This is one of the iconic lines from the movie Pretty Woman. A man walking through the streets yells it out among the people walking along, and the line rings like a familiar song to those who watch the film.

In the same way, we have to ask you: What’s your dream? What have you always longed for? Is it to have a partner to share life with? Or perhaps a fairytale romance fit for a top-ten spot on Netflix? It might even be finding your true purpose—why God created you—but you haven’t been able to sort through the mess in your life to find just what that is.

We want to help you figure out what you are looking for and why it’s important. Loving others can be so messy. Pain from bad experiences in the past, insecurities about how we were made, the kinds of people (or lack thereof) in our lives, uncertainty about whether we are “qualified” for a loving relationship—all of these may put up barriers in your heart. They feel like good reasons for hesitating to get too deeply involved, which will ultimately keep you from wholehearted love.

Loving others can be so messy…

At some time in your life, you’ve had a dream or desire for what a fulfilling relationship would look like, but perhaps unmet expectations have become a huge area of pain for you. Maybe you’ve lowered your standards significantly because you’re not finding the type of person you always envisioned. Without firm goals and boundaries in place, you may be tempted to accept people who cheat on you or treat you poorly in other ways.

Or maybe you’ve been closing yourself off to your spouse. You feel as if part of you is dying. It seems easier to put up walls than to be vulnerable to further hurt.

And maybe you feel this spreading into your relationship with God. If you’re honest, perhaps your relationship with Him feels only surface level. You’ve hidden parts of yourself from Him, and you aren’t encountering His love like you have in the past. You want to feel His love again.

If you truly want to change the course of your current or future relationships, the best place to start is by creating your personal plan or “mission statement.” We like to call it a “My Why” statement. It is a statement of what you want out of life and why you are willing to do what it takes to achieve it. To put it plainly, it answers the question, Why do you want to live wholeheartedly?

In order to come up with a “My Why” statement, we believe it’s important to carefully think through the following four questions. They will help you to accurately and thoroughly state your “Why.”

1. Do you know how God sees you?

Our relationships affect every single aspect of our lives. And our hearts come with us everywhere, whether we like it or not, whether we try to shut them down or not. We can’t remove who we are and how we love from anything else we do. But if we truly understand how God sees us, there’s no reason for us to close off our hearts from our relationships and our lives.

Can you imagine for a second how God sees you? He sees you as someone He cares enough about that He sent His one and only Son to die for you. He sees only the very best, purest version of you, with all your sins wiped away as far as the east is from the west (see Psalm 103:12).

God wants us to walk with Him so we can be the fullest version of the person He created us to be. When you understand this, you can carry yourself with humility as His beloved. When you know you’re loved beyond imagination by the one who created heaven and earth, you can walk authentically from a deep place in your soul that can’t be shaken. How would that feel?

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2. Why is it important to you to love with your whole heart?

Wholehearted love is exactly that, loving with every part of your heart—nothing hidden, allowing yourself and someone else to have access to all of you. No walls, no masks, no filters. Just the raw and real you.

Think about what it would feel like to be loved fully and unconditionally for who you are at your core. Why is that important to you?

If you could fast-forward to your absolute dream relationship, can you describe what it would look like? How would your future boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse treat you? What would you do together? How would being in that relationship affect the rest of your life?

These are all great questions and important to think about. Knowing what you want allows you to make important decisions. It helps you to see ways that you can set up your relationship to be more like your dream. It enables you to know what you would allow or be willing to put up with, or what you would put a stop to.

3. What kind of values will you hold on to in your dream relationship?

Like us, you have very likely compromised about something in your life. Perhaps you, too, have allowed certain values into relationships that you now regret. Thinking about this question gives you the opportunity to identify and set boundaries based on the values you are going to stick to and give priority in your current or future relationship.

Values can play a huge part in our compatibility with another person, so understanding what is attractive to us, what would need to be worked on, or what would be a deal-breaker is key in understanding your relationships and loving wholeheartedly.

4. How would loving and living wholeheartedly impact the rest of your life?

Imagine just for a short moment what it would be like to get to heaven and meet Jesus. You feel His glory and goodness. All the baggage is gone. And you realize that so much of the burden you carried didn’t have to be with you on earth. You could have experienced a little taste of heaven more often.

Picture that heavenly version of yourself, free from all the chains, standing in the most beautiful light. Think of what that version of yourself, free from insecurity, has to bless the world with—your love and tenderness.

Think of how that bright version of yourself would be able to have relationships with others. How would it feel to connect on an even deeper level of beautiful intimacy with the right person? And then, how would it impact the rest of your life to love in this way?

No matter what stage of life you are in, we encourage you to think about why you want to love wholeheartedly. What is calling you to this deeper sense of love and fulfillment? Allow God to shape you as you walk through this journey.

Adapted from Wholehearted Love: Overcome the Barriers That Hold You Back in Your Relationship with God and Others—and Delight in Feeling Safe, Seen, and Loved by Stefanie and Caleb Rouse, releasing in April 2024.

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