If someone were to ask you if you were letting God guide your relationship, what would you say? Would you smile and avoid answering? Or, would you be able to say you have surrendered your relationship to God? Do you even know how to have a godly relationships or what a godly dating relationship looks like?
What is a Godly Relationship?
A godly relationship is one in which God is in control. Your finances, spiritual life, sexual and physical health are submitted to God. The presence of God is evident! Its God’s way, not our way.
Financial: What do you spend money on? God blesses us so we can share with others, including the widows and the orphans (James 1:27). What we choose to spend our money on has a lot to do with honoring God.
Spiritual: How much time do you spend with God? We were created to give glory to him. We honor him spiritually when we make it a priority to read and study his word. We should also spend time communicating with God through prayer.
Physical: How often do you exercise? What do you put in your body? Our bodies are temples of the living God. How we treat our bodies has a lot to do with the respect we have for him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Sexual: Engaging in premarital sex does not please God. Some men will tell you that if you are not willing to have sex with them, they will not pursue a relationship with you.
When you decide to let God guide your relationship, you may find that your options for a partner dwindles considerably. But as Christians, we must surrender every aspect of our lives to him–including our relationships.
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How to Have a Godly Relationship?
Before we can set biblical dating boundaries, we have to accept that letting God guide our relationships is a good thing. Popular culture teaches a “me first” mentality. Everything should be done because it feels good or makes us happy. But this teaching is in direct opposition to what God says.
The Bible tells us we were made in God’s image. We have the capacity to show true love, show mercy, act justly and be gracious towards each other. When we put ourselves above others, this minimizes—sometimes negates—our ability to love.
When we choose to let God guide our relationships, we experience the unity which exists among God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit as a close friend. So, what should we do to enjoy a God-centered relationship?
Here are seven biblical dating principles for healthy relationships.
Letting God Guide Your Relationship Principle 1
Remember you were made in God’s image: As children of God, we were created to reflect who he is. In Christian dating, remembering that we are made in God’s image keeps us accountable. It means we behave in ways which are pleasing to him.
This means making choices which bring honor and glory to God. So, that boyfriend who expects us to have sex outside of a godly marriage and not practice sexual purity won’t be the defining voice in our head. Instead, we’ll remember that we are beloved by God and make the choice to honor him with our bodies. Look for a partner who love God as much as you do!
Letting God Guide Your Relationship Principle 2
You are a whole and complete person: the world teaches that everyone needs to find their “other half” or their “better half”. We may laugh when we say this, but the implication is that we are not enough on our own. This gives rise to the belief that as women we are not complete until we have a man.
To fulfill the timetable of the people around us, we sometimes rush into relationships we would have been better off avoiding. We align ourselves with men who treat us poorly or don’t appreciate us for who we are.
Colossians 2:10 reminds us that we are complete in Jesus Christ. When we remember that we are a whole complete person, we realize we don’t need a man to complete us. I’m not saying we should not seek to be in a godly relationship– quite the contrary. But it should not be our focus. Our focus should be on God and strengthening our relationship with him.
Letting God Guide Your Relationship Principle 3
The woman was created to be man’s helper: in Genesis 2:18, God said:
“It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
I remember reading this verse in high school. I had become angry because I thought God created women to be men’s helpers–as in their maids. As an eighties child, there were many “girls are inferior to boys” sentiments. Of course, that’s not what the Bible meant.
The word translated as help or helper in the verse is the Hebrew word ezer. Ezer comes from the root word azar which means to surround, that is, protect or aid, succor or “one who helps”.
The word ezer appears twenty-one times in the Old Testament and most of them refer to God. This is what the Bible has to say about being an ezer:
Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20
You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield. Psalm 115:11
My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2
As an ezer, our role is to support our partners. An ezer is a companion, defender, and protector all rolled into one. Are you ready to support your partner in these ways?
Letting God Guide Your Relationship Principle 4
Be prepared for intimacy: a godly relationship is one which celebrates intimacy between partners. Unlike what the world teaches intimacy is not about sex. It’s about a soul-deep connection.
When you are intimate with someone, you are comfortable sharing your dreams, hopes, and fears. You are able to share without restrictions and know you will be respected and loved at all times.
Letting God Guide Your Relationship Principle 5
Control the drift: a key godly dating principle is remaining close to God. We should never allow our partner to become more important to us than God. At the same time, we ought to remain committed to our partner. Part of that commitment involves controlling what I call the drift.
You may be wondering what I mean by drift so let me explain. Each person is unique in their likes, dislikes, beliefs and so on. If we don’t make an effort to spend time with our partners learning what they like and dislike, we will soon drift apart.
Many couples will tell you their relationship broke up because the other person became a stranger. Time spent with our partners will develop the intimacy God intended when he created the first couple.
But before we can cling to an earthly partner, we need to learn to cling to our Heavenly Father. We need to take steps to prevent ourselves from drifting away from Him by spending time in prayer, Bible reading and studying His word.
Letting God Guide Your Relationship Principle 6
Be careful who you let influence you: a godly relationship is influenced by God and the Bible. It is not influenced by the standards of the world or what our friends have to say. Letting God guide your relationship means being willing to use the Bible as your standard. God’s word should influence your conduct and be used to interpret your partner’s behavior.
In a godly relationship, both persons should submit to God and be willing to let Him guide the relationship. Consider connecting with family members or your local church with persons you look up for advice on living out Christ-centered relationships. They can help keep you and your partner accountable as you navigate romantic relationships in the dating world!
Letting God Guide Your Relationship Principle 7
Know what you believe and why: do you have a code of conduct by which you live? What influences your values? When you let God guide your relationship, your principles and values will be based on what the Bible says.
When we know what we believe, we will act in ways which effectively communicate those beliefs. But when we don’t have deeply-rooted values, we are easily influenced.
So, you have a strong belief system, that’s good. Why do you have it? Why do your values differ from those of the people around you? When your why is founded in Christ, you are on the path to letting God guide your relationship and demonstrating God’s love.
My hope is that these seven principles encouraged you to surrender your relationship to God. Through God’s Eyes: Marriage Lessons for Women is now available on Amazon.
Aminata Coote is a Christian author and blogger. She is passionate about teaching others how to study the Bible through her blog hebrews12endurance.com. She encourages women to spend time with God and root their identities in Christ so they’ll be able to focus on running the race God has set before them. She is the author of multiple books including How to Find Your Gratitude Attitude and Through God’s Eyes: Marriage Lessons for Women.