In fourth grade, I threw all my Valentines in the trash. It was for purely practical reasons. I had taken off all the candy and felt the remaining sentiments scribbled in fourth-grade handwriting were no longer of use to me. My teacher came to our table a few minutes later and said, “I just found a pile of Valentines in the trash. Can you believe someone threw all of these away? After all the work your classmates put into them?” I shook my head in feigned disbelief and tried not to look guilty.
Despite my low level of sentimentality in the story above, I actually love romance and relationships. Not to mention, I could eat chocolate all day long, so this holiday has all the potential to be one of my favorite days of the year. I also know it can be rough standing in line at the supermarket buying your own chocolate and realizing the only thing that’s changed since last year is the flavor of M&Ms you’ve selected.
No matter where you find yourself on Valentine’s Day, we want you to be encouraged, so our team decided to debunk a few common lies we’ve seen people believe about singleness, dating, and relationships. Our prayer is that the truth of God’s Word would fill you with hope as you read them and as we approach the day set aside to celebrate love.
Here are seven lies we’ve seen people believe about relationships:
1. Marriage solves everything.
Where is the good-looking prince with a killer smile to come whisk me away so we can live happily ever after?
This is how it goes in the fairytales, but in real life, it’s just not the same. Married, single, it’s complicated… it doesn’t matter what your Facebook status is, everyone has problems. In fact, a lot of times getting married and living together for the first time brings up new problems or intensifies the ones you have. If you work on things while you’re single, you can start investing in your marriage long before you meet the right person.
2. God can be replaced.
When a cute guy or girl enters the picture and starts talking to you, it feels pretty fantastic.
Wow, no one’s ever seemed this interested in my favorite pizza toppings or my take on superhero movie remakes…
All of a sudden someone is meeting those needs for intimacy, comfort, and connection. It feels great at first, but the more you rely on people to meet all of your needs or give you affirmation (especially if it’s just one person), the more you realize they’re only human. No one can take the place of Jesus in your life. No matter how many wonderful people are around, there is a space in all of us that only God can fill.
3. I’m not worth the wait, commitment, or protection.
But maybe if I worked out more or ate less pizza I would be…
In a world with constant reminders of why you’re not enough, this one is easy to believe. If you’ve been hurt or rejected by men or women, or you’ve made mistakes in the past, you can start to believe there’s no one who will want you enough to pursue, protect, or commit to you. It’s not true, though. You are valuable because God says you are. Regardless of your past, when you come to God with a repentant heart, He makes all things new (Revelation 21:5). You are blood-bought, and the things the enemy tries to hold against you don’t work anymore. Your heavenly Father told you your worth when He sent His Son to die for you. That’s something that can’t be taken away.
4. I’m going to be single forever.
Might as well start buying cats, because I’m going to be the cat lady.
Well, I have good news for you. About two million people get married in the United States every year¹. That’s a lot of people who started dating, fell in love, and overcame any fear or insecurities in order to commit to one person. If you want to be married, you too can meet someone and be one of those two million one day. It’s easy to think the stage you’re in is going to be what the rest of your life is like. In reality, a stage is just a stage, and it won’t last forever.
5. God is withholding from me.
Why don’t I have the wife, husband, kids, house, job, dog, or retirement plan I’ve always dreamed of?
These are very real questions. You may even start to picture God as kind of a trickster, dangling things in front of you that He has no desire to give you, but this is not Who He is. The Bible says, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly…” (Psalm 84:11). He is a generous Father, and He may not be giving you the exact thing you want right now at this moment, but He gives good gifts to His children all the time. Focus on what He is giving you, and rest in the fact that He knows the desires of your heart because He placed them there for a reason.
6. There are no good men/women out there.
I’m going to have to just go for the next girl who will give me her number. I’m going to have to settle for the next guy who proposes. Hopefully, he has a job and at least three front teeth.
Your mind tends to look for evidence to support what you believe, so if you go through life believing there are no good men or women out there, you probably won’t see any. If you decide to believe there are good ones out there, then you will start to see them. Even if there are men and women who still have some work to do, holding this total lack of belief over their heads isn’t going to help them out. Believe in people, even when they’re still working on things, and believe in the faithfulness of God to show His goodness in your life.
7. I’m stuck.
I’m stuck in this behavior, I’m stuck in this addiction, I’m stuck being single, I’m stuck in this relationship, I’m stuck in this rut in my marriage…
This lie can look a number of different ways, but no matter what, you are not stuck. Feeling stuck is usually a result of feeling powerless or like you don’t have a choice. The truth is you do have a choice. You have a choice to stay in a relationship or break up. You have a choice to leave your marriage the way it is or reach out to a counselor or someone who can help you work through your problems. If you feel stuck in dating, you can try online dating, take a new class, or ask a friend to set you up with someone.
If you’re stuck in an addiction or unhealthy behavior, know that when you accept Jesus, His Holy Spirit comes to live inside you to empower you to make healthy, righteous decisions. You now have incredible strength. You can change your life at any moment. Tell the Lord where you feel stuck and ask Him what you need to do to get out of it. You may have to take drastic steps, but it’s okay. Do whatever you need to do to get free.
Jesus came to give abundant life (John 10:10). The better you learn to identify the lies that try to discourage you, the more you will walk in all He died to give you. Believe the truth of Who God says He is and who He says you are. There is not a single area of your life you have to be discouraged in. So no matter if you’re single, dating, or married, may this Valentine’s Day be a reminder of the One who pursues your heart relentlessly in every season and Whose love knows no bounds.
If you’re interested in learning more about fighting lies and going after health and wholeness, we have more good news for you. Our whole curriculum is now available online. Check it out in the link below:
(1) “National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 Nov. 2015. Web. 04 Feb. 2017.