It has been an incredible year 2020. From bushfires to coronavirus, to the world shutting down, then a huge movement of injustice and racial prejudice. This year definitely have been a year of defying odds and expectations. There were many things that I had been expecting this year – more acting work, an engagement/wedding, my 30th birthday and other peoples weddings then literally my whole expectations went out the window. I am so thankful to be where I am today, but in the midst of it, I definitely have had very dark moments. I hope this post would encourage you and share what this year has been like for me. What this year has taught me is rip up your expectations, because when God wants to move. He will move and you will be taken on a journey for sure.
This year I had been in a courtship. I had previously mentioned this in my last post, and the direction it was moving into was marriage. Much to the point where the ring, the engagement location and surprise engagement party was all planned and ready to go. And like a good father God is, he stepped in to save me a lifetime of heartbreak and heartache. Brutal much? No. Because he loves me and he loves this individual so much to not lead us to our destruction. It was only after we had broken up, did I notice so many cracks and things that were missing. Things that I thought were there, such as trust, protection, security. And how funny we can mask those things that are fundamental in a relationship with just moments of ‘good times.’ When things really hit the fan, the cracks and everything will show.
This individual was a very sweet man, as it takes two to make a relationship work. And sometimes it comes as simple as boundaries, values and the time and place individuals are in their life. You can be two very good people, but just not suitable or meant to be together. And two unhealthy people just make a disaster of a relationship. And that didn’t mean all the hard work that I had put into myself to deal with triggers and stuff I was carrying had not been dealt with. Relationships are the biggest way to refine our character and deal with our baggage. And you don’t know you have baggage until it is revealed, trialled and tested.
So what did I learn through my courtship/ year of 2020 that I feel might help you on your journey. Because as much as we all love to just meet that ONE person that fulfils us and meets all our needs. The reality is, most of us will probably date someone, figure out that maybe it wasn’t right, then date another until we find the right person who God really sent. And that is OK. There is nothing wrong with that. Being obedient than just staying in a relationship for the sake of just getting “married” will come with so much blessing.
I rather have God in my relationship, than just a relationship without God’s blessing.
Here are things that I learnt and wish I had known earlier that maybe may resonate with you:
- Counselling/therapy/mentors is key:
Start while you are single. I have had so many revelations that I felt God downloaded in my mind hence the blog but having somebody externally and being a voice of reason has been a game-changer. The truth is I knew how much our childhood traumas affected relationships, but I didn’t know how MUCH they affect my relationships. I thought I had healed, dealt with, forgiven, but boy-oh-boy, counsellor/therapist/psychologists are professional and they are damn well good at it. And its important to find one that suits you. I had tried a number of christian psychologists in the past, but the one I am seeing now is the only one i’ve really trusted and also clicked with. So don’t be discouraged if you didn’t get along with the first counsellor you might see.
Why I would recommend a counsellor. Instead of just ripping yourself open and raw, they give you strategies to help you deal with what you are going through. Going to a psychologist or counsellor does not make you weak. It makes you strong and wise for seeking counsel and healing in aspects that you struggle in. If you see a doctor for when your sick, and a physiotherapist for pain in your arm, isn’t it even more important to deal with the trauma that hardens our heart?
It’s also great to be able to speak about things that come up as challenges in life, to a person who is objective and also who is able to give you wisdom and be able to ask “Is this normal? Is this not normal?”
Things that I learn through counselling:
– Our partner will trigger us because they remind us of someone particularly someone who were supposed to be our protector or our past, ie. Mother or Father, ex. And if we don’t deal with these feelings of abandonment, rejection, self-criticising, abuse, these will erupt in our relationship.
– It’s not what you say but how you say it. Word sting. So make sure you mind what you say.
– BOUNDARIES BOUNDARIES BOUNDARIES: I had been so good with putting the right boundaries up in romantic relationships. But I forgot that about all the other bajillion other relationships that are in your life. Like my mum, my dad and friendships. Yes, that narcissistic, controlling parent won’t just disappear after you get in a relationship. It’s important you have strong parameters in your friendships, workplace, family and love relationship. As they all integrate together. If someone is not uplifting you, speaking life into you and pulling you down. It might be good to consider getting rid of them. This has been particularly hard for me as I was and sometimes without knowing am a people pleaser. But if I’m praying for a blessed life, especially in marriage, it’s time to give those toxic people a flick, or some hardcore boundaries. There’s a reason why the bible said “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Matthew 19:5
If somebody is not willing to leave the nest, then they are not going to be ready to start a new nest with you.
Are they still entertaining the opposite sex? Because a boy who needs a lot of attention will need attention from a lot of women. A man though who has direction and purpose for marriage, won’t be entertaining every bird that walks into their direction. They’ll have strict boundaries to protect their relationship.
– Anger is good. Yes I said it. As long it doesn’t make you sin and do the wrong thing. But righteous anger is good. When you feel angry, somebody has overstepped a boundary that they should not have crossed. Whether it be someone is using you, disrespecting you, and manipulating you. I was told in a previous relationship to this that I was always so “angry.” Anger is a healthy alarm system that is saying that something is going wrong and you feel mistreated. It usually is a second emotion to the primary emotion of something else. You feel .. upset, sad, hurt, belittled, mistreated .. etc.. etc thus anger is a second emotion. WOW.. this blew my mind. So anger is ok. Just don’t let the sun go down on your anger.
– Sometimes you can do all the counselling in the world, but unless you change your circumstance and the people who you are with ( that includes maybe you’re with the wrong person), things will not change. I felt my counselling sessions were going over and over the same things in my relationship. And it was until I had ended my courtship, that my counsellor would say that she saw a huge difference in my mood and a vibrancy in my face. So maybe if you are doing the right thing and dealing with all your “stuff” then maybe it might just not be the right person.
- Have a good community
They say that the five top friends are what you’re more likely to turn into. And that includes your partner. Who are they hanging out with? Do they inspire them? Do they have your best interest? I’m currently obsessed with indoor plants and trying to propagate some plants from their mother plants. And what I realised that some of the plants weren’t doing good because of the soil they were in. As much as you say that your community would not affect you, they will. If you and your partners community are not happy for you, and do not have your back and ultimate well-being, then you will not thrive. Good boundaries are so important, and not letting negative people speak into your life. But people that are ultimately happy with your happiness are the people you want to surround yourself with. If they meddle, gossip, belittle and have weird incestral dynamics going on, then run for the hills. You can do only to keep a relationship going until you let wolves go ruin your crops.
Find a community that encourages you, inspires you, corrects you and that will also mind their own business.
- Red Flags
Do not let red flags go. YES. I used to be such a b**ch with my first boyfriend. Everything he did was bad, and I was never satisfied. Over the years, I realised how mean I was, and then I got saved. I swung to the other side of the pendulum and became too graceful. Everything I had grace for. As much as that is important in a marriage, don’t let the red flags slide when you are courting. They will come out and bite you.
What are some red flags?
– Someone who doesn’t believe in God or chase God first
– Someone who can’t communicate well or isn’t trying to communicate well. We have grace as we all have adapted to systems of communication styles from our teachers/parents/people around us. But is this person willing to work on their communication to keep your relationship healthy?
– Some who doesn’t have direction. YES. He won’t be able to be a good partner to you until he gets a job honey. If he was working and trying to find work, thats a different story. But somebody who lacks ambition and lacks direction will only make you feel lost and disorientated.
– Someone who is highly irritable, moody and emotional. Yes it’s like an emotional rollercoaster and it is never ok for someone to be mean to you. We all have our moments, but if its on the daily….
– Someone who is disrespectful. A person should ALWAYS respect you and your feelings
– Someone who puts their friends and even family above your relationship. You will always be their second priority no matter how hard you try. This person is still a boy not a man.
– Someone who doesn’t want wisdom or change in their life. God always wants us to change. And whether we like it or not, we are either changing to be better versions of ourselves or worse versions of ourselves.
- Trust, protection and security are fundamental to a relationship.
They say that trust is built in drops and lost in buckets. Once trust is lost, it is very very very hard to get back. So that person who cheated, betrayed you, hurt you… it takes time to get over and develop that trust again. Does this person protect your heart? Do they try in all of their ability to make sure that you feel secure and protected? If the world turned against you, will they stand with you.
I never really experienced where I had people turn against me and say false accusations against me until this courtship. And the only moment that I needed my partner to protect me and guard me, was the only time they let me down. If there were rumours about you, would this person trust in your words and who they know of your character. Would this person stand up against all the nay-sayers. Would they make you feel secure if someone said something bad about you or protected you? It isn’t your partners job to make you feel secure, but they should try to help you get to that point.
- Choosing to love is hard.
Love is not a feeling but an action. It is a choice, even when it is undeserving and unmerited.
What is love ?
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
We need to go back to who is love at the beginning. God is love. And he loved us so much to give us his son to die for our sins, despite not believing or loving him. It was unmerited and undeserving. How loving is this person? Are they willing to forgive your transgressions? Are they willing to move past hurtful situations quickly and choose to love despite feeling angry or upset. These are a real test. Love is tested. And we don’t get it right everytime. But every situation that tests us to choose between love and hate, we have to choose love especially in a relationship.
So instead of ignoring somebody for being hurtful, or saying something petty that digs at their character and rips at their heart. Can you and this person choose to continue to love. Love is enduring and it can cover all wrongs. So even when this person is undeserving or unmerited, can we love?
People will say its stupid for being so graceful or loving towards somebody who didn’t deserve it. But I think every relationship and every person/situation that tests how much is in our love tank, only expands us and grows us to be more loving for the right person that does deserve it.
So I help this helped those who might be going through a break up, relationship or in their season of singleness. I’m grateful I went through what I went through, even though it hurt. It definitely expanded, molded me and tested me to the ends of the earth. But theres nothing I would changed as I realised that I will most probably have the healthier relationships in the future due to making my mistakes with the wrong person.
It makes me excited to live in the fullness and the glory of a romantic relationship that God will bless me with.
Thank u, nxt.
Love you all and praying for success in all of your relationships.