Love is in the air! And if you’re like me, you have a love-dislike relationship with one of our most “triggering” holidays: Valentine’s Day.
What is seen as one specific day to show your love to a significant other, if you have one, is often discouraging to some, and just another day to the rest.
Depending on who you ask, romance and romantic relationships are overrated. I believe there is some truth to that in general, but it can also come from a place of pain and disappointment in one’s own lack of romantic relationships.
When people hear the word relationship they often think of a romantic partner. It’s like the word intimacy where many people still just think of sex. But as I’ve grown and matured over the years, God has expanded what relationships and intimacy actually are.
If you don’t have a significant other that you’re in a relationship with, I want to encourage you that there are other relationships that are more important than a romantic one that you should invest in and steward well:
- Our relationship with God
- Our relationship with ourselves
- Our relationships with other people
This is THE most important relationship any human being will ever have in their life. Why? Because the One who made you knows you better than you know yourself. He created you with His own hands on purpose and for purpose (Psalm 119.73).
Knowing our maker, who He is, and why He created us is the ultimate life goal (Psalm 150.6, Colossians 1.16). A lot of people believe they know God and are right with Him, but if you look at the Scriptures, you will see that there is only ONE very clear way to know God and that is through Jesus Christ (John 14.6, John 14.9).
This is the second most important relationship you will have in your life. The saying “know thy self” is true, but in order to truly know and love yourself in a healthy way, you need to know God. Everything flows from that foundation (Mark 12.30-31).
Why is this the second most important relationship? Because there is only ONE YOU that currently exists and that will ever exist. How you exist, show up, and move in the world matters. You can only go deeper with yourself: mind, body, soul, and spirit, and know how all of those aspects of you connect when you know God (Proverbs 19.8).
It’s also important to make a distinction between self-love and self-worship. As we take a look at the chapter on love in 1 Corinthians 13.4-7, we see what love truly is: “patient, kind, does not envy, boast, keep record of wrongs, rejoice in wrongdoing,” etc. And we also see that God is love in 1 John 4.7-21. So if we know God, we can truly know how to love ourselves.
No one can choose the family they are born into and some of us don’t have fond childhood memories or healthy relationships with our parents, siblings, and/or extended family members. This can make for difficult conversations about our relationship with our family.
Even if we don’t have the best relationship with some or any of our family, we can choose what boundaries we set, how we set them, and if we choose to move forward with any of them. Honoring your mother and father (Exodus 20.12) doesn’t mean you have to have a relationship with them. You can still pray for them from afar.
For those of us who do have healthy relationships with our families or ones that are on the mend, we have the opportunity to continue cultivating good connections and extending that familial love we have to others that did/do not have it.
Good and godly friends are not always easy to make or find but thank God we *can* choose our friends! Godly friends for the follower of Christ are one of the determining factors of having a healthy and thriving walk with the Lord. When you find these friends who want to mutually invest in and walk with you, KEEP THEM! They are truly a dime a dozen (Proverbs 18.24, 1 Corinthians 15.33).
ROMANTIC: Dating and Marriage
Like friends, we have the choice to make wise decisions with who we get romantically involved with. This has to be as intentional, if not more than, how we choose our friends especially when it comes to marriage.
Who we choose to invest in romantically and enter into a covenant with is serious business and can be a huge asset or liability to our lives (2 Corinthians 6.14).
EXTERIOR: Other people
Acquaintances, co-workers, strangers… Even though this category is not as intimate as family, friends, and romantic partners, it’s still important. How you interact with those you don’t know well can tell you some things about yourself. While you don’t have to be best friends with them, learning to be friendly and cordial is important in society and for human flourishing and well-being (Romans 13.10, Hebrews 13.1-2).
If you love God, you will be able to love others even when you don’t know them that well (Mark 12.30-31).
Relationships are paramount to our well-being as humans and God did not create us to be alone and live in isolation. So if you’re dwelling on what you are lacking today, consider the other types of relationships you currently have or can have in your life.
And remember that above all, God loves you and has shown that by sending His son Jesus, to allow you to have the most important relationship in your life: the one with Him.
Britani Anthony is a passionate disciple of Jesus Christ and lover of writing.
Along with being a disciple, people lover, and writer, Britani is also a speaker and whole-life advocate. Her involvement with the And Campaign's Whole Life Project has deepened her affection for all image bearers and she has been featured in a number of Whole Life endeavors including the Whole Life promo video, discussion panels, and answering tough Whole Life questions.
Atlanta has been her home since 2006 and she enjoys working out, writing at Black-owned coffee shops, meeting new people, and living with her favorite 90's R&B karaoke and dance partners Kristen and Angel!
You can find more of her content on her blog, Have A Seat, where she talks about faith, culture, and relationships.