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  • Writer's pictureLauren Wells

Miss Independent

Imagine you’re back in high school, searching through the glove compartment of your parents’ car for a CD case. There it is, hidden underneath a stack of your parking tickets (uh oh, did mom and dad see those?). You tug at the zipper of the case and your favorite CD slips out! A little scratched and worn, but still does the trick. What album is it? Some of you are cringing just thinking about it, others are already jamming to those songs playing in your head. Okay, I guess I’ll share mine. I didn’t have a favorite album, but a song that I would play on repeat...Miss Independent by Ne-Yo.

Growing up I always thought being independent was an admirable quality, and apparently Ne-Yo did too. Before meeting Jesus, I continually tried to figure out life on my own, like a lot of us. When I started following Christ in college, I found that my independence easily got in the way of depending on God (not so admirable). I learned that I couldn’t go deep with God because of that, our relationship was shallow and for me, self-serving. I’m realizing that dependence takes daily intentionality. Although we came into this world completely dependent on our parents, as adults we tend to forget what that was like, maybe not until we marry and have kids of our own. Of course a godly marriage requires dependence on the Lord too, but what I didn’t realize is that it also requires consistent dependence on one’s spouse. 

Why is that important to think about while dating? Because for those who desire to be married, you have to realize that making the leap from Miss Independent to Mrs. Dependent is not a short distance. All of a sudden you’re no longer the “strong-independent-boss-lady” that was on the bio of your dating profile, you’re the woman who’s having to consult and include your spouse on practically every decision. Your lives are linked together in every way by design of how God created marriage, to be one. And that transition can be rough.

Dependence is meant to be healthy. God wants us to depend on Him first and foremost, to build trust and intimacy.

People will let you down, your spouse will let you down. Your full trust cannot be in one person, only in an infallible God. God wants us to use our relationship with Him as a framework for marriage, which starts with revering Him. “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21 NIV). Look at how the Psalmist viewed God, “You, God, are my God. Earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1 NIV). Talk about vulnerability! King David’s intimate relationship with the Lord made it possible for him to confidently say these things. He knew his thirst for God would be quenched because he trusted Him, which was about 1000 years before Jesus declared “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:38 NIV). Can we say the same about our relationship with God?

What about our relationship with our partner? If we aren’t practicing vulnerability with our Creator, who knows you better than yourself, even the very number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:7 NIV), then we can’t be truly vulnerable with our partner either. It takes assurance that the person you are expressing your deepest emotions and needs to is trustworthy to handle them appropriately. For fear of rejection or that our needs won’t be met, we can revert back to the comfort of our independence. “If I only rely on myself, then no one else can disappoint or hurt me” is a sad way to live. Our reluctance to opening up to someone else can also be due to the fact that trust isn’t easily built, trust must be tested. God knows that, which is why He instructed the Israelites in the wilderness, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions” (Exodus 16:4). We later find out that those who hoarded manna for the next day woke up to a pile of maggots instead. Yuck! Our relationships that lack trust and intimacy produce the same outcome - decay.

I recognize that there’s only a certain level of intimacy that you can tap into when pursing a god-centered, dating relationship. Something my husband and I have started doing, which I believe can be implemented within the boundaries of dating, is asking each other “check-in questions” each day. 1. How can I serve you tomorrow? 2. What is your concern or struggle? 3. How can I pray for you? Before bed, we review these questions together and pray. Our service to each other varies, sometimes it’s ensuring a home admin task is completed, sometimes its sending an encouraging text or scripture in the middle of the day to each other, or sometimes it’s holding the other accountable to not exceed 1 hour of TV after work. Where dependency develops, so does appreciation and love. It’s true that many of our “serving tasks” can be done independently, but let’s be honest, it can be difficult to hold ourselves accountable to spiritual disciplines or even encourage ourselves. Maybe you will start off by asking your partner similar questions once a week and build from there.

Practicing vulnerability through dependence in your relationship will make the transition into marriage easier.

Remember, dependence doesn’t mean you lose your identity, it’s an opportunity for intimacy. God doesn’t require us to have a relationship with Him, He’s given us free will to choose Him or not choose Him. But His original design was for intimate communing with Him in the garden. Marriage is a gift, we can choose intimacy or not choose intimacy in it. But His original design was for husband and wife to be one. When we do things God’s way, our lives will be so much more fulfilled than if we go about it our own, independent way (Ephesians 3:20 NIV). 


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