I was just thinking the other day. I (over) think quite often. Sometimes it's good because it causes reflection, and this reflection was good.
I never really thought about the fact that I might be dating at 28 years old. I was never, EVER in a rush to get married, but there was a time when I assumed I'd be married by now. Looking back, it's interesting to see how things have changed from the time I was 21 until now, and why it's a really good thing I am still dating at 28.
All people are different. One of my best friends met her husband at 14. I have friends in their 30s that aren't married. Each person and situation are unique.
With that being said, I know that personally, I would not have been ready for marriage at 21. Or 22. Or even 25.
Dating at 21 for me was kind of like "What can you do for me? How can you make ME happy?" At 28 I've realized it should be "What can we do for God? What will make Him happy? And how can I make YOU happy?"
I had such a selfish mindset at 21!!! True love is selfLESS.
It's so much better to just be sweet to each other and handle disagreements patiently and kindly, seeing the other person's side and not getting angry and taking it to a level it shouldn't go to, causing way more hurt than necessary, and damaging something that is supposed to be precious.
I'm still working on "keeps no record of wrongs"!! I wrote a post last month about shame and how you shouldn't keep reminding people of things that have upset you or things they have done in the past. Obviously, there are things that should be a red flag to you, that you shouldn't be willing to accept and move forward from, but if it's something you can move on from and the person you are dating has apologized to you and made things right with the Lord and is moving forward in Him, there's absolutely no reason for you to keep bringing it up. To do that is to say that you are more important than God. He has forgotten it, but you can't? Let the one who died for our sins decide what should be forgotten and moved on from!
(I am telling myself this, not just in dating, but all relationships)
Finally, I think the past three years of growing in my prayer life as an individual and just learning to blindly trust the Lord have done wonders for my outlook on dating. There are all kinds of books and articles about "praying for your future husband," even as a single person. When I stopped asking the Lord for a specific person and started praying that He would have His will and protect whoever HE had for me, and guard his heart and my heart and prepare us for each other as individuals, I felt so much better. My focus was in the wrong place for so long.
God intended for marriage to make HIM happy, not us. Humans will always fail each other, but when working together for a greater purpose than ourselves, walking with the Lord and staying in His will, always praying for each other, being selfless and kind, it will all work out!
I am in no way saying "I have arrived" or that I know it all. All I know is, I'm very glad the Lord wrecked my plans a few years ago so that He could have time to work in my heart and show me what's important so that I will be better prepared for the person He has for me.
It's so much better and sweeter and easier now.