First of all, isn’t he so handsome? I am so blessed God chose me for him to love and every day is a wonderful day with him. We are not perfect by any means, but we work hard to make God a priority in our relationship.
When Jake and I first met and began dating, my family immediately fell in love with him. If you know my story, then you know that I was determined to make this relationship God centered given how previous relationships had ended. Everyone told me as Jake and I began to grow closer, “Make sure you keep God at the center if your relationship!” I remember thinking to myself, yeah we need to do that, but I also remember asking myself how do we do that? We both had been burned pretty badly in the past and wanting things this time around to be different. Over the course of the past few months, I believe Jake and I have discovered how to keep God at the top of the priority list and I want to share some of the ways we have done that.
Like I said, we are not perfect and we both fall short every singe day, but by encouraging one another, we always point each other back to Jesus.
- Pray with and pray for each other. Jake and I pray for each other often, but neither one of us incorporated prayer in previous relationships, so it is something we are still working on. We’ve been praying for each other our whole lives to finally meet, but praying in front of others can be intimidating if you aren’t used to it. Jake prays with me frequently, he did just yesterday actually! He had me in tears because I had such a rough day, and hearing him pray to the Father on my behalf was beautiful. Even when we aren’t together we pray for each other. We both began reading a book about marriage that was recommended us to my aunt a little while ago. It’s called You and Me Forever by Francis Chan and I would recommend this book to anyone. It talks about marriage, but you don’t have to be married to read it. Recently, Jake and I were talking about the book and he said there was one particular part of the book that really challenged him. The author asked if you were to get a manuscript of your prayers from the last week, what would it say? Jake said after reading that, he realized his prayers were mostly about his wants and needs and only a few were about me. I thought about my own prayer life and thought the same thing. Since then, we have both made the effort to pray for each other whenever we can during the week! Often times, he will pray over me when I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed and we sometimes send texts to each other about what we prayed to God that day about the other to help hold us accountable, but like I said this is something that we are still working on because we realize how important it is to pray with each other and for each other.
- Have separate relationships with God. Praying, worshipping and talking about God together is so extremely important for your relationship, but it is also so important that you still have your own separate relationships with God. I know too many people who base their relationship with their Creator off of their relationship with their significant other. When the relationship ends or gets rocky, so does that person’s relationship with God. That’s why, as a couple, we both must have our own relationships with God. A lot of times, conversations between Jake and I start something like this: “So I was praying about this the other day and…” or “God revealed the coolest thing to me…” and it is so refreshing to know that Jake is still pursuing Jesus on his own. I want Jake to be so in love with Jesus that he encourages me in my own walk and vice versa. So when God reveals things to us separately, we talk to each other about those things and learn from them to better our relationship with Him and each other.
- Serve together. One of the best things about Jake is his willingness to serve others so selflessly. After only being together a few weeks, he was already stepping up as a leader in my (now our) church’s youth group. A few weeks ago, we traveled to Montana to minister to Native American children. It made me feel so much closer to him as we served together with the same goal in mind. Glorifying Jesus by serving, no matter how or what you are doing, brings so much joy to you as an individual, and even more joy to a relationship.
- Push each other. We all know the verse in Proverbs where it talks about iron sharpening iron, and my biggest sharpener is Jake. He encourages me in all aspects of life, not even in my walk with God but in every area. A few months ago, we started Crossfit together and I am extremely out of shape and he is extremely in shape. He seems to breeze through the workouts like they are nothing while I’m over in the corner and can barely breath. But you know what he does, he pushes me when I feel like giving up. I wouldn’t have even started this blog if it wasn’t for his support and belief in me. When I am having a bad day or struggling with self worth, he always reminds me who I am and more importantly whose I am. At least once a day when I’m having a moment he will say to me, “Karley, you are a blessed daughter of God, what is there to worry about?” It really puts things in perspective. We both have our own set of insecurities that we are working through together as we encourage each other to get closer to God. We push each other to be the best version of ourselves because we see the potential in each other that the other one might not see at the time.
- Enjoy the season you are in. Jake and I have been talking about marriage since the beginning of our relationship, however, this started to get a bit unhealthy for us. We were so focused on the future that we were forgetting to enjoy now. We have the rest of our lives to married, so right now we are enjoying the season of dating. The season of having to pay bills and being completely financially independent can wait. Instead, we are in the season of still learning one another, going on dates, and hanging out with our friends. Whatever season of life you are in, whether that be dating, engaged, newlyweds or married for years, take the time to learn what God is trying to teach you wherever you are in your relationship.
Jake and I are still discovering how to keep Jesus at the center of our lives and relationship, but these are the ways we are doing so as a dating couple. Like I said, we are by no means perfect and neither is our relationship. We get under each other’s skin sometimes and other times we have each other laughing so hard our bellies are hurting, but we realize that we are nothing without God at the center of our relationship.