Nancy Regan and Preparing for a Relationship – A Guest Post
When practicing any sort of self-defense, weaponry, etc. the goal is to practice so often that your movements are reflexive, instinctual. Since I was a kid, my dad taught me how to break out of someone’s grip. For around 10 years he had me practicing. He would hold my or my sibling’s wrist and have us break away by focusing our movement through their thumb – the weakest part of their grip. Now, if he or someone else did grab my wrist, I wouldn’t even think about what I was doing, I would automatically just do it.
So what am I getting at? There are situations when in the moment you may not be able to think clearly or fast enough to make a decision that could save yourself and others. In those times your decision already needs to be made. What are you going to do? What do you expect?
What I have to say comes from being that person who didn’t make the decision beforehand. I didn’t know I should have. So I want to share with you, why I didn’t decide and why it’s important.
In my romantic heart I believed in the soul mate, the “one”. I believed God write’s your love story. I really wanted to only be in a relationship with the man I would marry. I kissed dating goodbye. (I’m not here to knock any of those things; they can be debated at another time.)But even if I only believed in one of those things, I can still see my brain, and many others’ not making this one decision beforehand.
Plan to say, “No”.
See, in my mind, if I didn’t date, if I waited for a really great guy, if I got so close to God that the guy would have to pursue God to get my attention; why would I ever have to say, “no”? If I did all those things right, then he would take care of me, he would have my best at heart…he would love God enough that he wouldn’t do anything that I would have to protect myself against.
Ladies and gents, I’m sorry to say, but it’s not true. I did all of those things, and did not have saying “no” to him even in my mind…it wasn’t even a thought. I thought that we would talk about our boundaries and that would be that. We would agree on them and he would respect that.
It’s easy to lose the clear lines of who we (each of us as individuals) are, when in a relationship. But at the end of the day, or the end of the relationship, you are still you. You as an individual. A son or daughter of the King. A saint and citizen of heaven. Worthy of respect and respectful treatment. I encourage you, be a proactive, prepared individual. While you do deserve to be treated with respect, it is your job to communicate that to people. If you can’t treat yourself well, how do others know to? Do you respect yourself enough to look people in the eye? To speak clearly and express your thoughts to others? To learn how to become emotionally healthy? To put boundaries into place?
While we are redeemed as Christians, we still sin at times (commission and omission). Even if the guy or girl is a passionate Christ-follower, they will mess up at times.
It’s tempting to think that life somehow changes in a relationship, but life cannot be put into a box or formula. We absolutely cannot think that because we’re running through a field of daisies, that everything will commence in an assumed way. Gain all the wisdom and knowledge you can; but keep the recipe and box out of it.
I followed my recipe; I put my relationship and God in that box, and it turned out so very different than I thought. I really assumed that if I followed God’s leading to a guy, the guy would never hurt me *, or that I wouldn’t need to stand up for myself. But I did. He did hurt me, and I did need to stand up for myself – for the both of us. If I had done that from the beginning of the wrong, it would have changed the story line drastically. I would have been communicating honestly and drawing a firm boundary of how I expected to be treated. If he/she chooses not to respect that line, it is absolutely okay for you to end that relationship. I mean it. You mean business. If this is something that you have to take a stand on, don’t step down because someone doesn’t agree. (Disagreement comes in many ways: verbally, implied, etc.) *I did realize that he wouldn’t be perfect and would at times say something mean, etc. But I didn’t realize that he would do more harm than that.
I would also encourage you to tell an accountability partner, mentor, or friend what your decision is. It’s easy in the moment to want to please your counterpart and not rock the boat. But if you have made enough of a decision to verbally share it and tell someone else, you’ll be that much better off. Keep in mind that this doesn’t just pertain to the physical, but the emotional and spiritual as well. All three of those areas, boundaries need to be made and held. The physical is just the most prevalent and obvious area.
While Nancy Regan spoke in reference to drug use, “Just say no” works in this case just as well. What are those areas you will, “just say no”, to? Take this time as a single person to cover the areas that are important to you, and make your decisions. Pull someone alongside of you in this, they can temper and give advice.
In summary, please plan to say “no”. Not because you assume the worst of the other person, the failure of the relationship, or any other pessimistic thought path. But because there is a reality of living in a fallen, sin-filled world. Someday we will be walking our beautiful streets of our redeemed earth, but until then become a prepared realist. If you don’t get to the point where you have to say “no” there’s no harm done. But if you do have to say “no”, you are prepared to do it.
Being present and fully alive, doesn’t just stop at singlehood! 😉 It continues into your future relationships, just tweaked to include another person in your life. As we choose to live life fully now, take this time to also choose life to the fullest in your future relationship.Planning for success, (even with a “no”), in a prepared and realistic way fosters more life!
-Guest Posted Anonymously
“Nancy Regan and Preparing for a Relationship” is a guest post and part of the “Today’s The Day: Being Single and Fully Alive” a 31 Days Series. To read more from this series please click here.