“No matter what I do, I always meet men who leave me once I don’t give them sex.” “Women want to be my friend, but they never want to date me.” “I’ve tried everything to meet someone, but I’ve still never been in a godly relationship.”
If you feel like you keep getting the same relationship results no matter what you try, here are 4 things God may be leading you to try so you can finally get a different outcome.
1. If You Want Different Relationship Results, Start Praying Differently
We usually think of prayer as a way to change the Lord’s movements in our lives. But really, prayer is more about giving God the time to change us through the time we spend in his presence.
Sometimes we get stuck in a rut in our actions and relationships because we are stuck in a rut in our prayer lives. When we keep praying the same things over and over again, this causes us to do the same things over and over again; our prayers are more about influencing our behavior rather than God’s behavior. When you change your prayers, it changes your heart, and your heart is where your words and actions flow from (Matthew 15:18-19). For example:
- If you’ve praying for God to give you a spouse, change your prayer to, “God make me into the spouse you want me to be.”
- If you’ve been praying for “the one” to come into your life, change your prayer to, “God, please bring me into the life of the person you want me to marry one day.”
- If you’ve been praying for God to change the heart of that one person you think you want, change your prayer to, “God, I’m no longer asking you for that one. I’m now asking you for the right one.”
As Jesus taught us to pray, “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:7-10).
2. If You Want Different Relationship Results, “Fail” More
When I was young person, I used to play hockey and I remember the advice my coach gave me during one practice. He said, “If you’re not falling and missing shots in practice, you’re not trying hard enough.” His point was that to get better, you had to push yourself past the limit of what you are already good at. You have to push yourself far enough that you actually fail, otherwise you will never improve past the level you are at right now.
This is a great principle for all of life and relationships. So many times our goal for relationships is simply, “Don’t fail,” “Don’t get rejected,” or “Don’t get hurt.” Instead of working towards success, we are working towards remaining safe. A successful day is one where we don’t stick out, we don’t draw attention to ourselves, and we fine safety by disappearing into the mass of faces hiding themselves like we are.
Yes, when you separate from the herd, you are at a greater risk. But this is also the only way to get ahead of the herd too. I’m not saying we should be competing with others, but I am saying if you want uncommon results in life and relationships, you can’t make it your goal to be common (Matthew 7:13-14).
Learn to embrace “failure.” And really, the trick is to stop looking at relationship rejections as failures. I consider sin a true failure (James 1:12). If it’s not a sin, it’s a different kind of “failure.” It’s really just learning through trial and error. It’s not a sin to say the wrong thing, to make a bad impression, or to express interest to someone who does not express it back. This is learning, growing, and searching for the right person God has for you.
If you aren’t willing to put yourself out there because you are so afraid of it not working out, you are guaranteeing yourself the same safe results over and over again.
3. If You Want Different Results, Change Your Subjective Beliefs About Dating
One problem Christians fall into is that they mistake man-made ideas as biblical truths. Some dating rules get taught to us when we are young and impressionable, and we file it wrongly in our hearts under “God’s way” when really it should be filed under “a man-made idea.”
I’m not saying cultural and subjective methods of finding a spouse are sinful. A man-made idea is not automatically a bad idea. It’s just dangerous to elevate these ideas and rules to “biblical status” because then we get locked into methods that should be altered if they are not producing good results.
For example, many people take conservative courting rules and elevate them to biblical laws. Then when they get older and they are still single, they still are using mindsets made for youth groups and young adults. When you’re 40, you should be dating differently than when you were 20. For example, it’s wise and respectful for a young 20ish person to have their parents vet their dates, but when you’re 40ish, been living on your own for 15 years, and you are old enough to be a parent yourself, it’s not as wise to defer your adult responsibilities to another adult.
All that to say, if you want different results, keep obeying the Bible as that will never change. But if you have subjective dating beliefs that are holding you back, change them. It’s not unbiblical to try something different. As Jesus said:
So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” (Matthew 15:6-9)
4. If You Want Different Results, Spend Time with Different Types of People
If you’ve ever said something general about all men being a certain way or all women being a certain way, this is actually a “you problem” and not a “them problem.”
I don’t care if you are saying something negative or positive, all women and men are not the same. Most men in this world just want to have sex before marriage. But not all men want this. If you are only meeting men like this, it’s partly because you are only spending time with men like that. Most women in this world want a tall man who makes a lot of money. But not all women want this. If you are only meeting women who want this type of guy, it’s partly because you are only spending time with women like that.
If you want to meet different individuals, you need to change the groups are your spending your time with. Don’t expect to find a man in the club at 2am who wants to wait to have sex until marriage. Don’t expect to find a woman at your liberal college who wants to be a submissive wife one day.
If you want to find a person who loves God and wants to obey his word, it starts with first being that type of person yourself and then living in a community of other people who also are doing this (1 John 1:7).