Building a Good Relationship
How to Look for the Love of a Lifetime Part IV!
This is part four, the last article in a series to challenge single Christians to seek Biblical principles in love and dating. In this final part, we will look at how to build a lasting and godly relationship. Although this is geared to singles, the principles will be for all Christians whether they are single, married, looking, not looking, and all the rest who are dazed and confused.
In building a genuine God centered relationship, you must be genuine, and focused. If you truly desire to follow God’s precepts, and not those of society, you must be willing and able to cast off the “games” that people play in relationships. There must be no hiding behind made up masks, and false identities. Get rid of the fixation on pleasure, and the viewpoints from glamour magazines and TV shows. You must seek Biblical precepts; rather than how you feel or are told by friends. This means a Christian relationship will be built on and with honesty, and communication, in order to be real and authentic. These translate into genuine relationships that are flowing from a life that has been transformed by grace, and renewed by Christ, as Lord of your life.
In order to accomplish this task, you must seek to know yourself and the other person. If you are not honest about yourself, how can you expect to have a good relationship? The same applies to seeking honestly from the person you are courting. You have to be honest about who you are, that is, knowing your personality, aspirations, and desires, and working on your relationship with Christ. You also have to be honest about what you plan to do and be in life. Then, you can seek that in others, and honestly assess how you feel about them and about what they do and say. The way to do this is to have open, honest communication, be willing and able to ask the tough question of yourself and your date. The hiding is then eliminated, and a real relationship is built! Open communication is a vital foundation for every marriage, necessary in order to understand and help each other. Without it, you cannot see what is truly motivating the other or what their ideas and intentions are. When you have differing points of view--and you will--be willing to talk and listen. Simply by listening, 99.9% of the problems will be resolved. When you have this settled before marriage, you will be light-years ahead of the game. If you are already married, then you can use these principles to figure out what you need to work on in yourself, as well as in your relationship with God and others.
We can be honest even in our Western dating culture. Yes, most people-- Christians included--tend to stick to the shallow end of the communication pool. We spend time asking about favorite movies, hobbies, whether and such, so the most important questions, such as our struggles, vulnerabilities, and insecurities, are not addressed.
Once you are honest, then you can explore love. If you do not take care of honesty, your love will not be honest. You will be in love with an idea and not a person. You will be building a false relationship, not a real one!
We will not be perfect, as we will make mistakes, but we have the grace of God who makes up for our shortfalls. So, let God work in you. Be honest with Christ as your Lord, and be willing to learn, giving Him your fears and insecurities. Be willing to improve yourself before seeking a relationship. You cannot expect others to change and grow if you do not. If you are not willing to improve the ‘you’ before trying to get who is right for you or to improve your spouse, you will just cause upheaval and disorder in your self and the person you are with! You are not to seek someone to fill a hole that they cannot fill. Be accountable to and ask questions of someone who will always listen to you. By doing these precepts from the Word, you will better prepare yourself for God’s best, which is in your best interest, too!
Oh, by the way, do not even think, consider, or attempt to do missionary dating (date someone who does not share the same faith and theology as you). After over 20 years of being a pastor to singles, I have never seen this work. I have never heard of this working! It only leads to distress and strife, especially when children come in to the picture!
Here are two essential attitudes to have if you are serious about following God’s precepts in relationships:
1. An attitude of Fellowship: Fellowship, (koinonia) is the Christian catchphrase for getting together. Perhaps it is overused and underused. We overuse it to describe anything from hanging out to having communion, then we under use it by not taking the reality and depth of its meaning to heart! Biblical fellowship is a partnership of relationships and resources that contains good communication, cooperation, and mutual beneficiation. The powerful Holy Spirit is our true partner in the Church. This is true because of what Christ has done for us.
2. An attitude of real Intimacy: The Church has taught for centuries that sex was for procreation only and there are still Christian groups proclaiming this. However, this is not what the Bible teaches. Sex was created by God to populate (Genesis 1:28), to expresses unity (Genesis 2:24), to know your mate (Genesis 4:1), to express love (Genesis 24:67), to meet each other’s needs (Genesis 24:67; Deuteronomy 24:5; 1 Peter 3:7), to play (Proverbs 5:19; Song of S. 2:8-17; 4:1-16; Ecclesiastes 9:9), and to prevent sin (1 Corinthians 7:2-5). Intimacy also includes our being available to our spouse (1 Corinthians 7:3-5), and showing him or her our undivided interest as an expression of love (Song 4:16; 5:2).
How do you know if you are “In Love?”
According to the world’s standards, and that of many Christians, being attracted to another is our first consideration in dating or courting. However, is this right or Biblical? No! Yet, we often judge another person by our attraction to them or their attraction to us before we venture into a relationship. However, remember Prov 31: 30. Good looks, magnetism, beauty, being pretty, even charm, are vain, ineffective in building a relationship, and are not lasting. Love finds its roots in the deeper end of the pool where maturity in our relationship with Christ dwells, where He is Lord and from where our trust and the model of all of our relations originate.
Now, I am not saying to only court people who you do not like or to whom you are not attracted. That would not work well either! What we need to do is not let attraction be the only locomotive moving the train of the relationship, the only engine driving how we pick and chose with whom we want to be. Because that will not work out, look for real beauty, and the character within. If you find someone you like, and to whom you are attracted, make sure other qualities are there also. Keep in mind that there may be someone you may not have thought of, who may be right for you! I am always amazed in single groups in church how so many of them do not even look at each other as their ideal mate because desire is blinding their search. Thus, the only thing fueling their search is vanity, and the perfect one may be sitting right next to them! So, look up, and look around beyond your limited set of parameters!
Love begins, real love, that is, when you have a firm grasp on what we have talked about so far. It happens when the presumptions and games are out of the way, when open communication is happening, and when both of you are growing in the faith. If you are meant for one another, then love will come. Love cannot be forced, manipulated, conjured up, or pretended to be real. You can try to force love for a while, but it would be like teaching a dog to walk on its two hind legs. It will be able to do it for a little while, but not very long, and not very well! You have to let Love happen as stipulated in 1 Corinthians 13.
What does it mean to love someone? How do I know if I am “in love?” How do I really know if my potential mate loves me? It has often been said in Christian circles that "love is a choice," but what kind of choice is it? When do we make that choice, and what if it is the wrong choice?
One of the first signs of love is seen when you desire what is best for the other person. You begin to have their best interests in mind, with passion and/or conviction along side, when their feelings and needs are of greater importance to you than your own. When you read 1 Corinthians 13 and see your mate and yourself in those words, then you may have real authentic love. What love is not is when you place your needs and plans over theirs, and you project what you think their needs are or should be. When you become the one who chooses what the other wants, then you are on the path of self-gratification and manipulation, and not love.
There are times where you cannot meet all of the needs of another, nor should you. That has to be based on Biblical values and precepts. That other person you love, or think you love, needs to be discipled and growing in the right direction, as do you. They may need correction, you may need correction, they may need to change, and you may need to change. Therefore, a balance has to occur between fulfilling their needs, and fulfilling the right needs. Nevertheless, the bottom line, the litmus test is, that you desire to put them before yourself. You are not being selfish or manipulative or have hidden agendas, and neither do they. Of course, there will be times we want to control or change them, but we have to be willing to repeal those selfish desires in our heart in favor of their desires.
A Biblical relationship, one between God and us, and one with another, will take the focus off you and put it on what can be empowered and/or invested in the other person. With God, our surrender of our will goes along side that too (John 14-15; Gal. 2:20-21; Phil, 3:10). Therefore, you have to discern where the line is between our obligation of real friendship, and love. In addition, that can be different for each person. The main factor in determining where that line is will be the degree of excitement, passion, and desire. The emotional factor should not be there in such force in a fellowship-based friendship.
With courtship, you are seeking to keep in your mind and heart, the best interests of not only the person you are going out with, but also your future spouse. You need to do this because you are preparing yourself for the real love of your life, and if this one is not it, you can ruin yourself and that person you are out with, as well as your future spouse. This multiplies further, when you consider the future spouse of the person whom you are dating. Therefore, one person’s sin/mistake will affect scores of people. That is why God hates sexual promiscuity. It negatively effects and destroys not only you, but many others too! Keeping the other person’s best interests at heart will result in saving your sexual and emotional purity for your true love.
One of the main objections to courtship is people feel when you do not have sex or a lot of physical contact with each other you will not develop intimacy or even an attraction to each another. Then when you do get married, you will find out there are no sexual or romantic feelings one for the other. Thus, you will never develop true love for your spouse. This thought is completely ridiculous! I know this from my personal experience in courting my wife, studying dating history, my 20 years of counseling singles, and of course, the Word.
The main reason that engaging in several romances is dangerous, as I said before in the other three articles, is that it will develop a lot of emotional baggage. Those people will stay in your thoughts and rob you of your emotional commitment to your spouse. I am not saying you are to have no romance before marriage. On the contrary, getting to know your spouse to be is romance. Romance does not mean sex outside of the marriage bed. Sex does not build romance, commitment, trust, or knowledge of, or for, each another. It only satisfies the sin of lust, and blocks the building of real intimacy and genuine romance. The physical can get in the way of real heartfelt romance, because it clouds the issues in the building of a relationship. I have never heard of anyone who, after courting and marriage, had a problem with sex, unless there were physical problems or past abuse issues. God has wired you to engage in sex without any problems in doing so. The problem is that our sinful nature has heightened and corrupted it. To build a good relationship, you should consider all the aspects of building that relationship before you consider romance, as in physical touch.
Also, be willing to draw a line beyond which you both agree not to cross in your touching each other. This will prevent your lust from getting the best of you. The best defense is a good offence, plan, and agreement. So, draw the line, agree together, and commit to it concerning how far you will go physically. Keep Biblical values in mind! For some, it will be not going beyond kissing until you are engaged. For others, it will be never going past the bikini/swim suit areas (conservative swim suit--not a thong!)!
If, after working through all the relational building process, and making a commitment to each other leading to marriage, no attraction or romance develops, then you need to consider carefully that perhaps this relationship is not meant to be. If this is the case, you will be hurt, but also consider this you will be saved from a lifetime of being with the wrong person, which would cause each of you and others around you grief and strife! So, praise God and move on. The Biblical process has saved you! Keep the friendship alive. Remember that any effort made in building relationships is never a waste of time in God’s eyes, unless it is hurtful or damaging.
Another thing to consider is that romance and attraction build over time. Most Christian counselors, as well as surveys, have shown that with older couples in a growing relationship with Christ say their love has increased over the years--not decreased! So, if you are in your 20s, are planning to be married, are worried that you do not feel attracted enough to each other, and yet you meet the rest of the relationship building criteria, that feeling will change and you will grow fonder of each other!
Many people wonder, and ask, if love, or commitment comes first? The Bible gives us an answer that surprises a lot of people. In Ephesians 5:22-33 the context of this passage indicates "love the one you marry" rather than to "marry the one you love." Thus, romance is often skewed with society’s emphasis on feelings, and not on commitment. So, when the tough times come, romance will not keep you together, only your commitment will. This is a reason that love is also a choice. As a result, I believe commitment will supersede love, and be a good indicator that love is in the mix!
How to know if there is Compatibility:
It is essential that, in building an effective relationship, the two of you discover the personality, character traits, likes, and dislikes, moods, ambitions, and such, about each other. The best way to do this is go to a qualified and trained pastoral counselor who can give you a personality test/inventory. My personal favorite test is called the “Myers-Briggs.” Or, use a similar inventory. Then a good trained counselor can sit down with the two of you and go over the results and the possible conflicts that may develop. That way you are prepared, and know ahead of time what to expect. This will solve many relational problems that may crop up in the future.
To get a taste of this there are two great places on the web to check out your compatibility to each other: eharmony.com and www.assess-yourself.org.
Here are some things to consider in knowing yourself and your partners personality traits.
Make sure you or they do not have:
Loneliness, Emotional or Spiritual Emptiness: I have said this a lot, because in over 20 years of experience, I see this as one of the biggest problems with single Christians. They are looking for a mate because they feel empty and lonely! A relationship will not help you, as you will trade one set of problems for a bigger set! No one can fill that void except by what Christ has done. So, what do I do when I feel I am right with God and I still feel empty? Do something about it! Make friends. Go out on group dates for friendship, get to know people, and pray. Only Jesus can truly fulfill you in every way. If you have an emotional dependency on anyone or anything other than God, you will live a very bitter and depressing life!
Unfinished emotional issues: This includes child abuse, past broken relationships, dysfunctional family, and such. In addition, self esteem problems and psychological disorders like depression need to be addressed. These do not necessarily disqualify someone, but you have to “get your act together,” and be aware and willing to work things out in yourself! If not, you will carry them into marriage, and these problems will continue to be abusive! Both of you have to be willing to be vulnerable, communicate, trust, be willing to share your emotions, and be mature to make a long-term relationship work! Manipulative, prideful, and arrogant people are toxic. Stay away from them!
Problems with Anger: Anger will be overwhelming and cannot be quenched in a relationship. They or you must seek professional or pastoral help to dig to the root of the issue and solve it before a relationship can take place. If not, it may lie in wait under the surface, and then spring up out of control to kill and destroy!
Victim-Blame mentality: This is also a very dangerous mindset, as the person will not be able to take responsibility, and will be always blaming you and others for their circumstances. They consider themselves a victim and are unable to rise above it, with blaming, and lists of “if, If, if...” (You need to especially be aware of this if either of you come from an alcoholic home.) Change will only be a temporary remedy, and soon the pattern will come back. You will not be able to seriously develop intimacy or a good relationship with them unless they get help and eliminate this mindset!
Fear of intimacy: If you come from a divorced family, or from being abused, or perhaps, if your parents were sparing with love and affection, or have passed away, you may fear getting close to someone else. You may associate intimacy with loss, trauma, abuse, or lack of affection.
Fear of leaving a relationship: If you do not want to leave because you fear hurting them or yourself, being devastated, or perhaps of guilt, you may stay in a relationship that is not meant to be. Be willing to make hard decisions based on facts, God’s Word, good advice, quality assessments, counseling, time, and communication. Just one area may be enough, or not enough, since each situation is different. Yes, you will hurt. If not, you would not be human. However, it is better to hurt a little that go into a bad relationship that may last for a long time.
Looking for a parent and not a spouse: If you are looking for someone to take care of you, or to fill a need, remember only God can do that. Another person can never fill that hole! You are looking for a partner, not a parent!
Addictions: If you or your potential partner suffers from any type of addiction (sexual, chemical…) they, or you, will not be able to fully invest in this relationship because of the distraction of the addiction. Your investment will be mostly wasted.
Repeating bad patterns: If you, or your potential mate, come from a home of abuse (sexual, drugs, alcohol, physical, emotional or verbal), even if there is physical freedom of it, the emotional scars will remain, and the likelihood or replication is high. Of course, God can heal, but you, too, must be aware of it, and work it out (Phil. 2)! Being from an abusive situation certainly does not disqualify someone, but if the attitude remains, consider this a “red flag.“ The refusal to acknowledge it and seek healing and counseling is extremely detrimental.
Pressure: Too much pressure from family, loneliness, your getting older, looking for a change, sexual desire, church, or friends who are getting married, can cause you to make bad choices or force you into something that is not meant. These can cause you to skip important selection and relational building time. These issues can deceive you to look where you should not, or select who you should not! Ask, “How can I glorify God? What contributes to my spiritual growth, emotional health, and maturity?”
Seeking change: Do not think you can change someone when you get married. It never works!
Seeking Stability: Finding stability, or a certain lifestyle, is not bad in itself, but if that is your prime motivation, it will cloud the relational knowing and building process! You will end up in a very shallow relationship!
Rebellious undertones. Are you choosing someone just to be rebellious? Most people, if not all of us, have a rebellious nature (and we all have that because of our sinful nature) and a desire to get back at someone, such as anger with one’s parents. Make sure you are not using this, or being used, for such a purpose in courting and marriage! Also, do not merely seek someone because they are different (perhaps to tick your parents off) in ways such as race, social status, from a different county, or just new to you, as that will wear off quickly. Differences are OK, as long as there is sufficient compatibility. Do not be so open minded that your brains fall out!
Putting the cart in front of the horse: Are you seeking commitment before you learn that you are compatible? Are you rushing things, tired of the dating games, or seeking change or any reason that will speed up the processes of building a relationship? This is fun to watch in movies such as “Fools Rush In.” However, in real life, it is extremely detrimental, and it rarely, if ever, works out! A good relationship will take a couple of years, at least, before a commitment should be sought!
Blinded by lust and desire! Lust will hide compatibility issues, as it is built on a foundation of quicksand and not the rock of truth!
There is not too much of an age difference. The two of you will have too little in common! Maturity, likes, dislikes, energy, outlook, plans… 10 years should be the limit.
Bad potential in-laws: If you ever seen the TV show “Everybody Loves Raymond,” you will know how toxic some in-laws can be! It is funny on TV, but not in real life! One spouse may take sides, and drag the other into conflict. Boundaries must be established and kept. If not, in-laws with dysfunctional personalities will destroy your relationship. Also, make sure you do not repeat the bad patterns of your parents!
What about long distance relationships? Forget it. You cannot build intimacy long distance, and the relationship will stay superficial. Put it on hold until the two of you can be together. One exception would be if it were for a specific length of time, such as a short mission trip, or a temporary job assignment.
Most of these compatibility flaws can be worked out with a good counselor, or a pastor who is trained and experienced. Rather than impossible barriers, they are red flags warning of potential problems. No person will be perfect, but both of you have to be willing to work things out. Trust, share from the heart, be honest, and seek the truth about yourself and your potential spouse. If you do not, these potential problems will turn into war and cause bitterness and strife that will eventually destroy your relationship. Your only chance for a good relationship is to face facts, work them out, and build on the positive with each other and though prayer. Ignoring these will only allow them to fester in the future. You must be willing to conquer and eliminate them!
Make sure that you are:
Asking Questions! Ask the hard questions to yourself and your potential mate! We often try to avoid these because we are afraid to offend, to lose them, or we are too involved in the romance. Remember, love is blind-false love that is! Your call is to seek knowledge of each other, as this builds a real relationship. You do this by not holding back your natural curiosity. Passion is good as God designed it, but we will misuse it when we allow it to hide the truth and the growth that comes from asking and leaning all we can about each other. Be open and honest with feelings and questions, and do not be afraid to ask and to respond. This is fun, this is building, and this is exciting, as you are getting to know each other! If you do not ask and respond, you will not grow or learn. You will think that you are in a castle in fairyland, soon to wake up and find yourself in the dungeon of despair.
Ask questions such as: Do they have addictions (drugs, alcohol, smoking, food, sex, pornography, etc.), debt and spending problems, anger problems, emotional Instability, control freaks, obsessive/compulsiveness, manipulative, selfish, uncaring, over compromising, or any psychological issues, all the things we listed above. What are their goals, aspirations, desires? What is their relationship with Christ, and where is it going, etc. Do not say you like something when you do not, thinking you will please them. This will, in fact, set you up for disappointment instead!
1. Do you care more about your potential mate than they do about you, or visa versa?
2. Are you in love with what your potential mate can be, or who they are?
3. Do you share common life purposes and goals?
4. Is one of you on a rescue mission to do a “make over” on the other? Are you trying to “fix” them? Do you have more sympathy than love?
5. Are you projecting your desires and needs, or are you being honest on your evaluations?
6. What have you learned from past relationships, and how have you changed?
7. Do you feel safe expressing your feelings and thoughts with this person?
8. What are your weakness and strengths? How do you plan to overcome your weaknesses and grow in your strengths?
9. Are you attracted to just a feature, such as eyes, or a body part? Remember, those things change quickly. Make sure your attraction is based on character, and not lust!
10. Are you being honest about yourself to your potential mate?
11. Remember love is blind! --False love, that is--so make sure you open your eyes with Scripture and good judgment!
12. How do you handle crises and stress?
13. Does your potential mate enjoy giving to others, or is he/she so wrapped up in themselves, and self-absorbed, they do not care?
14. What do you not like about yourself? How would you want to change it?
15. Is your partner a role model, so that you idolize him/her? Is your confidence based on them, and not who you are in Christ? If so, this can be a problem in the future when reality sets in.
16. Do you have compatibility in more that one area? The more areas of likeness, the better the relationship will be. Yes, we need our potential mate to fill in some of our gaps and complement us; however, opposites that attract at first may later on repel intensely!
17. Is your relationship one sided, where one of you is contributing the most, and the other just feeding of it?
18. Does he/she gossip and speak badly about others? If so, they will probably do the same about you and your family.
19. What do you want to change about yourself in the next 5 to 10 years, to grow in maturity and faith?
20. How does he/she treat other people, including strangers, and especially, their family?
21. Are prayer and spiritual growth driving forces in his/her life?
22. Does he/she have gratitude, respect, and appreciation for God and others?
23. Are you hoping to change anything about this person after you are married? If so, remember, you will not be able to!
Here are more helpful things to consider:
Not just infatuation: Do not just be attracted to good looks or a personality. Seek character! The verse, Prov. 31:30, applies to both men and women!
Get good pre-marriage counseling! Do this when you become engaged. Even professional marriage counselors and pastors have to do this!
Seek to bring something into the relationship, not take something out! Seek to nurture and care by “bringing” them, not just trying to “get” them!
Do not be afraid to break it off. Do not be afraid to invest the time or to risk being hurt. But, as you follow the precepts of courting, you will learn much more, and faster, and be able to weed out the riffraff before too much emotional investment is made, thus, your hurt will be a lot less!
Do not choose someone as a reaction to a breakup. Rebound relationships will rarely work out, because all the selection criteria we may normally have will be dumped out the window. Guard against seeking someone just like the person with whom you broke up, as there were reasons for that break up that will be repeated!
Do not look for the opposite of you. Yes, we need to find someone to complement, or complete us. However, we have to have more in common than in difference.
Never consider a serious relationship with a non-Christian! (2 Cor. 6:14) It may work for a while, but when children come into the family, this becomes a major problem. These relationships never work out!
Do not play games with the feelings and emotions of each other, or with truth! Do I really need to explain this? Remember Christian character must be your driving force!
Do not seek the potential mate of someone else. Do not seek someone who is married or in another relationship. You can rationalize it all you want, but no matter how you may look at it, it is wrong. Wait until this person is available, or move on to someone else!
Do not try to court more that one person at a time. Yes, this may seem like fun, to be “a player,” as some would say, but it is very distracting. People want to be treated as special. How can you do that by “playing the field?” In addition, put some time between relationships. Do not feel you have to be in a relationship to be whole!
Do not get married for the wrong reasons! Examples might be pregnancy (25% of marriages are in this category!! They rarely work out!), rebounding, guilt, pity, escape, social pressure…and so on.
Bad personality flaws! Besides what we have already discussed, control oriented people can devastate a marriage or create a codependency atmosphere. People who are prideful, judgmental, arrogant, condescending, always having to have their own way and be in control will not build a healthy relationship of intimacy!
Financial irresponsibility: Most marriage conflicts center on money, not the lack of it, but how it is handled! Make sure you both have a budget and can stick to it. If not, you will be doomed! There are too many good resources out there, especially from ‘Crown Financial’ www.crown.org, to experience a problem in this area!
Differing backgrounds: If the two of you come from different social and economic backgrounds, you must be willing to understand each other, listen, and compromise. This is also true if you have different educational backgrounds. The higher educated one will tend to be controlling and condescending. You must be willing to stop, and recognize the worth and value of each other.
Sexual performance problems or barrenness: A good marriage can be built when a man cannot perform or the women cannot give birth. However, these can be mountainous obstacles to overcome. Think it through--not how you feel and are now, but how you may feel in five or ten years!
So have you recovered and have learned from your past relationships! If you have not learned and grown, you will repeat and make the same mistakes all over again!
So what do I need to be doing?
In your search for the love of your life, you need to have the right mindset in the Biblical precepts of which we have been talking. We must be in tune with God’s call and Will, and not just with our desires and needs. That does not mean we completely throw out what we want, but making sure that what we want complies with God’s standards, which is best for us!
· Look for good character traits and not just good personality. Personality is important, but character is essential!
· Make sure you both are committed to personal and spiritual growth! You are committed to learn and better yourself by leaning on the Word and growing in the faith. You are a teachable person, willing to receive correction and to listen, even if it hurts your perceptions and pride!
· Be sure you both have a positive outlook on life and God is working in you!
· Be aware of each other’s character flaws, past failures, and past emotional baggage, and be willing and able to fix them!
· Be willing to be open and honest, and willing to express feelings about each other, your desires, aspirations, and plans for yourself and for your partner. This will build communication and trust! If you cannot express yourself, then get help. Otherwise, it will only escalate from bad to worse. You cannot gain anything by lying or playing games!
· Make sure your self-esteem is based on who you are in Christ and nowhere else such as job, money, appearance, friends, power, or position!
· Make sure you understand the thought processes of each other as a male and as a female and the differences between the sexes.
· Make sure you both are responsible and mature enough to be in a long- term relationship leading into marriage. Do you keep promises and respect one another, are you willing to share possessions and resources and allow for boundaries? Are the Fruits of the Spirit exhibited in the two of you? Can you live on your own and manage a household on your own? Can you budget, manage money, and support yourself? Do not expect the other to be the adult!
· Know where the areas of sensitivity are for each other with regard to feelings and “buttons.”
· Know the concept and practice of time for each other. Are you always on time, or always late? Be respectful and plan accordingly for the flaws in each other in this area, and be willing to grow to understand and respect each other.
· Know the areas of being irresponsible in each other, such as with finances, health, returning phone calls, or not feeding the cat. Then, be willing to grow by becoming more responsible.
· Be understanding and aware of spiritual warfare. Satan desires you to fail, so protect yourself in prayer and accountability.
It is my sincere prayer that you are in a solid, growing, Christ-centered relationship! Too many Christians have given up on godly values and caved in to desperation and desire when it comes to dating. They just want someone. Because of this, they do not seem to care who they get, as long as it is a warm body. I have seen this cycle over and over for years and years, and people just do not seem to learn, or else just do not want to get it. Then they end up in dysfunctional relationships and pass those dysfunctions on to their children, and the cycle goes on and on! Marriages could be so much more wonderful, so romantic and solid, if only God’s values and precepts were brought into it. Do not let yourself become a statistic, imprisoned in a world of stifle and chaos, when God has such a better plan for you.
Seek Him, and He will provide. Seek yourself, and you will be sad and lonely in so many ways!
Richard Joseph Krejcir is the Director of ‘Into Thy Word Ministries, ’a discipling ministry. He is the author of the book, Into Thy Word and is also a pastor, teacher, speaker and a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena California. He has amounted over 20 years of pastoral ministry experience, mostly in youth ministry, including serving as a church growth consultant. email@example.com
© 1988, 1998, 2002 R. J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com
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