Die to Relationship Expectations

In high school, I convinced myself that I would follow the trend of my two sisters that came before me and marry at 21. At 20 years old, I was dating a guy and the pressure was on. So when my 21st birthday rolled around and there was not even an engagement ring in sight, I felt more than a little down. Eight years later, I’m still not married and both of my sisters’ marriages have ended in divorce (btw, men who don’t fear God are dumb). I suspect that had I followed the trend, I might be too.

Thanksgiving is coming up and people often times associate the holiday with noisy relatives, right?

What if that wasn’t always the case?

Often times, we get guilted about our relationship status by OURSELVES. Then, when friends, family, and even strangers ask about our status, we feel more pressure (especially us who are nearing 30). It can be frustrating to say the least. But, should we hold ourselves to the standards of others? Should we beat ourselves up because we feel vulnerable about this subject? Or should we own where we are with pride and be confident?

I say own it.

It’s time we take back the narrative on our lives and show ourselves and the world that we can be content in whatever state we find ourselves in. (Philippians 4:11).

Have some expectations set for yourself.
When you’re young and single, everybody has an opinion about your life. How you should pursue relationships, who you should date, how you should spend your money, what your job should be and so on. That’s fine. It’s their opinion. But, it’s easy to be swayed by these opinions about your life if you have none. Examine yourself. What do you like about yourself? What do you expect from yourself in the future? Do you even know what you want besides “a good relationship/marriage”? Set goals for yourself and have something to work towards. Your life doesn’t begin and end with marriage. You are a person created for purpose. Find out what that is. So many of us have passion projects that we could be working on, but we’re stuck thinking that it’ll work better when we’re married. No. Write the vision and work it. Give others something else to talk to you about other than your relationship status. (But keep in mind that this subject consumes other people so much that sometimes, that’s all they CAN talk to you about.)

When approached about your relationship status, answer in confidence.
You don’t have to become a hermit crab, hiding in a shell when someone else is concerned about the state of your marital status. That’s not their job. It’s not even yours. God’s timing is perfect. Own the place He has you in this season and in every area of your life. If you’re single, don’t hesitate to respond as such when approached by others. Be so confident in yourself that your marital status becomes a non-factor in the conversation. A smile and simple answer “no I’m not in a relationship, but thanks for asking” never hurt anyone.

Surround yourself with people who could care less about judging your life.
I understand you can’t always get away from the pesky relative at Thanksgiving. But in your everyday life, surround yourself with people who encourage you in your journey. Befriend those who understand that you are a champion with or without a spouse. Have friends that you can go out with and enjoy without them placing their expectations on you as well. Be around people who have the same mind and heart as you – those seeking to live out their God-given purpose and make a difference in the world.

Be clear, this isn’t an end to this list, there are so many more ways you can die to self-inflicted expectations and those of others. But the most important thing is to remember that God is in control of your life and the only relationship you’re defined by is the one you have with Him.

He knows your desires and it will come when YOU’RE ready.

You may think you are, but maybe you don’t like sharing and the person God has for you does. Maybe you’re a girl who doesn’t know how to cook and your future husband doesn’t either so he’s giving you time to get interested in cooking (or really good at ordering takeout). Maybe you’re a guy that doesn’t know how to be as respectful of women as you should and your future wife values chivalry. Always be working to become the best version of yourself that you can be at the time. You don’t have to be perfect. The right person will accept you regardless. But again, that person will come when God knows you’re ready and you’re actively looking (guys) or in position to be found (ladies).

What would your advice be? Leave a comment below, I’m interested to know.

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