I vividly remember sitting in my college dorm one afternoon, struggling with some major questions about my love life. I needed direction about a relationship that I was involved in, and I needed someone to talk to.
So–I decided to sit down and journal, as a way to write out my thoughts and prayers to God. But as I sat down to write down my concerns, something inside of me hesitated to keep going.
For some reason, I had the impression that my love life was something that was too “petty” or “insignificant” to pray about. It’s not that I thought God didn’t care–it’s more that I convinced myself that there were far more important things to be talking to Him about than my love life; that somehow, talking to God about love wasn’t an important thing.
As I recall the hesitation I experienced that night, it saddens me. Now that I am married, looking back I wish I could have only known back then the significance of finding the right relationship–and the impact it would have on my life’s story.
Our desire for love can be so consuming. If I would have known then the things I know now, I would have spent countless hours in prayer, talking to God about this most significant portion of my life–rather than wasting countless hours worrying, analyzing, and confused.
Now that I’m on this side of the picture–here’s how I wish I would have prayed:
1. For Trust: I remember feeling so much pressure when it came to finding love. Searching for the right person to date– much less MARRY– felt like a needle-in-a-haystack”. It was a huge task, which at the time felt so overwhelming. How would I know? What would be the signs? What if I chose the wrong person? What if I messed it up? The best way to start praying for your love life–is to ask God to increase your trust. Trust requires a shift in perspective–that allows God to carry the burden of the what-ifs and the unknowns. I would have prayed for more trust, freeing me to enjoy life rather than simply trying to figure it out. Trust to believe that His plans for my life would be far, far, better than anything I could have come up with myself. Because in the end–they really were.
2. For Healing: I never realized how much work I had left to do before I got married–nor the work it would require after. The work I’m talking about is the work of healing. Insecurities, fears, anger, selfishness, and pride. The list goes on and on. It was a healing that needed to take place in my actions and reactions to the world around me–and penetrate all the way into my heart. If I could go back, I would have prayed for more healing during my time as a single woman. Healing from sin, from struggles, and from temptations. I’m thankful for the work God has done in my life since that time, but I wish I could have been aware of all that He could have done through me if I had been willing to be refined. Believe it or not, this healing has been a crucial component to creating a strong and healthy relationship with my husband today. And each step closer to wholeness in Christ-is a step in bettering my relationship with the love of my life.
3. For Wisdom: I think I took a passive approach when it came to love and dating relationships during my time as a single. Sometimes, I would just assume that “whatever happened” was part of God’s plan. If the doors were opened, I walked through them. If they were closed- I assumed they were closed for a reason. While I believe this to be true in some instances- I failed to realize that God grants wisdom to those who ask for it. Wisdom to make good choices, to see right from wrong, and to live a life of responsibility. I would have asked for wisdom to walk away from the open-doors that were harmful, and wisdom to be patient on the ones that seemed to be closed. As you pray for love, ask God for wisdom- and then listen to what He says.
4. For Fulfillment: When you are filled to the brim, it overflows into the lives of those around you. When you’re not, you seek fulfillment from those around you. So many times we wait for a relationship to fill us up- not realizing that it actually can’t. Rather than live in my preoccupation of the holes in my life–I would have asked God for fulfillment and joy during those difficult seasons. I would prayed for God Himself to fill me up rather than ask Him to give me things to fill me with. It’s a lesson I know now, that wish I would have learned sooner. Because no matter what your relationship status–true fulfillment comes from One place alone.
5. For Love: One way I would have prayed differently, is that I would have asked God for more of His love in my life. I wanted so much to experience the love between a man and a woman- but looking back, I don’t think I actually knew what that looked like. I would have prayed for more of God’s love in my life- because within that experience, I would have learned what it means to be truly loved. When you get a glimpse of God’s love in your life- you begin to recognize it in the people around you. I would have been saved from so much heartache and pain if I could have understood what real love actually looked like and learned to give and receive that kind of love- the sacrificial, servant-hearted, selfless love of Jesus Christ.
When it comes to pouring your heart out to the Father in prayer- there is nothing too small for His reach. We’re invited to talk to Him about every little detail of our lives and of our love lives. He wants to hear, to listen, and to give us the desires of our heart.
But more so, prayer is for us. Because as much as He longs to give us the desires of our hearts–more so, He longs to change our hearts. To make our hearts bigger, wiser, stronger. To make them more trusting, more peaceful, and most of all–more like His.
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life. You may also recognize her voice from her 100+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!
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2. There is both psychology and spirituality behind the kind of people we attract as well as who we’re drawn to. Want to know how to attract and keep the right relationship? Check out my book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life! Plus, read the Top 25 Dating Questions of All-Time answered in Section 4!!