This is the last question that this precious single sister in Christ asked me:
3. When does it switch? Is there a moment when you feel slightly more secure and able to “relax” in the security of your relationship?
My man is a great guy but I do wonder what it would be like to be married; and what the day-to-day would be like. He is very “steady” in his emotions – unlike me. 🙁 That said, I often wonder how he really feels and if he’s excited about marriage, to me. I hate that I even care about this – but I see other ladies so “in love” and so certain that their guy is all in and while I have the day to day proof (he’s man of his word) – I don’t often “feel it”. Is this something that develops over time? What expectations do I need to manage?
I answered some of this question in the post “Do I Need to Feel ‘In Love’ or Feel Like He Is ‘In Love’ with Me to Get Married?” and in the post “What It’s Like to Be Married to a Calm, Emotionally Steady, Hard Working Man.”
But, I haven’t addressed this issue of “security” yet. I am going to share some thoughts just to get a discussion going. I don’t have all of the answers here. But maybe these are some things to prayerfully consider. And, I am not addressing every aspect of security in this post. This is a multi-faceted issue. It involves my own security in Christ, my security in myself as a woman, my feelings of security in the relationship, the man’s security in Christ, his security in himself as a man, and his feeling of security in the relationship.
There are a number of things that make us feel secure as women in a romantic relationship:
- a man’s words of love and his talking about the future
- a man’s actions (his seeming to want to spend lots of time with us, or maybe his buying us things)
- an engagement ring
- a wedding
- when we feel loved, cherished, desired, and adored
- when we feel emotionally connected, lots of talking and spending time together
- when we feel attracted to the man
- God’s peace
- a man who treats us well
- a man who genuinely seems to want to live for God
- a lack of drama
- other people’s positive comments
- if we ask a lot of hypothetical questions and a man gives us answers we think we want to hear
I want to stress that, even though these things make us feel more secure, they don’t always actually make us more secure. Some of these things can be faked. Sometimes a man knows what a woman wants to hear, but doesn’t mean them. Or a man may answer questions sincerely, but the future has a way of throwing things at us that we can’t be prepared for. If we ask. all the right questions doesn’t always protect us from every possible problem. Sometimes people don’t know how they will respond once something happens in real life. Or, sometimes we can fool ourselves by believing “in love” feelings that something is solid and secure, when it is actually not built on anything solid. Or, sometimes these things are all real, but then a trial comes and everything is thrown topsy turvy and things fall apart.
Real peace from God would be one of the more unshakable things. But many of these other things can be shaken.
There are many things that make us feel very insecure in a romantic relationship:
- a man’s sin issues
- a man cheating on us/using porn/flirting with other women
- a man who doesn’t seem very interested in us
- a man who seems to make us very low on his list of priorities
- fear on either side of the relationship
- our own insecurity issues/sins
- a lack of God’s peace
- other people’s negative comments and interference
- our own wrong priorities, idolatry
- a man who stops talking about the future or doesn’t talk about the future.
- a man who is not close to Christ
- if we are not close to Christ
- if a man doesn’t give us the answers we think we want to hear for all of our hypothetical questions
Some of these things are good reasons for us to feel insecure. But, other times, these can just be normal issues in relationships. If a man is cheating, we probably should feel insecure and probably should get out ASAP. If he doesn’t live for Christ, that is a big issue. If either person has addictions, those things need to be addressed before attempting to be in a relationship. If a man is truly abusive or super possessive and over-the-top controlling – those are big red flags. Sometimes a man’s timeline may be longer than ours. It may not be that he doesn’t want to talk about the future. He may just be waiting to be sure that it is wise for him to talk about the future together. He may not want to get your hopes up too soon. Maybe he is under a lot of stress at work and can’t be with you as much as he would like to, but he truly loves you. All men will have some sin issues at times. Some seeming problems may just be personality differences and differences in expectations. It takes great sensitivity to God’s Spirit for us to know for sure whether something is significant enough to be very concerned about or if it is just an issue to work through. Sometimes something that seems like a valid reason for insecurity in a relationship really isn’t a big deal. Sometimes, one of these reasons can be a very big deal.
There is very little security in a human relationship. Many things could go wrong. Circumstances could change. Feelings could change. Things could happen to drive a couple apart. God talks a lot about the foolishness of trusting in man in the Bible. And He talks a lot about the importance of trusting fully in God.
- People can fail us.
- Men can fail us.
- Feelings can fail us.
- Plans can fail us.
We cannot base our security in life on a human relationship or a specific man. Even if a man truly is a godly man and does want to marry us – things can still go wrong. There is no such thing as total security in a relationship. There is no guarantee that things will work out the way we want them to. Even if we get married, we are not guaranteed that our husband won’t die or get hurt or sick, or that we will always be alive and healthy for as long as we want to be.
Relationships contain risk. We could get hurt.
I think one of the biggest mistakes I see women make is that they try to orchestrate relationships so that they can protect themselves from getting hurt. The problem is – if you try to protect yourself – you are not being vulnerable. And you cannot have real intimacy unless you are being vulnerable. You cannot protect yourself from getting hurt and love other people. It just doesn’t work that way. Loving people can cost us big time. It can be painful.
Look how painful and how costly God’s love for us was.
I don’t want our goal to be to protect ourselves from pain and to guarantee ourselves security. I want our goal to be to please, obey, and honor Christ. I want our goal to be to trust Him no matter what happens and to trust His sovereignty to use anything that may happen for His glory and for our ultimate good. Then we can rest and be secure in Him. That is real security. Then we can love and not base decisions on fear.
An amazing example:
My friend, Joy-Filled Days, shared this on FB last week. This is the kind of devotion, consecration, love, selflessness, and sacrifice that is worthy of our Lord:
The Triumph of John and Betty Stam is one of my favorite books. Her prayer, cuts me to the core.
“Lord, I give up all my own plans and purpose
All my own desires and hopes
And accept Thy will for my life.
I give myself, my life, my all
Utterly to Thee to be Thine forever.
Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit
Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt
And work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost now and forever.”
She had to leave her baby in the crib as the communists dragged her and her husband out of the house and outside to their execution.
This is the kind of perspective I long for us all to have each day in every decision we face.
My security must be in Christ alone not in any man or human relationship:
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:37-38
God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:18-20
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. John 6:37
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
And who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:22
Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. John 5:24
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6
Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, Ephesians 1:4-5
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. John 10:28-29
I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. Jeremiah 32:40
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, John 1:12
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging Psalm 46:1-3