They Do Exist.

What I Learned About Relationships In 2011

Editor’s Note: Today’s post was written by Diana Rausin. She blogs at Just Be Loved and tweets at @LadyDi1115. I really love all the relationship advice that is crammed into this article! SO MUCH goodness. – Lauren

This past year I’ve come in contact with many different forms of relationships.

Some of my friends entered their second year of marriage.
Some of my friends got married.
Some got engaged.
Some just started dating.
Some broke up.
Some have been married for many years.

And none of them are the same.

I decided a while back that I would try to learn from what everyone around me in relationships had to offer. How do relationships really work? What’s normal? What’s is trying to make it work and what is beating a dead horse? What makes a relationship last?

So I’ve watched. I’ve asked. I’ve taken mental notes. And I’ve prayed. Most of all, I’ve learned.

I’ve learned that no two relationships are the same. They all start differently, they all have different struggles, and they all have different ways of functioning. You cannot compare your relationship to that of someone else. Just because one relationship starts really quickly and one takes months of months of being friends before dating… doesn’t mean one will last and one won’t. There is no cookie-cutter relationship that we should all hold as our standard.

I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be hard. I’m not saying that it is always going to be easy, or that you will never fight. But I’ve seen a lot of my friends in couples over the past few months… and it doesn’t have to be that hard! If while you are dating: you fight every single day, you can’t agree on anything, you talk bad about each other when you aren’t around one another, you’d rather be alone more than being with your significant other, you can’t trust them… there is better! Maybe you work it out with the person you’re with. Maybe you decide to move on. But I’ve seen it. It does exist. Relationships are work, but they don’t have to constantly be hard work. 

I’ve learned the importance of dealing with your baggage BEFORE you enter a relationship. I never realized that the things that have scarred me in my past –’daddy’ issues, the way I have been treated in past relationships, the way I behaved myself and the scars I caused myself – will show up in your relationships! In a major way. No one person can make me whole. No one person can ‘fix’ me. It is up to me to allow Christ to do that and to genuinely seek becoming more like Him and healing those scars. He is the ONLY one that can do that.

I’ve learned that your spouse will always come second. I used to believe that my future husband would come above anything and everything else in my life. If we had children, they would follow. Then I fell in love with Jesus Christ. And He wants to be first in my life. ABOVE ALL ELSE. That includes a husband and kids. That includes family. That includes EVERYTHING. If you do not have a significant other that feels the same way or sees Christ the way you do, you need to seek Christ together and ask Him to change your hearts, make you fall in love with HIM, that way you can allow room for Christ in your heart and in your relationship.

I’ve learned my position as a woman in a relationship. I used to get soooo offended at the thought of ‘submitting’ to my husband. I am my own person, why should I let him get the say? It takes an entire post to expound upon this, but in the end, it’s not a power thing… it’s respect, it’s Godly, it’s trust. The Bible calls me to be with a man worth leading me and making the decisions when it comes to our well being, our walk with Christ, our children. Ladies, if he’s not worth submitting to, don’t. Men, we need you to lead us. We need you to be worth submitting to.

I’ve learned that no matter how hard, difficult, or confusing it may seem at the time, sometimes you have to walk away. I get so upset with friends who allow themselves to be walked all over. Because I’ve been there.  Ladies, if he is having an emotional affair with someone BEFORE you get married, what makes you think he won’t run to another woman when you’re married? Guys, if she’s cheated on you once, what on earth makes you think she’ll never do it again? She did not have the respect or love for you to not do it the first time. You may be afraid of being alone, you may not want to give up, but God wants you to. Let go of a bad, abusive, emotionally trying relationship. Don’t settle.

I’ve learned not to settle. I need someone to lead me in my everyday life and my spiritual walk. Someone who makes me laugh and laughs with me. Someone who appreciates me. Someone who is not abusive in any way. Someone who loves Jesus way more than he will ever love me. Someone who is ok with the fact that I may know just as much about football and baseball as he does. Someone Godly, respectable, and endearing. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. I’d rather be picky, have high standards, and not settle than be in a relationship that is destructive for the rest of my life. I’ve come too far to give up now.

I’ve learned it’s not about me. My entire life, I have desired a relationship with a man. I’ve wanted a family. And more recently, I have desired to be a stay-at-home wife and mom. But these are selfish desires. I’ve learned we must align our hearts with God’s. If my relationships, if my life, does not honor and glorify Him, then what is the point? I do not want a relationship, simply to have a relationship. If I can serve God more furiously as a married woman, FANTASTIC. If I serve Him better single, then He will grant me the peace and understanding to do so for the rest of my life. I fully believe and put my hope in this truth.

I’ve learned the best and most fruit-bearing relationships bring you closer to God every single day. I’ve observed some pretty incredible relationships this year and have been so lucky to get to be a part of the lives of those in them and learn from them. And the biggest lesson they have all taught me? You can’t get closer to each other, without getting closer to God. Intimacy was CREATED by God Himself. How do we expect to know it, to have it, without Him? It’s like a triangle: The closer you get to Him at the top, the closer you get to each other. It also keeps your relationship strong and keeps Satan from attacking you with the everyday struggles of life. Those can either magnify the relationship or destroy it.

What advice do you have? What have you learned through relationships of your own or from others around you? Are you looking to learn? What could you learn?

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27 Responses

  1. great post!! so much truth stuffed into it. i love it.

    December 28, 2011 at 12:05 pm

  2. Cassie

    love you Diana! I'm so super thankful to have you in my life. This is an amazing article

    December 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm

  3. "Let go of a bad, abusive, emotionally trying relationship. Don’t settle." YES! AMEN! Great post :)

    December 28, 2011 at 12:43 pm

  4. Ohmygosh!!! That line about, "if he's not worth submitting to, don't!" oh goodness you got my heart right there!! I was the same as you, totally annoyed at the thought of submitting to any guy because I am my own person, but if he is truly worth submitting to and that's what the Bible says to do, I won't have a problem. This is a great post!!! God bless!

    December 28, 2011 at 12:53 pm

  5. Kirstie

    Fantastic article. So good to encourage our fellow women to hold out for the best. And to learn to value themselves, seeing themselves the way that God does.

    December 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm

  6. shelbyisrad

    SOO good, sooo much truth!! I learned to never settle, even if his family is wonderful. and I learned to take care of myself and my relationship with God above a boy. <3

    December 28, 2011 at 6:31 pm

  7. bornsirius

    My advice is – Be courageous. Be courageous enough to face yourself, especially, because that is the hardest of all. If you can have the courage to face yourself in all of your humanity, you will be able to face anything. More importantly you will know how to relate to other people because you will be able to understand and be congruent with yourself.

    December 28, 2011 at 10:33 pm

  8. Such an amazing post! I found myself wanting to pump my fist and shout an “AMEN! Preach it, Sister!”

    Its a crazy journey but every woman must learn these truths. Not everyone learns it at the same pace but everyone will learn the. There’s the easy way, the hard way, and the “how could I have been so stupid” way.

    Thanks for sharing! Let’s pray more women learn it the easy way!

    December 28, 2011 at 11:12 pm

  9. Here is what I’m struggling with in regards to this article: if she cheats on you once, what on earth makes you think she’ll never do it again?

    Where is grace for girls like me, who have been loyal to a fault for their entire lives in every relationship but screwed up once and came clean immediately?

    Christ never said only those whose lives reflect me in every aspect are forgiven. He said I did this for all of you because you can’t. I get that the point here is to empower people to seek God and his guidance in relationships and I whole heartedly agree. But what about grace? The rigidity of once a cheater always cheater is never spoken in love. Christ is love and mercy. I have learned so much this year since I made that mistake and I can say I’m not the girl I was. My point is only this: just as no relationship is cookie cutter, neither is a mistake. There isn’t a simple way to categorize every wrong done in a relationship other than through grace. And even then, it is only with God that we can find the grace to extend to someone who has hurt us.

    Otherwise, this is phenomenal. And I truly appreciate you sharing your experiences and what you have learned from the people around you. I feel like if we would all take time to seek guidance from couples in all stages as you have, we might better understand that “two become one” is more than physical.

    December 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm

  10. leslie

    I agree with the majority of this article! So insightful and an interesting read. I feel that during your entire life you never stop learning. This can be applied any relationship besides intimate ones as well. Personally i do not entirely agree with the "It's not all about me" bit. This is due to the fact that i am agnostic and feel that religion is just a human ideology. In the end it's the person who is crawling out of the darkness and is safe. I don't think God had anything to do with it. If anything, it is the idea that we are not alone and we have a hand to hold is what saves people from falling into the abysses of chaos. This is an honest question and i am not trying to be a troller and condemn your faith: what makes you put faith in your religion?

    March 1, 2012 at 10:44 am

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