Admittedly, I have been in a lot of relationships throughout my life. Some were popularity moves and comforts (those darn high school years) and others were pursuits of the daunting Christian journey of finding “the one.” And now I’m 26, had three breakups in the past two years, and realizing how much closer I am to God when I’m single rather than when I’m in a relationship.
It shouldn’t be that way.
I wrote the Ebook Why Christian Relationships Fail and How to Make Yours a Success two years ago; although the content is filled with my relationship stories, lessons, and helpers, for some reason, my relationships are still failing, even the one with the big guy upstairs.
I always thought Paul was crazy when he told people not to marry in 1 Corinthians chapter 7—all I have ever desired in life is to be married— it’s the ultimate Christian christening. But the more I live and get my heart broken and grovel in the mess of my life, I find that the journey out of relational brokenness and into singleness grows my relationship with God more than it ever did when I was in the relationship.
In verse 32 Paul relays, “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs-how he can please the Lord. A married man is concerned about the affairs of this world-how he can please his wife-and his interests are divided.”
I’ve never been married, but I have been in a lot of relationships where this statement is still true. Reflecting on my time in and out of a relationship, I find that I always trust God and pursue God more when single than I ever do while in a relationship. Paul is spot on—our concerns change once a significant other is involved.
We are more worried about why she didn’t text me back or why he chose to go out with his friends rather than come over and watch Netflix. We care more about how she is feeling and how he is doing and connecting on a euphoric level that makes us day dream of wedding bells than we ever do about how our relationship with God is going.
Married couples tell me similar concerns arise too—jobs, money, kids, drama, and problems often take a higher priority than focusing on a relationship with God does.
And let’s be honest, we do a pathetic job of making God our first priority. Because he always should be, in or out of a relationship.
I do love the benefits that relationships offer when God is pursued first, when every problematic blip on the relationship radar is approached with God’s love, God’s guidance, and God’s Word. People grow into God and into each other when relationships are operated that way.
Even so, we have a solo journey that we will always adventure, and it’s the personal pursuit of God. While in a relationship, we need to long for God more than we long for our other. We need to be right with God, before we can be right with our other. And if we can’t do that, then maybe we shouldn’t be in a relationship, because a rough relationship with God will bring a rough relationship with those we love.
In my singleness, I feel God closer, I notice him more often, he is a life-spring of everything that I’ve searched for in a significant other. I understand why God’s role in my life changes in a relationship, and I also understand why in the future I’m never letting that happen again.
Instead, I’ll tell the girl I fancy that she can come along for a lifelong pursuit of Christ, but that I don’t need her, cuz I’ve got Jesus. And I hope in return, she’ll tell me the same thing, “I don’t need you either, cuz I’ve got Jesus.”