The Non-Negotiables: 6 Standards all Singles Should Keep
I must admit that one of the hardest things to do is to wait for something you really really want. If you’ve ever wondered where impatience comes from then just wait for something you desperately want and watch how quickly your quiet wait turns into the ultimate fight to find a shortcut to the finish line. Waiting has an indisputable way of producing impatience in us. We start off waiting patiently, but when that certain thing we want doesn’t arrive the patience we once had shrivels up and dies. In place of our patience we find impatience, anxiety, depression, discontentment and the list goes on. When these traits plant themselves within us we begin to make rash decisions in an attempt to cope with the unwanted side effects produced by our impatience, which often puts us in a position where we feel it’s necessary for us to create ways to get what we want. In other words, we step outside of the will of God. Inevitably, it’s in our nature to get what we want when we want it, so the nature of our flesh will often times work against the nature of our spirit who is the patient one living within us. We also live in a society where we are tempted to keep up with society. Even when it comes to dating and getting married. Society paints love as a fairy tale and even puts pressure on young men and women who aren’t married by a certain age to get married. Although marriage is absolutely beautiful and is a blessing to have, it is not always a fairy tale and marriage requires work. Marriage is a ministry and it will require you to do some work to keep it going. Therefore, love alone won’t keep your marriage alive.
So, let’s talk a little about settling for less. If you settle for less and marry someone because you can’t wait any longer then I guarantee you that you will regret your decision to do so and here is why. The challenges you face with a person you decided to settle for will be so much worse than that with someone you were created to endure trials with. Not only that, but you will always be left unsatisfied in your relationship, which will always keep you wondering “what if”. I thank God for blessing me with the ability to wait the dreaded wait for a husband. In the end, I was blessed with a partner that I can communicate with and when we have our moments we always find it in our hearts to forgive each other. I couldn’t see myself facing life’s challenges with anyone else. I want you to also be able to say the same thing one day when you get married. In order for that to happen you will have to learn how to withstand the attacks of the enemy because he will certainly try to attack you. His ultimate goal is to get you to act outside of the will of God, which includes you settling for less because you are tired of waiting or because you stopped believing God has something better for you.
Settling for less is something all of us has done at some point in our dating life. Even I am guilty of doing this in the past. Every time I made the choice to settle for less I was subconsciously agreeing that I’d rather be unhappy in a dead end relationship than be happy by myself. How unreasonable does that sound? It may sound senseless, but thinking with an unreasonable mentality is a typical thing now and has become the norm for many of us. So, for the record settling for less will never get you what you want, and you will never be content if you constantly settle for less than what you deserve. Don’t allow your impatience to make decisions for you.
What God has set aside for you will exceed your thoughts and expectations so, don’t allow the enemy to trick your mind and cause you to believe that your heart’s desire is really not out there. For example, if you are waiting for marriage to have children then the devil will tell you there’s no use in wanting to date a man with no children especially if you are over the age of 30. He will lead you to believe that men your age definitely have children so wanting a man with no kids according to the enemy is an unrealistic desire. From my experience, I can tell you that is a lie. I always had a desire to marry someone without children and that’s just what I got. My husband was 31 when we got married and he did not have any babies or maybes. The enemy will also try to tell you there’s no use in waiting for marriage to have sex because men these days don’t agree with that lifestyle, and they have urges that can’t be silenced so easy. I can tell you that is also a lie! My husband believed in no sex before marriage and we both waited until we got married to do so. At times I thought it would be impossible to meet a man with this same standard, but with God the impossible is possible! One final example the enemy may try to trick you into believing is that you are not beautiful enough to meet a nice good looking guy. That is totally a lie. I have witnessed people falling in love with different people of all various shapes, sizes, shades, height, etc. I personally always thought I was too skinny to meet a nice guy that I was attracted to. The men I was interested in didn’t want skinny women. They wanted a girl with hips and you know what else. That wasn’t me, but God still had someone prepared for me that would love every bony part of me. When two hearts connect through God’s divine connection, physical characteristics are not as important as the spirit of the person you are dating. So, don’t let the enemy turn you away from what your heart truly desires. His goal is to take you away from God’s will for your life. He wants you miserable with the wrong person and not happy with the right one.
To give you guidance along your journey I’ve created a list of the same non-negotiable standards that I kept when I was single, and I believe you should also use and keep them as you date. Perhaps if you have a visual list of what standards you should never drop then maybe it will be a lot harder for you to make the wrong decision when it comes to settling for less. At least this list will cause you to think twice when making a decision on whether to date someone or not. So here are some non-negotiables you should always value and hold on to.
1. He has to believe in Jesus.
This is absolutely a must! This was a must for me because I knew if I became involved with someone who didn’t believe in Jesus Christ then there would be a lot of disagreements and tension that would place too much strain on the relationship and myself. I didn’t want to put myself in any situation where I had to constantly defend my faith. It would be a constant never ending battle that I did not wish to engage in. Dating an unbeliever will only bring unnecessary stress that you and I can certainly live without. So, tip number one, date and marry a believer who has a sincere love for Christ.
2. He has to respect you at ALL times.
A disrespectful man is a man that tears you down with his words and/or actions and doesn’t value you for the woman you are. He may also be abusive physically, which is not acceptable EVER! A disrespectful man is the type of man that no woman should ever tolerate. A man that doesn’t protect and look out for your well-being is a man not worthy of your time. In the past, if the guy I was dating used curse words when he spoke to me I couldn’t take him seriously. Some guys and even women think using foul language is cool, but I think it’s distasteful and disrespectful. If a man uses curse words at you or calls you out of your name, then you are wasting your time with the wrong person. Now, if you are a disrespectful woman then I advise you to clean up yourself first because you can’t ask for something you aren’t willing to give yourself. Respect earns respect and disrespect earns disrespect. That simple.
3. He has to be a man you can trust.
I know you are probably asking yourself right now, “Is there such a thing as a trust worthy man?” Well, I too thought no man could ever be trusted. I’ve had my share of bad relationships that scarred me and left me unable to trust. I didn’t think I could ever trust a man 100%, not until I met my husband. My problem in the past was that I was blinded by my attraction towards a certain type of man and that certain type of man kept breaking my trust. The men I kept falling for were attractive to me because of their worldly qualities rather than their spiritual qualities and you will never be able to trust a man who is in the world. However, when you meet a man who is God fearing and truly has a heart for God trust will be something that comes so easy and naturally to you. If you don’t trust the guy you are with you will never be at peace. Who wants to live a life where they are always second guessing their spouses motives? I knew I couldn’t live that way. I’d much rather live a life filled with peace and harmony not a life filled with strife. So, quit settling to make a relationship work with someone you don’t trust.
4. You need a man who is transparent with you.
I’ve dated guys who were very secretive and didn’t want to be totally open with me. They didn’t want to answer certain questions I had or they avoided certain topics. Don’t settle for a guy who wants to hide parts of himself from you or parts of his lifestyle. He should be open to letting you in to his world and meeting his family shouldn’t be a problem, especially if you all have been in a relationship for an extended period of time. He shouldn’t keep you from his family and friends. A man who can be open with you and let you in to all aspects of his life is a man that demonstrates he can be trusted. Also, you want to make sure he is a guy that you feel totally comfortable with to a point where you can be 100% transparent with him as well. If you feel like you have to hide parts of yourself from him because he won’t accept you then you are living a lie too. You want a guy you can be yourself around and he should feel the exact same way about you. So, no hidden secrets from either of you.
5. He has to be a man of integrity.
A man with integrity has strong moral principles and strives for righteousness. He will be a man of his word and will make wise decisions. You can tell who a man of integrity is by the fruit he produces. When I say the fruit he produces I am referring to the type of results that are produced by his actions. Does he have more positive or negative situations around him? Does he create more positive or negative situations in his life and in the lives of others? You should ask yourself these questions to see what type of guy you are dealing with. If you are a woman of integrity then you deserve the very best.
6. Your inner peace is not up for negotiation.
Please keep in mind that no man is worth losing your inner peace over. When you aren’t at peace you can’t sleep, you over eat or under eat, become irritable, and are easily offended. Why would you want to let someone into your heart who makes you act outside of your character or steals your joy away? If your mind is never at ease when it comes to your partner then you may need to reconsider your relationship with them. No relationship is perfect, so you will have your ups and downs, but one thing you should never fear is that person leaving you just because times get tough. When you are with the right person the two of you could be going through a storm, but you have a peace of mind because you know they will be by your side and won’t leave you because times are getting rough. It’s stress enough just to go through your trials, but having to worry about your partners commitment to you during the trial is too much to worry about. You deserve inner peace and not inner turmoil and you should want to live a life that’s free from stress. God also wants you to live a life filled with joy and peace. He doesn’t want you depressed and crying yourself to sleep because you are too busy worrying about the guy or girl you’ve given your heart to. So, please hear me when I say this ladies and gentlemen, don’t sacrifice your inner peace for a piece of love. A love that is complete will be rewarding and satisfying, plus it will give you peace. Your inner peace can’t be compromised. You need it to live a healthy life and it’s something you don’t drop just to say you have someone. Don’t settle for less!
I pray these guidelines will help each and every one of you make better decisions when it comes to letting someone in to your heart. There are standards that every single person should hold dear to their heart and never let go of. I too, had to learn which standards needed to remain in place if I really wanted to be happy in my relationships. Settling for less than what I deserved only filled a temporary void, that always left me empty handed. On my journey towards marriage I began to learn what conditions could and could not be dropped. I ended up dropping a lot of the physical qualifications I desired in a man and began increasing my qualifications dealing with a man’s integrity and spirituality. When I did this I began to see that there were more options out there than I had realized. Next thing I knew my husband came along and he lined up with the new non-negotiable standards I had been following.
May you also find yourself more spiritually aware as you mature in your faith walk with Jesus. Let Him guide your heart and your footsteps. Trust me He will never lead you wrong. I know because I tried Him for myself and now I’m finally married! Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you concerning the type of guy that’s best for you. You may have to drop some unimportant standards and replace them with some non-negotiables.
If He did it for me, He will do it for you