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I asked myself this question recently, so I thought I would ask you as well. Here are some of the ways to prepare for a meaningful relationship that will possibly lead to marriage.
Release Soul Ties & Emotional Baggage: The process of releasing connections with our past can be difficult. Soul ties refer to the connection with past partners that may result in emotional withdrawals and not feeling able to “let go”. Many times individuals who have a soul tie will separate and reconnect at least once, and most times the negative attributes of the relationship may be overlooked for the few “good times” they may have shared together. Soul ties do not require sexual interaction to be created. Emotional baggage typically refers to issues that may have resulted from past relationship experiences (for example, if sexual abuse was experienced, the emotional baggage of the fear of intimacy may be present). Because soul ties and emotional baggage are challenging to handle, connection with a caring Christian mentor of the same-sex as well as a professional counselor will help to break these chains. Acknowledge that these issues exist. Get rid of gifts or other physical reminders of past relationships. Allow God to heal your heart and help you find the possibility to forgive those who hurt you.
Give Yourself the Gift of Time: Allow some time to pass between relationships before becoming involved with someone new. To avoid carrying over baggage from previous relationships into a new one, give your mind and heart an opportunity to clear itself of regrets and past disappointments. Use this time to reflect, pray, journal, read the Bible and other solid self-help books (such as Kenny Pugh’s “Can You Do It Standing Up: A Different Position on Relationships”), and spend time improving yourself instead. Do something new! Travel! Network! Go out and experience what life has to offer without becoming preoccupied in finding a new partner.
Learn Who You Are (and who you’re not): Spend as much time as you can alone with YOU. Learn your likes and dislikes. Figure out your non-negotiables and keep them in the forefront. Erect healthy boundaries in other areas of your life as self-discovery unfolds (e.g. in your finances, and in friendships and family relationships) – and stick to them. Knowing yourself helps you determine who deserves your time.
Build on your Self-Esteem: As you learn who you are and as you remove toxicity from your life, your self-esteem will increase. Be confident in who God created you to be! We were all created by God for a unique purpose. Our individuality is reflected in our fingerprints – even with identical twins! We are valuable to God and to emotionally healthy people.
As you take these courageous steps to move forward with your lives, be patient. Growth and healing take time. Remember, you are preparing for a love that will last a lifetime. Allow God to guide you during your moments of preparation and you will reap the desired fruit, in His time.