all want?”
When it comes to relationships, Madi says that we live in a world that tells us we need to find our partner to be truly happy, to complete us. She admits that we were made for love, but says for too long women have defined that as the love of a man. As a newlywed, she’s quick to say that Grant has added more laughter, joy, and fulfillment to her life than she thought possible. “But that’s the point: He’s added. He hasn’t completed.” She offers another perspective. “Here’s a healthier ideal: complementing. It says, ‘I don’t need you in order to be whole, but I want you because you add value to my life.’ Completing speaks to lack, complementing speaks to addition,” Madi clarifies.
LOVE IS BLIND
“It’ll get better once we get married. He’ll change. I see potential! My expectations are just too high.” These are some of the false notions Madi says people want to believe to make an unhealthy relationship work. “When it comes to relationships, we tend to have selective vision. We see what we want to see. We focus on their potential instead of looking at patterns displayed in their everyday life.” As to why we do this, Madi says, “I think it often comes down to fear. We’re afraid of the cold, hard truth. We’re afraid of what is on the other side of accepting the truth. We’re afraid to be alone or rejected.” She counsels that it is far better to face the truth, even if it leads us somewhere we don’t want to be for a while.
Madi points out a number of “red flags” to be cautious of when dating someone and sensing that things aren’t what they should be. “The red flags you tolerate or ignore at the beginning lay the groundwork for the kind of relationship you build,” she warns. Some of those warning signs (from a woman’s perspective, but of course apply to both) are:
• He Isn’t Healed from His Past.
“If a guy isn’t healed from past relationships, hurts, or addictions, it will create obstacles in your relationship and likely have a negative effect on you. And if he grows defensive, secretive, or deceptive when you ask a question about his past, he’s got baggage that you don’t want or need to take on.”
• You Are Dating for Who He Could Be and Not Who He is Now
“Don’t date someone’s potential,” Madi advises. “Don’t date someone that you hope will change. If he isn’t doing it now, what makes you think he will do it later? Relationships don’t change people; they reveal people.”
“How far is too far? If we don’t have sex before marriage, what if it’s bad in marriage? Is it bad to watch pornography? How do I deal with the shame for everything I’ve already done?” Madi made a firm stand not to have sex with the young man on The Bachelor, and received both praise and criticism for it. She’s taken much time to think through her convictions and answers all these questions, admitting her own struggles, and offering great grace no matter what one’s sexual past has included. “Here’s the thing – sex and all sexual acts were created to be experienced in the confines of marriage and to bring unity to the marriage. But when we experience them outside the covenant of marriage, they bring the opposite.”
Madi offers these words of advice: “If you are asking yourself, ss this too far? It’s too far. Don’t try to get as close to the line of impurity as you can. Try to get as close to purity as you can. Crossing the line of impurity or dancing beside it hinders your intimacy with God and your future intimacy with your husband. Chasing purity and holiness with all you’ve got helps grow your intimacy with God and your future intimacy with your husband.”
A few ways Madi offers to women to remain or return to purity are:
• Pray for forgiveness and confess for healing.
• Know your why. What’s your reason for having boundaries in the first place?
• Pre-decide your boundaries and tell someone. Decide before you’re in the heat of the moment.
• Surround yourself with godly friends – those who love you and love God even more.
• Feed the Spirit - What you feed and nurture grows.
• Pray for strength – What feels impossible is possible with God.
Purchase your copy of Madi's book, The Love Everybody Wants, here: www.TheLoveEverybodyWants.com.
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