When I entered my relationship with my boyfriend, one of the first questions he asked me was, “What is something you consider as a goal in a relationship?” I said, “keeping God first.” He then surprised me by asking, “So what, practically, does putting God first in a relationship look like for you?” My mind wandered for a brief moment; no one had ever asked me that before. I figured we all knew what that “looked” like as Christians.
Brainstorming A Godly Relationship
So, how could we keep putting God first in our relationship? I told him we could go to a park, and make it a habit to read His Word together. I told him praying and serving is important for a relationship, individually and of course, together. I told him that I value always desiring to abide in His truth and will for us. I told him that a godly relationship loves that person where they’re at, allowing them to grow in Christ freely, and not trying to morph them into a more boisterous Christian. I also told him that I firmly believe in strong communication between each other.
Then, it was his turn to brainstorm. He told me that, aside from physical boundaries, which we’ve kept, he envisioned serving together. He envisioned praying together. He envisioned being completely open and honest with one another. He envisioned being sacrificial with our time for one another. He envisioned forgiveness. He also values integrity when we’d be apart.
Starting with these ideas, we were able to figure out four things that helped God come first in our relationship.
“Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” —Proverbs 3:6
4 Steps That Put God First In A Relationship
I will admit this; I was not the first to initiate prayer together. It was my boyfriend that asked gently if I could pray aloud; I’ll admit that my praying time was pretty much restricted between me and God alone, aside from dinners or outings with friends. There have been times where I didn’t feel completely comfortable praying out loud with someone I was dating.
Eventually, I let him know this and my feelings about prayer. My boyfriend, being gentle in nature as he is, looked hurt, but strongly assured me that he loves to hear me pray because he feels he’s hearing the words straight from my heart. This is true, because I tend to pray about our relationship, and I find myself revealing things I feel for him in the deepest parts of my heart.
Keeping God first in relationship requires sacrifice; it requires you to get out of your comfort zone and do something new. It requires that you show a sacrificial, willing love. Praying ended up becoming a natural communication between us; we’d take turns almost every night praying aloud for one another. There were some nights I couldn’t wait to pray; granted, the enemy will do all he can to deter that from you, and many nights he did, but a prayer was said against the struggle anyways.
Keeping God first in a relationship is not only going to church together, it’s worshipping freely with one another. You shouldn’t feel restricted while worshipping; when my boyfriend and I first attended our first Sunday service, we both worshipped God freely, openly and joyously. I remember he looked at me after the song died down, smiled wildly and hugged me.
On one of our recent Sundays together at church, he was tearing up; when I had asked him why he was crying, he said, “I’m spiritually free with you.” That was one of the most touching, beautiful things anyone has ever said to me.
Keeping God first in a relationship is not only reflecting His love when times are hard, but also His grace. When my boyfriend and I are hurt about something the other person did, we speak what’s on our hearts, and we help each other through it. We have both apologized in this relationship; we realize that we’re both flawed human beings and that we’re not perfect, but that God made us incredibly perfect for each other.
4. God’s Word
Amid our relationship, we read His Word together; at times, we just read a single chapter together and we’ll talk about it. It’s in these moments where we hear each other’s hearts spiritually, and it’s a beautiful thing.
There are nights we have just sung worship and prayed to God while we’re FaceTiming. Granted, we still struggle with managing the little time we have together, with him currently living in Waco, and I in Dallas, but we’re open about our struggles, our feelings and where we are spiritually. It’s during these moments that he gathers my hands into his, and he prays over us, then he’ll slip out his phone and start playing Christian music, and we close our eyes, sing together and refresh our souls.
“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” —James 5:13
Sometimes, keeping God first doesn’t always look so perfectly put together. Sometimes, you end up missing Sunday service because you woke up late, or you forget to open His Word, or you decided to pray silently rather than out loud. That’s okay; it’s the effort that counts. God desires that we dedicate time to Him, whatever that may look like for you both, so that you can walk into what He has planned for you as a couple.
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