Dealing with relationships: seasons

Jen Boyd | Jan 5th, 2013

Part 1: Relationships - love 

Making the most of the season

So, how do you make the most of the season you are in? Let me suggest that it starts with seeing the unique opportunities you have to show your love for God and those around you.

If you are single ...

This is a great time to grow in your relationship with God. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that those who are unmarried can focus on the things of the Lord and on how to please him, but those who are married are distracted by the need to please their spouse (1 Cor 7:32-34).

If you are single, your thought life, emotional energy and time are freed up. So use these to get to know God better. Don’t think of this as the second best option. It is the first best. Knowing the God of the universe personally and for eternity is the greatest privilege, and you can live this to the max!

Enjoy the freedom you have to spend time with lots of different people – develop good Christian friends and give yourself to your friends who don’t know Jesus. Be a friend to the other single people you know. Offer to pray for your friends who are ‘going out’. Hang out with married couples who have kids – read the kids bedtime stories and offer to baby-sit. You will be a reminder to your married friends that marriage isn’t everything and that we are looking forward to an even greater marriage of Christ with his church (Eph 5:32).

If you are ‘going out’ ...

Work hard to keep the focus of your life on God and not your boyfriend or girlfriend. By this I mean that God should be the one shaping your priorities, your choices, your lifestyle.

Love your boyfriend or girlfriend by seeking what is best for them. If you’re not thinking there’s any chance you will marry them, it’s not loving to string them along just so that you can ultimately break up with them. This is one reason why it would be unloving to ‘go out’ with someone who is not a Christian – if you know you wouldn’t marry them. Being deeply affectionate might ‘feel’ loving at the time, but it’s never loving to lead someone into sin. Instead, consider how you might spur one another on in living for Jesus.

Love your single friends by not being exclusive in your relationship.

If you are married ...

Remember that your marriage isn’t just for yourselves, but it’s also a witness to the world of the great marriage between Christ and the church (Eph 5:22-23). So let your marriage be visible to others. Include others in your family activities.

Love unmarried couples by modelling to them healthy principles of marriage.

Love single people by welcoming them into your home for regular meals and by involving them in family time if you have kids. Perhaps you could even invite them to share a holiday with you.

Continue practising following in Christ’s footsteps by willingly giving up selfish desires in order to meet the needs of your spouse.

Finally ...

Don’t be fooled by the world telling you that this kind of living is too hard and will suck the joy out of life. Do you trust God? Do you trust he knows the best way to live? Then, whether you are single, ‘going out’ or married, learn to live as Christ lived. Love as Christ first loved us. You will find this brings great joy as you grow in confidence and trust in God, and as you enjoy deep, healthy relationships with other people.