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Tip #5: Don’t paint yourself the heroine. In God, we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).  Without Him there is no story at all, so it’s only right that He should get top billing in every relationship in our lives, first and last consideration in every decision we make within and regarding those relationships, and receive all glory, or credit, for anything that goes well between us and other people.

Of course, this thinking runs contrary to the message the entertainment world sends.  Romantic comedies and dramas, novels, songs, TV shows, blogs, etc. they tell us ladies we’re the stars of our own movies, the heroines of our own stories, the princesses of our own kingdoms.  They tell us we deserve to be spoiled, pampered, and served.

Oh, I guess it’s true to some extent.  Some women—precious few—are actually princesses by birth, and if you have accepted God’s forgiveness for sin made possible through Jesus Christ and so been adopted into God’s family, you are a daughter of the King of Kings, a princess by faith.

Even so, life isn’t fiction.  In real life, we’re all just supporting characters in God’s story, and even if you are His child, the Kingdom you’re living in by His grace alone is not yours.  It’s His.  While you deserve to be treated fairly, you don’t deserve to be spoiled, pampered, or served.

No one does.

Truth?  You should only look to receive from any relationship as much as you give to it, and the only One worthy of worship is God.

Now, don’t misunderstand me.  Being female is cool in a lot of ways, but it’s no more special than being male and no more qualifies women for exaltation than being male qualifies men for the same.

Men and women were both created in God’s image, equals charged with glorifying God, or holding Him up for the admiration of others, through mutual edification and cooperation by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Any upset in that relational balance poses a threat to the success of our shared mission by toppling God off His rightful throne in our lives and replacing Him with someone far less deserving.

That said, by biblical standards, there are some things you do deserve and should expect from someone you’re thinking about spending your life with.

Here are just a few:

  • You deserve to be treated with respect if for no other reason than the fact you were created by God in His image. You are a walking, breathing reflection of His glory.
  • You deserve the right to choose if for no other reason than the fact God Himself bestowed you with free will. Of course, we are all subject to the authority God places over us, but boyfriends are not authority figures!

Let me say that again.

Boyfriends are not authority figures! If/when you marry the man you’re dating, he will assume the role of husband to you, a role that comes with a certain level of increased responsibility to God for your little family and deserves your cooperation and deference as he submits to the Lord, but until he becomes your husband, your boyfriend doesn’t get to call any shots.  A boyfriend who insists on having the final say in decisions that are yours alone to make is overstepping and out of line.

While we’re on the subject, let me add that no one has the right to make choices that compromise your person, jeopardize your safety, or damage your mental, physical, spiritual, or emotional health and well-being.  No one.

  • You should expect to be loved, not necessarily romantically—that may or may not develop—but as a friend. At the very least, the man you’re dating should extend grace, mercy, and forgiveness to you—and everyone else—as needed and without hesitation, just as God extends those things to all of us through Jesus. If he truly loves Jesus, he will.
  • You should expect to be encouraged in your pursuit of God. Intimacy with God requires time, effort, and unconditional obedience on your part, no matter whom it costs.  The man you’re dating should willingly take a back seat to the One Whom you are both called to glorify.  If he’s on the same spiritual trajectory as you, he’ll comply without argument.

If/when you discover the man you’re dating isn’t willing or is unable to give you these things, you should end the relationship.  You can rest assured he is not the man God has for you.  By the same token, if you aren’t willing or are unable to return these things to the man you’re dating, he should end the relationship.  You are not the woman God has for him.

As far as the extras go, romantic gestures and tokens of affection, they’re nice, and if you feel you need them as per your love language, whatever that happens to be, it’s completely okay to express your desires within reason to the person you’re dating in a tactful way.   It’s also okay to let their ability, willingness, and/or reluctance to satisfy those expressed desires figure into your decision making process where the future of your relationship is concerned.

However, understand that these extras aren’t yours by right.  By biblical standards, you don’t deserve them, you shouldn’t expect them, and a man’s choice not to provide them is not an indication of poor character, but rather an indication that the two of you may not be well suited for marriage.

And that’s fine!

The goal of a dating relationship is not to see what hoops you can get your boyfriend to jump through, to satisfy your desire to feel needed or special, to create post-worthy experiences, or even to come out on the other side with a husband.  As in everything else, it’s to glorify God, in this instance, by honoring Him in the way you interact with and serve one of His sons, who may or may not become your husband, and by submitting to His will as you explore and consider that possibility.

Remember, there may be two protagonists in your love story, but there’s only room for one hero.  That’s God!  Laying your own wants and goals aside, do whatever it takes to make sure He gets His happy ending.

Read Tip #1: Men Who Love Jesus

Read Tip #2: Realistic and Fair Expectations

Read Tip #3: Giving it Time

Read Tip #4: Honoring your future spouse (and his)