You will want to spend time with her. A lot of time. Sometimes all the time. But there will also be times when you will want to work on yourself…you will want to spend time doing the things that make your heart come alive. I have realized that spending my time wisely while I was single was the best possible thing I could do. Because honestly, when you are in a relationship, you no longer have unlimited, uninterrupted time to focus on yourself. To focus on your education, on professional aspirations, on the hobbies and talents you want to develop. You don’t even have the same amount of time as before to focus on hanging out with friends, investing in others, serving in various roles at church or in the community. Having a significant other given to you by God is the most wonderful thing in the world, but no one really tells you how drastically things have to change. Paul alludes to it somewhat in the Bible when he talks about the benefits of being single, but I feel that the real essence of his words are missed in our world where everyone and everything is screaming at you (especially in the Christian church) that you need to be in a relationship, that you need to find someone, that you need to get married. It is just what you are (apparently) supposed to do.
So the natural tendency is to spend our life waiting for the one, just biding our time until it happens. Often we think when they come along, it’ll provide us with the inspiration we need to do what we know we should do – get that degree, obtain a better job, lose weight, travel, serve, whatever. When she comes along, you do get inspired. But even if she is the most perfect girl in the world, the inspiration will not last. It will not carry you through all of your goals. It will help, but its influence will fade over time. Usually to the point where the external motivation which used to come from her just doesn’t do anything for you anymore because you are weighed down with the realities, complexities, and difficulties of life.
Unless you have something inside of you that drives you to accomplish your goals, they are likely not going to happen long-term. And that something inside of you can’t be mustered out of nowhere. Rather, it typically comes from practice and from the formulation of good habits over months and years. The months and years of your solitude and singleness.
After my girlfriend came along, I was so thankful that I had already done the hard work of schooling and preparing myself for my career. And even though it was miserably difficult along the way, I was so thankful that He had pounded on me in the crucible so that I would be ready for when it (her) happened. And, honestly, I am thankful now that my big love hadn’t come along sooner. Because I needed those years so badly. Heck, even now I’m like, gaaahhhh, I need more time to try and get prepared and try to become more amazing so that I can be the very best for you (and our future kids) at all times!!! I don’t tell her that, I just think it in my mind. But, then I realize that I will always be growing and developing and the Lord mercifully pulls scales off of my eyes in increments so that I not completely overwhelmed and discouraged by the truth – the truth that I have such a long way to go and will never actually “arrive” where my idealism would want me to be. And she likes me for how I am now, and not for what I’m going to be. And I like her for how she is now, and now for what she’s going to be.
I absolutely love being in this relationship with my girlfriend. Everyone just needs to realize that life really does have seasons, and we have to fully live in our current season without pining too much for the next season to come along. Every day is precious, and every day can be used exactly for what He would want you to use it for – if we just keep remembering that He knows our heart’s desires and He is doing some neat, promise-fulfilling stuff in the background that will come together suddenly. Remember, our God is a God of “suddenly.” Think about His words in Isaiah 47:3 – “I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.” I also love Habakkuk 1:5, where the prophet is crying out to God to move, to answer his prayer and come through with his miracle, to which the Lord finally responds: “Look at the nations and watch–and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told!”
I believe that those who wait on the Lord and continue to intentionally and purposefully prepare themselves for their future mate while single will be able to marvel at how He will come through amazingly and all of a sudden. I wish we had a 100 year season for being single, another 100 year season for being married, another 100 year season for having and raising kids, and then a final 100 year season for winding down. That would rule and I don’t think I want any more years (but maybe I would). But life here on earth is a vapor. And I know is that we have to make the absolute most of the season in which we find ourselves – today. And do the same thing tomorrow.