As I reflect on this past decade of my life and welcome my 30s, I’ve learned a lot about relationships and about myself. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but at this age, I’ve realized that they were lessons that didn’t simply wound me but became opportunities to help someone else.
As we all continue to live and learn in love, we take some vital wisdom with us from those experiences. Here are four of my love lessons from my 20s that I will carry into my 30s and beyond.
Don’t settle for consistent inconsistency
People are either consistent in being there for you or they are not. Consistency is one of the major components of God’s character, for His love never fails nor will He ever leave us.
Although we, nor the people we date, are perfect, consistent character will show itself over time. Are they timely in communicating with you? Are they “all in” one day and unsure the next?
That inconsistency is hard to build on despite their other great qualities. You don’t want to stress yourself out for someone who’s not ready or willing to love you the way you love and deserve to be loved.
Take your time before you commit
Most of the time, I’ve been one to take things slow when getting to know someone before entering a committed dating relationship. The times when I “followed my heart” I would end up in connections I’d be praying for the Lord to break.
I’ve learned there’s nothing wrong with taking your time and asking the right questions before you say “I do” or even enter in a committed relationship. Acting on impulse in love is not the same as making a basic tangible purchase. Our decisions on whom we choose to connect with reflect how we value ourselves.
If you cherish and value yourself, you’d be more cautious to be connected to just anyone, especially in a love relationship because we do encounter counterfeits. Wisdom waits, testing the subject by the spirit before moving forward.
Don’t let anyone try to change you
This is a truth most of us have probably experienced in our lives. I’ve learned firsthand that you don’t need to change for anyone but God. Someone who tries to change you through intimidation, highlighting your insecurities instead of speaking life over you and manipulation does not properly love you for who you are.
The people closest in your life who know who you are at your core will notice changes in you as you move forward with your partner. If you are to change, and you should, it should be for the better and not worse.
The right person for you will accept your unique abilities, your flaws but will encourage you to grow in God’s will for your life, not their will for you. Trust that there’s a huge difference!
Be obedient the first time
If you have a personal relationship with Jesus, you may have experienced His instruction regarding your decisions and everyday life. Your gut feelings, which I call discernment given by the Holy Spirit, don’t lie when something is off. You may sense a heaviness or conviction about the person you’re seeing or interested in and those could be warning signs to get your attention.
There were a few times when God either told me to “wait” or to “leave” when it came to relationships. I obeyed that time, and it showed itself to be in my favor. The time He told me to leave, I stayed…and I was miserable!
Soul ties, emotional bonds, fear and other factors can get in the way of your obedience to God. Believe the Word that says obedience is better than sacrifice. Breaking up with who you thought was a good person (or even the One) because God instructed you to will be a better choice in the long run.
When you get the instruction, don’t play around and procrastinate; obey immediately because your goal is to please God, especially in your single season.
Overall, whatever lessons you’ve learned over the years, don’t let your past experiences turn you bitter, cold and cynical. God’s love covers our mess and allows it to become a message to share with others. It’s that wisdom and purpose that drove me to publish my first book, Journey to 30: A Single Woman’s Guide to Living Unapologetically Without Deadlines. I share my own testimonies as well as the stories of ten women of God who have been through it. The aim is to help other women approach aging with grace and live without societal pressures on them for being single. Learn more about Journey to 30 before its release on October 28.
BMWK, what was your biggest lesson in love? At what age did you learn it?