Our Love Lives and God’s Divine Plan

Filed under Relationships Your Heart on Jul 30 12 by

What Are We Aiming For?

As I look around today and as I process the seasons of dating and relationships the Lord has led me through personally, it seems that most of us, even followers of Christ, are simply wandering around aimlessly when it comes to dating relationships and marriage. Our views of and terminology surrounding dating relationships seem to be ever-changing and completely dependent upon each person’s personal views and convictions.

We have no idea what we are aiming for and the truth is this: it’s hard to hit what you aren’t aiming for. As I contemplated what direction to take with this first blog, I asked myself, “What is the point? What’s the big picture?”

My Own Love Story

I began to think about my own life and how I have spent so much of it pursuing relationships out of pure selfishness, always ending up heartbroken and empty. I spent my high school career significantly attached to my boyfriend and finding all of my self-worth and value in him. When I broke it off with him to pursue joy in the “wild college life,” I remember telling him, “I have no idea who I am and everyone else only knows me as your girlfriend. I can’t live with that. I have to find out who I am apart from you.” Looking back, I think it was one of the wisest decisions I have ever made, but my solutions for the problem were far from what God wanted for my life. I “sowed my wild oats” in college but eventually yielded to Jesus’ persistent and constant pursuit of my heart. I began to build a relationship with Him unlike I had ever known before (although I grew up in church every Sunday). However, a few years after graduating from college—and even while working in full-time ministry—I found myself in a relationship that slowly stole my heart away from Jesus. I still loved Jesus, but I was making my own plans and asking God to bless them, instead of being obedient to God and trusting that His plans will bring me joy. Eventually, after much of my heart had been given away to the idol of a boyfriend and the hope of marriage, God rescued me. I learned that this man, who I had known and been friends with for a good majority of my life, was struggling with serious sexual addiction, including pornography and being sexual with multiple women. I was completely and utterly devastated, but God taught me some of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned. I have never felt Him more real and close to me than He was during that season of my life.

Now, I find myself at a place in life that, many times, I thought I would never reach. God has blessed me beyond measure by placing a man in my life that pushes my heart toward Jesus before all else. We have been married for 2 months and 20 days, and we are loving every minute of it. We don’t know it all—in fact we hardly know anything—and we struggle. Marriage isn’t the “end all,” and you are still the same person after you enter into it as you were before—broken and flawed. But through Christ, when we live striving to honor Him and be obedient to Him, He teaches us and He blesses us.

Shannon and her husband on their wedding day

The Purpose of Marriage

Elisabeth Elliot states in her book, Passion and Purity, “The love life of a Christian is a crucial battleground. There, if nowhere else, it will be determined as to who is Lord: the world, the self and the devil, or the Lord Jesus.”

This is so true. Today more than ever, we are bombarded with lies about relationships and marriage. We are filled with encouragement to pursue our selfish desires and to view relationships as something to “complete our lives and make us happy.” Our happiness is the ultimate goal and its pursuit can be used to justify any action. This, sadly, is true even of Christians who justify their sin because they think that above all else, God wants them to be happy.

But if our happiness isn’t the point, then what is?

Speaking of marriage, Paul tells us, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:32 (ESV)

Dating has a purpose: marriage (I hope to elaborate on this point in future posts). According to Paul, marriage has a purpose: to be a living example on this earth of Christ and His love for His church. What an honor!

This is what we are aiming for and this changes everything. Ladies, what if we asked these questions before even considering the possibility of entering into a dating relationship: Is this man capable of loving me in a way that will show others who Christ is and how He loves us? Am I ready and willing to take on this challenge myself?

The answer to this question is of utmost importance. It will cause you to evaluate the character of every man that crosses your path and, heaven forbid, it may even cause us to evaluate our own!

Marriage is awesome. It is one of the greatest gifts that God has given us on this earth. As followers of Christ, we are always learning and growing and living in God’s constant mercy. We have also been given His word and it is truth. He has many things to teach us about how we “do” relationships, and He has so much joy to offer us when we surrender to His standards and abandon the things we think will bring us happiness.

I am so excited to embark upon this journey with all of you, and I pray that God speaks through me words that will encourage, challenge, and inspire you to live completely surrendered to and trusting in Him.

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Shannon Tyson
Shannon is a relationships blogger for The You Are Project, discussing topics surrounding the issues of dating and marriage. Through spending many years working in ministry geared toward young girls and women and through the path the Lord has led her down personally, she has developed a passion to encourage women to date and pursue marriage the way that God intended. Follow her thoughts here monthly!
  • Kayla

    You are absolutely amazing Shannon! I am so blessed to know you and I am so proud of you! This article is fantastic.