After months of single-Christian-girl posts, this was bound to happen, right?

I was bound to start dating someone. The waiting was bound to end. My posts on singleness were bound to turn into “how to rock at dating” posts.

So let me just put this out there.

After not dating someone for six years, gaining all sorts of wisdom and revelation about it, finding contentment in my singleness, developing patience, going crazy deep with God, getting healed from all sorts of hurt, I just assumed that I would be the best girlfriend ever. 

Why wouldn’t I be? I’ve had six years of waiting. Six years of being patient. Six years of watching friends date, learning from their mistakes, hoarding wisdom. I was going to nail this whole dating thing.

Folks, that is not what has happened. I am not the perfect girlfriend.

Despite my surplus of stored knowledge, I have failed on more than one occasion, and the vast majority of the time, I have no idea what I’m doing.

I have had my feelings hurt by things that are incredibly minor and insignificant. Before this, I would have considered myself extremely secure and confident. If a friend would have come to me a few months ago, telling me that her feelings had been hurt by the things my feelings have been hurt by, I may have laughed. ‘Get over yourself,’ I would have smirked at her. ‘You’re just being insecure.’

You see, my boyfriend’s girlfriend has been the furthest thing from perfect. She has not been entirely patient. She has given her insecurities and doubts room to run around in her brain. She has felt needy, and therefore more insecure. She has whined. She has cried for a whole Sunday afternoon because of a bad dream. She has been annoyed. She has believed lies.

My boyfriend’s girlfriend is not who I thought she would be.

I thought she’d be perfect. I though I would be perfect.

I realize this sounds ridiculous because no one can be perfect and I get that. But I thought this would come easier to me.

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The reality is that dating is wonderful. It is so incredibly wonderful and fun. But allowing someone to come into the mess and imperfection of your life is so refining.

When you are single, your mess and imperfection affect your roommates and close friends… and that is about it. 

The majority of the time, your mess and imperfection are something between you and God.

When you get moody, you get away and get with God. If you don’t want to talk to people for a while, that’s fine, you don’t have to. Need a weekend to yourself? Sure. Go for it, your schedule is your own.

When you are dating, someone is in the mess with you. They are unashamedly walking into your insecurities, fears, doubts. They are doing life WITH you. And there’s no running away. There’s no hiding from your mess, your selfishness, and your pride. It all surfaces and makes itself known pretty quickly.

It is the iron sharpening iron. 

It is the moments you realize how you’ve spent a good portion of your life only thinking about how things would affect you, and that you’ve never considered how they would affect someone else.

It’s after conversations and interactions realizing how much of you is still not quite yet there, how much of you still doesn’t look like Jesus.

Being single was a wonderful thing. Being single was actually way easier than dating.

But I had no idea how selfish my heart had become; how unwilling my heart was to share and how independent and self-sufficient I had grown to be.

I am being refined in the most marvelous way in this season. Insecurities I thought had been conquered are revealing themselves to need even more victory.

And I am walking through it all with the most patient, servant-hearted, and steady man I know. I am honored to be sharpened and pursued by him. And if there is one phrase we have continued to encourage each other with in this season, it’s this:

There is grace to figure it out. 

We must extend patience to each other in the process of learning how to date in a God-honoring way. We must forgive and offer grace for those moments of miscommunication and unmet expectations.

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Perfection isn’t expected from either one of us. Pursuit of Him is.

And in the process of figuring out how to be my boyfriend’s girlfriend, I am learning how desperate my heart has been to fully embrace His grace all along.