It’s amazing how we don’t realize how lost and out of control we are until after the Holy Spirit reveals it to us. For me, it was the fact that I was idolizing my boyfriend. And the crazy part is I had no idea until I attended a women’s conference.
Prior to the conference, I was having a lot problems in my relationship. We had been arguing so much that I had no peace about being in a relationship with him. Mind you, we had been dating for about a year and a half at this point with the intent to marry. And now I was convinced that I was supposed to break up with him.
What I failed to realize was that I had no peace because God was asking to take His rightful place back on the throne. He was asking me to surrender my boyfriend, and now that I’m on the other side, I can see how I had made him an idol. So to save yourself and help you establish some healthy emotional boundaries within your own relationship, here are 4 signs that will prevent you from making your boyfriend an idol too.
1. You run to him before you run to God.
For example, every time I felt like I was going through a difficult situation, I found myself calling my boyfriend first. Especially when we got into arguments, I would want to stay on the phone for long periods of time rather than sort my feelings by myself or with God. I clung to the short-term comfort he gave rather than the sustainable comfort God could provide.Stop clinging to the short-term comfort man can give, and cling to the sustainable comfort only God can provide. Click To Tweet
I have come to truly understand that you are going to see parts of your partner that you don’t like. Even worse, you’ll see parts of yourself that you don’t like either. This is common when growing in an intimate relationship with someone, and emotions are a part of the package.
However, there will be moments as women when we have to process our emotions, and only God is the perfect counselor. If you get into an argument with your partner, either take time to yourself to pray and present your situation before God prior to communicating with your partner OR communicate with your partner and take your burdens to the throne afterwards.
Either way, Jesus is the only one who died on the cross for you, which means that He is the only one who truly understands your makeup. Only He can help restore you when your emotions are spilling over. Learning how to discipline yourself is a part of the purification process that comes with being a Christian; it’s actually one of the fruits of the spirit. You can’t grow or heed where the Holy Spirit is leading if you are spending all your time with your partner – both physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
2. You ask him to fill needs only God can fill.
This can look different in every relationship but for me, I was looking for my boyfriend to give me words of affirmations. It got to a point where I was feeling discontent whenever I didn’t hear affirming words consistently or didn’t hear them the way that I wanted to.
I’m still discovering where this desire comes from, but I did realize that I had an expectation for my partner that was slightly unrealistic. Yes, your partner should be able to do the things that you like, but enter into your relationship emotionally full so that you will be content even when you don’t receive the [insert your need here] that you’re looking for.
A good indication that you may be too discontent in your relationship is if you hear your boyfriend say something along the lines of, “It doesn’t matter what I do, I feel like you’ll never be satisfied.” In those moments, you must immediately turn to God and examine yourself. Think about whether you’re asking for too much or becoming a nagging/complaining woman.
3. Your mood is dependent on how your relationship is going.
In my case, I was easily led by my emotions. If something wasn’t going right in the relationship, I would let seeds of doubt or anxiety manifest to the point that I actually felt like my flesh was taking over my ability to have emotional self-control.
For example, one of my best friends came over to spend the weekend with me since we hadn’t hung out in over a year. You would think that I would have used that time intentionally. Instead, I was too worried about the argument I had with my boyfriend the night before. I couldn’t enjoy time with my friend because I spent majority of my time concerned about my relationship.
I even called my boyfriend that weekend and talked to him for an hour while my friend was STILL at my apartment. It got so bad that my friend ended up going on a date because I was too busy sulking rather than giving her my undivided attention.
Thankfully, my friend showed me a lot of grace, but I should have treated her better. I am not saying that it’s unnatural to feel upset whenever something is going on in your life, but it shouldn’t spill over to other areas of your life. It shouldn’t affect you so much that you are obsessed by it. In doing that, you are letting your relationship control you and you are worshipping it. That’s an idol.
4. Your spiritual life feels dry.
This can range from feeling so distracted and detached whenever you’re spending time with God to actually not wanting to spend time with Him at all. For me, this is exactly what happened. What used to be an exciting time to seek God’s presence ultimately turned into a time where I had to convince myself to sit still long enough to read my Bible.
Even then, those times weren’t exactly refreshing. They were frustrating. And looking back, I think this occurred because I was too busy making my boyfriend my god rather than Christ the center of my life.
Many of these signs are not blaring. In fact, they’re rather subtle, and they can sneak up on you if you’re not careful. Flashback to the women’s conference, there was one moment where things changed for me. I remember standing there at the alter wrestling with myself and with God. The worship leader was ministering to us, and he asked us to release the thing that we were toiling with. As you can guess, my boyfriend was the thing I knew I needed to release.
In that moment, I was convinced that I was supposed to break up with him. I knew I didn’t want to and I knew I would be heartbroken, but I was willing to surrender him because he wasn’t worth my peace. I wanted to be obedient and choose nothing more than God’s best for my life. So I released him, and then I told God He could have him.
But I wasn’t expecting that we’d still be together today. My boyfriend and I were finally able to resolve things, and since that moment at the altar, I have had peace about our relationship. In gaining that peace, I finally understood what was going on. It was an Abraham-almost-kills-Isaac-but-God-spares-him moment. It may have taken several conversations with married women and a whole women’s conference, but I was finally able to realize that my boyfriend was not the problem, it was me.
So I hope this post was helpful to you! If you’re looking for a way to put God back on the throne, then I encourage you to sign up for this free devotional/challenge where we’ll commit to spending time with God daily and discover what it means to be in a relationship with Christ! Let me know in the comments how you have established healthy emotional boundaries within your own relationship.
Hanha Hobson is an author, speaker, and the founder of Transparency Ministries. From published devotionals to empowerment workshops, she will stop at nothing to see women encounter God and she is passionate about teaching and equipping them to live a life of freedom. When she is not encouraging others or writing her heart out, she enjoys watching Grey’s Anatomy, eating Chickfila, and connecting with friends on Instagram. Come say hi!