I had been dating this woman for a couple of months. It was really good getting to know each other. We went on several dates, out for coffee, running, to the fair … it was nice. I was proud of myself because in the past, my boundaries had not been the greatest. I did a very good job at guarding her physically and emotionally.
But after two months she asked me a peculiar question: “Do you even like me?”
That really confused me. Why would she think I didn’t like her? I’d asked her — and only her — out several times. I’d singled her out like I had done with no other woman.
Her question was a good indication of where our relationship was headed. Nowhere. After two months of getting to know each other, we decided we were in two different places in our lives and called it quits.
But recently I’ve been a little disappointed with how I’ve been dating. I found that there was something lacking. It was missing substance, and I couldn’t put my finger on what the problem was. As I stated in my article “When A Man Decides He Wants To Get Married,” I finally decided to “man up” and pursue a godly woman instead of pretending like I wanted to be married and pursing superficial women.
But even after making that decision, I was still not being honest with myself.
I’m a big proponent of guarding a woman’s heart. I learned the hard way that having very lax boundaries with friends of the opposite sex can lead them on. So I was even more careful when pursuing a woman. But after much self-examination, I realized something. I wasn’t guarding their hearts; I was guarding mine.
As I looked back at the people I’d dated recently, I noticed that I was selling them short. I was pursuing them, but was I really letting them know how much I liked them? Was I treating them special and being loving? Was I showing them more than just special preference, but attention that people pursuing marriage would show? The answer is No. Because that would make me vulnerable. Vulnerable to let them inside my heart. Vulnerable to allow myself to love.
Loving someone is giving a person the power to hurt you but trusting them not to.
As I let my guard down and allow myself to love someone, I find that I am terrified. I’ve been hurt before when I’ve given my all. I’ve been in the place where I gave my heart and have had every single aspect of my walk questioned. I’ve been patient even when they weren’t ready, only to know that I was a test run for the one they really wanted.
Fast forward to present day. I find myself really liking this woman — and letting her know it too! I’m finding more joy and excitement as we get to know each other. I find myself wondering how it would be to marry her. Not wondering in an unhealthy way, but how anyone who is dating with “forever” in mind would dream. I find it thrilling to state my intentions as I take her out and to show her where she stands so she doesn’t wonder about the direction we are headed.
I thought my heart may be moving too fast. Or that I might be idolizing this woman or putting my identity in her. But the more I examine how we began to date … it’s been very healthy. All those trepidations are really because I am terrified of being hurt.
Will this relationship work out? I don’t know. But I do know this: I can’t … you can’t … we can’t go through life allowing fear to replace our faith in relationships. People will die, friends will come and go, and heartbreak is inevitable.
The real question is: Are we allowing Yahweh to be in control? Are we trusting God?
I’ve missed out on way too much of what could be, because I’ve guarded my heart so much that it has become a barrier. I’m ready to love again. But I’m loving differently now. I’m not putting my eggs all in one basket. I’m putting all my eggs in my Lord’s basket.
I am confident that it will all be okay.