Guarding our heart helps us to be wise about the relationships we engage that will ultimately impact our lives. Now that’s serious business! Simply because with time, we get to see the impact of those relationships in our lives. Choosing a spouse is a really big deal but let’s not look pass how important it is also to choose good friends or mentors. A spouse is not the key to a happy and fully life, Christ is. And the Spirit of Christ is in you and many people around you. Therefore, happiness is always possible, regardless of if bae is in or out of your life. So, it goes without saying that ‘high standards’ are applicable to every kind of deep, meaningful relationship in our lives.
The High Standard of Character
There is the sense that a good standard has a holistic aspect to it that requires integrity in ever area of our lives where we seek to experience lasting relationship.
A few things to consider when it comes to standards in general:
A. The higher the standard, the more we are required to uphold it. We should never hold people accountable to a standard we ourselves are not striving for. That’s straight-up unreasonable and sort of trifling. We have to be the ones who personally bear our standards. However, we tend to judge people wrongfully when they don’t measure up to our expectations. If we can stay cognizant of the fact that we must uphold our own standards first then, more often than not and if we are honest, we can see where we are lacking and probably where others will lack as well. Let grace abound… refrain from knocking people over the head with the standard stick. A good way to even out the ‘measuring stick’ for your standards is to determine what or where you are basing them on. Is it a philosophy or world wide? A person or an opinion? Figuring this out will also help you connect with other persons who have the same source or basis for their standards.
B. If you have established that your basis is Jehovah God and His Word, know that God often checks our hearts for motive or intent:
What is really driving us to make the decisions we make and do the things we do?
Motive is a direct reflection of character and God is very interested is forming/re-forming our characters. Understanding what God is looking for in all of us can help cast vision on what kind of standards we should be interested in upholding, i.e. the type of standards that encourage good, godly character in us and in others.
A few things I’ve notice about godly standards for romantic relationships:
- Godly standards do the weeding for you.
We all know that godly standards are naturally high (to stretch us and not to condemn us) and it takes the work of Lord to help us accomplish any of it. That is the saving grace of godly standards. For any man to live up to them, he would have to have to the work of the Lord in his life, helping him to accomplish it. Everyone else, will fall by the way-side sooner or later. Like us, he won’t be perfect but if he is genuine, his efforts to aspire to that of a godly man will prove his merit. Whoever that man is, he should at least feel a personal responsibility to God and then to himself to be a good man to the women around him. Be observant and watch him carefully. You will know him by his fruit. Hopefully!
Real talk: I must admit, very recently I found myself contemplating dating unsaved men when the time came, somewhat convinced that there was little difference between them and saved men.Thank God for the many examples of godly men in my life and church that remind me that they are still men out there willing to honour God in how they treat their sisters in Christ. Good men are out there and around you. Don’t believe the lies that say otherwise.
2. Godly standards will make you *wait. (waiting suggests abstaining from sex and sexual activity until marriage, whether you’ve indulged before or not.)
I know, I know! This is the part we absolutely hate to hear. But look on the bright side… Patience is a virtue and “who can find a virtuous woman? For her worth is far above rubies (Proverbs 31:10 NKJV)”. May we all be found by good men! Let the church say, Amen. Yes! We will have to wait for this man, so resolve that in your own heart right away. I encourage you not to see waiting as just the time between singleness and getting a boyfriend but a season that is a gift from God to you. While patience is doing its work in your life, get busy doing all the things you have in your heart. Get fit for yourself, read the books on your list, travel and meet new people, volunteer or start the business you’ve dream of. Get to work on you and live a full life. See Philippians 4:6-8. This waiting period is for you and for him. Sometimes, we are the ones who need convincing first that we are worth waiting for.
Real talk: I want to add that we will have to face the possible reality of waiting for the rest of our natural lives. Any good thing is worth waiting for but the best thing we could ever want, that brings satisfaction to us daily, is an intimate relationship with God through Christ Jesus. In the event the wait proves longer than expected, we have to make a resolve as to what you will do. Continue to wait or not. The choice is yours.
3. Godly standards mean you are bringing something to the table.
No one wants to come to the proverbial relationship table with nothing of merit to offer. Outside of being debt-free, owning your own car, apartment or home; well developed character traits can definitely flip the script. Honesty coupled with integrity, compassion, patience, kindness in anger, not holding a grudge, generosity, an encouraging tongue – all these things and more help to bring incredible value to a romantic relationship. Once some of these qualities come along with the practical ones in the lives of both persons seated at the table, then we can argue that the table is worth sitting at in the first place.
4. Godly standards can save and preserve you.
Imagine having the freedom to date at safe enough distance that still allows you and your prospect to remain friends even if you never decide to pursue a romantic relationship. A standard usually implies some measure of boundaries that will need to be established and respected. You become the watchman of your own fence, which means you get to decide what and who you let in and leave out. Not every prospect we meet will be bae, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a valuable asset to our circle and visa-versa. Refraining from physical and emotional activities that come with romantic relationships tends to alleviate much of the drama that can come from getting-involved too quickly with someone. The time you might have taken to figure out you and your prospect are on different wave lengths before hitting second base on date three, could have been spent in rigorous conversation about life and the world. If it’s not working out between you and your prospect, say so and give both of you the opportunity to part ways amicably. Less knots to untie, if you catch my drift.
5. Godly standards are for every relationship – platonic and romantic.
Going back to what I mentioned earlier about God’s real interest in the state of our heart and character, we are not supposed to relegate godly standards to only dating relationships. Godly standards do not exist in a vacuum but are applied daily to each and every kind of relationship we currently have in our lives: familial, friendly, professional and church. These relationships are like training grounds. At least we get to put in good practice with these platonic relationships for when we do manage to start a romantic one.
All in all, high standards are not the enemy but a tool that can assist in building stable, solid relationships based on more than just emotion, sex, common interest and everything else. Plus they give us the ability to be good stewards of the well-spring that is our heart. Singleness is REAL so we’ve got to be just as REAL with how we setting up our lives for the best kind of relationship success. #JCMD