Courtesy of New Life Ministries
Mistake 1: We misinterpret the attentions of the opposite sex.
As an outgrowth of the frustration and desperation sometimes experienced when we want to be married, many singles overreact to any attention from someone of the opposite sex, especially if that someone is attractive to them. If a man looks at us twice, we women can read all kinds of things into it. If a woman happens to sit by a man at a social function, he thinks she’s sending him come-ons.
This misinterpretation of attentions is one of the major reasons it’s difficult for a single man and woman to have a platonic relationship. Both are on their guard, worried about signals, instead of allowing that two people can actually have a friendly conversation and enjoy each other’s company without a romantic attraction.
I also observe too often that many singles – yes, Christian singles – enjoy sending signals and then disowning them. After all, it’s an ego trip to think that one or two people are “on your string,” hoping you’ll come their way sooner or later, even if you’re not attracted to them. They disguise their maneuvers (perhaps even to themselves) by telling everyone, “We’re just friends.” They even say that to the other person right up front, laying the groundwork for a quick exit when necessary, and then proceed to give attentions and signals that are truly misleading. Anyone would misinterpret them. And they break not a few hearts in the process of feeding their egos.
Mistake 2: We put up with too much in a relationship and hang on too long.
Do yourself a favor: Admit you have an emotional dependency you’re calling “love” – or even admit that you really love the person if you think you do – but acknowledge that it’s a wrong relationship and get out.
How do you get out? By taking drastic steps. Jesus said, If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell (Matthew 5:29-30).
If you’re in a relationship and you’re being treated with disrespect, thoughtlessness, or unkindness, that’s a good sign you’ve hung on too long and put up with too much. If you’re hoping he or she will change, you don’t know too much about human nature. The one thing that might make a person like this change is having to live with the consequences of his or her behavior – namely, losing the relationship. As long as he or she can get by with treating you shabbily, there’s not likely to be much change in behavior.
If you’re not happy with the treatment you’re receiving from a person before you marry, you can be sure the treatment you would get after marriage would be much more of the same and worse.
Mistake 3: We’re not always very good at reading danger signals in a relationship.
I often see single people in relationships that have poor choice written all over them, but somehow they never seem to see the danger signals. The truth is, most of the time they just don’t want to see them.
Remember that when our emotions get involved in a situation, it’s very easy to lose perspective. Someone once told me, “Emotions and feelings have zero IQ,” and I think that’s a good thing to remember. You cannot trust your emotions. Those juices get flowing, those romantic notions start whirling around in your head, and you can lose perspective in an instant.
Let’s list a few of the danger signals:
Significant age difference. This will vary depending on individuals and depending on the ages involved. I’m not saying that age difference is always a problem, but it certainly is one thing you should consider carefully.
Different family upbringing. It’s a fact that no two families are alike, but look at the basics: Were both families Christian? What values were taught by the families? What kind of relationships exist among the family members? Some families are very close and some are not.
Priority of spiritual life. If one person in the relationship puts a higher priority on spiritual life than the other, it’s a real danger signal and should not be ignored. Usually when you are involved with someone whose spiritual temperature is below your own, you don’t bring them up to your level, you go down to theirs. I’ve seen it time and again.
Mistake 4: We get physically involved much too soon and go too far.
Here again we Christians have allowed the world system and philosophy to infiltrate our thinking about the physical aspects of a relationship. Romans 12:1-2 says we are not to be conformed to this world, but transformed by a renewed mind. The Phillips translation says, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold.” When we become casual about having sex before marriage, we’ve been shoved into the world’s mold.
If you truly want to remain pure in your sexual life and keep yourself for the one person God has for you, or keep yourself for Christ if you remain single, you most certainly can do that. There is nothing impossible about it.
However, in order to do that, you will need a discipline that I don’t see in many singles, a discipline to go the extra mile in keeping the physical contact down to a minimum. You simply cannot trust the chemistry of your body. It is very powerful, and once it gets going, finding the discipline to keep it under control is extremely difficult. So the secret is to keep the electricity down to low levels by controlling the physical contact.
Mistake 5: We think that the only necessary requirement for a date or mate is that he or she is a Christian.
I don’t believe that there is only one person in this whole world whom God intends for us to marry, and if we miss that person, we’ve missed our perfect mate. (Of course, I don’t believe that it’s necessarily true that each of us is intended by God to be married. But that’s another subject!) I think it’s possible to find more than one person with whom you can be compatible and have a good lifelong relationship.
It’s very smart to put yourself though intensive soul-searching when you consider marrying someone. Keeping in mind that your emotions are involved and therefore your perspective may be off center, ask for advice from trusted people. Get them to play devil’s advocate and throw every question they can at you. Take every compatibility test you can find. Do all you can do to know what you’re getting into before you jump. You’ll never be totally prepared for marriage, but it’s a good idea to try to find out before you walk down the aisle whether this match is likely to work well.
Mistake 6: We carry our list of requirements for a relationship with us and judge others too quickly and selfishly.
I used to have a list of the things I wanted in a man. The list was divided into “Essential” and “Nonessential.” Now, that’s not an altogether bad idea.
My “Essential” list now has one thing on it: “Must be someone who would enhance my walk with God and allow us to have a more effective ministry together than we have separately.”
Isn’t it great that our God is big enough to deal with all our differences and idiosyncrasies? He isn’t looking for cookie-cutter Christians, all of us looking and acting just alike in every way. We certainly all have the same biblical principles to apply to our lives, but within those principles, there’s much room for individuality and personality. Amen to that!
Many singles, however, seem to have a long list of requirements for their potential date or mate, and they’ve gotten a bit carried away with it, probably as a reaction to the many failed marriages around us. It’s as though they’re checking you out, making sure you meet their needs. They approach this area of their lives as they might approach buying a car: What features do you have and what are the benefits of those features to me?
Having certain important guidelines in mind as we meet and date people is helpful in keeping us from making totally emotional decisions. But checking people out for selfish reasons is going too far.
Mistake 7: We think that anything is better than being alone.
While it’s true that we have basic needs for companionship, it’s not true that aloneness is the worst condition in the whole world. Note that I said aloneness, not loneliness. There’s a big difference, you know.
Most people fear aloneness because to them it represents loneliness. They haven’t learned to fill their time so that aloneness is valuable and refreshing for them. I have learned to love my aloneness, but it has not always been that way. It has come as I’ve learned to enjoy the presence of God and stopped equating aloneness with loneliness.
Loneliness is a feeling, an attitude. We don’t get through this life without experiencing it to some degree. But to settle for anything as a substitute for loneliness is a big mistake. There are worse things than loneliness, and by God’s grace we do not have to be overcome and defeated by loneliness. He can take our aloneness and turn it into beautiful, fruitful, productive time with Him.
Recognize that being alone doesn’t mean you’re a social misfit. Don’t buy into the lies of our enemy, who wants you to feel desperate. When we feel desperate, we act in irrational and unprincipled ways. When we feel an overpowering need to have someone near, we’ll settle for anything.
Also recognize your need for social interaction and plan good things. But you don’t have to have a date to have company; reach out to others and share your time. Not with the idea that it’s second best – you’d rather have a date but since you can’t you’ll be with friends – enjoy those people for who they are, and you’ll discover that the loneliness goes away.
New Life Ministries
1. Get a life. The most important thing is to be Ms. Right yourself. Finding the right man is not going to change you into a better person than you already are. If you are lazy and self-centered, finding a generous hard working fellow is not going to transform you. If you are boring and a one-dimensional person, finding an intellectually challenging man is not going to change who you are. Learn how to be interesting, kind, caring, and unselfish. Model yourself after women you admire. Work hard at changing your character defects. (If you are not sure what they are, ask your mother!) Become more well rounded. Complete your education. Get a hobby. Volunteer and expose yourself to people who are less-fortunate than you are. Travel abroad and see how fortunate we are in the USA. Learn some humility by volunteering to serve others. Take a listening class. Get some counseling if you need to learn to be assertive or how to share your feelings. If you have some childhood traumas deal with them now, with someone who can give you professional help. Learn to be happy with yourself, first. No man, no matter how right is going to make you happy. You will only be happy in your new relationship if you are happy inside first.
2. Evaluate your physical attractiveness. Not everyone is Ms. America. Nobody looks like the models in magazines. We each have something going for us though. Find out what your best feature is and accentuate it. Wear clothes that flatter your figure. Do not try to be a size 6 if you are really a size 12. Accept yourself for who you are, but don’t use that as an excuse to let yourself go either. Some men like a woman with a little meat on her bones, but no one wants a slob. Big can be beautiful if you manage things correctly. If you are overweight, consult your doctor and find out what is healthy for a woman your size. Rather than living up to some super-model or stereotype of femininity you should aim to be all you can. Men want to be proud of their wife’s appearance, not embarrassed. Work with what you have: get a makeover; ask a personal shopper at the department store to help you revamp your look. You don’t need to spend a fortune, simply plan wisely with a few sharp pieces. Small changes can make a world of difference in your looks as well as your outlook.
3. Know what you are looking for in a man. Here are some qualities to look for in a healthy relationship: common values and similar culture, ability to forgive and be forgiven, ability to be challenged and confronted without defensiveness, desire to raise children, common goals. Ask yourself, Why do I want this relationship? To lose myself? To find myself?· To make up for what I lost in childhood? To keep me so excited I can’t be depressed? To boost my sagging self-esteem? To be a temporary fix until I decide I want something better? For security or someone to take care of me? To be in control? To show off to my friends that I can get a man? To get my parents off my back? To run away from my responsibilities? To find someone to support my children?
Ask yourself where you want to be in twenty-five years. What type of person do you want to become? How will your choices now influence that outcome? Try to think beyond your nose for a few minutes. Look down the road. Be honest. What does your heart desire? Just a paycheck, children, a companion? What you choose today will have an impact on what you get later. Choose wisely. What looks good now may cause heartache later. What you do now does matter.
4. Rise above past mistakes. You are not doomed to an endless series of losers. You are half-way to Mr. RIGHT by seeing what you have done wrong in the past. You cannot correct something you did not realize was stupid. Congratulations! You are starting to develop humility, which is a good trait. Just don’t let it turn into self-pity and low self-esteem. We all fail and make mistakes. We all have things we remember with regret. Unlike us, God is very forgiving when we repent, turn around and are willing to let Him change us. We are forgiven in Jesus. He died for us while we were still sinners, not after we got our acts together. No one is beyond the pale. God loves all of us, even when we do not love ourselves. Forgive yourself. Let God forgive you in Christ Jesus. Open your heart to grace and freedom from shame. You are loved. You can be forgiven. Our heavenly father opens his arms wide to welcome us back when we make mistakes. We can change and grow and become new creations. We do not have to be doomed to failure over and over. Talk to your pastor, or call for Christian counseling at 1-800 NEW LIFE. There are many resources available to help you turn your life around. Do not give up.
5. Talk to your family and friends about the kind of man you want. Who better knows you and the things you need? Ask them for tips on the type of guy they think you need, and don’t be insulted when they tell you the truth. They probably know you better than you know yourself. Their feedback could be invaluable.
6. Be open to matchmaker services and the Internet. Is it safe to look there for someone? It depends. Personal ads have been around for years, and the Internet Web pages are just an extension of them. It used to be that only the “desperate and dateless” used personal ads, but now it is commonplace for almost anyone to take advantage of Web pages for matchmaking. You will find categories and types of listings you never thought existed. It seems that everyone is online now, and access can be overwhelming. Some couples have been successful in establishing satisfying relationships with the Web. Others have run into problems all the way from being deceived, to being murdered. Millions of people are online every day and you must be aware that like anywhere else, you will meet all types. Using common sense, and seeking reputable services with good references are the basics when going online. Certainly, never agree to meet someone without proper precautions such as meeting in a public place, and having a friend with you or nearby or who knows where you are going and with whom.
7. Consider blind dates. Why not? Just use the same common sense you would use in dating anyone for the first time. Or ask your friends to invite you and the person they want you to meet to their home for dinner or to a party first. Get to know each other in a group setting, and let nature take its course. Go to public places. Go to coffee after church. Make it light. A blind date is just a beginning. It does not have to be dinner and roses.
8. Look in places where you would expect to find someone with the qualities you value. If you want someone who cares, look at the local soup kitchen and see who is volunteering on Saturday afternoons. If you want someone who is good with kids, look for a coach or a teacher or a mentor. If you want a generous guy, ask yourself: Who in your crowd has a generous spirit? Who shares his Pepsi with you without your asking? Who gives you the seat on the bus? Who goes out of his way for his grandmother or aunt? Who sacrifices his day off to work for Habitat for Humanity? Who works Sundays at the homeless shelter? Who volunteers at the Children’s Hospital as a clown? Who shares freely about himself and his needs, ideas, hopes and dreams? Who doesn’t care if his generosity is noticed or even appreciated? This is the type of man to look for.
If you want a man of faith you will be more apt to find him in church than in a bar.
If you want a man with purpose and direction in life realize he is not the type of fellow who answers “I dunno” when you ask what he wants to major in. He is not the guy on the street corner who says “Hey, I just wanna party. I don’t care about school.” This guy has his head on straight and knows where he is going and how to get there. He may be poor, or come from a broken home, but he is determined to rise above difficult circumstances. He wants to go somewhere in life. He believes he has a future beyond age 20 and doesn’t want to jeopardize his future. He has a dream beyond living at home with his parents or next week’s big party. He wants something more than being “baaad” right now. If your fellow’s highest aspiration is getting high on ice, you better look elsewhere.
If he is the guy at the office who lets everyone else do the work, and he takes the credit, watch out. Is he learning more and more in his trade? Becoming more highly skilled? Teaching others? Where is he going?
If you are looking for a man with a sense of humor, keep in mind that just because a guy has purpose and diligence in his character doesn’t mean he cannot laugh and have fun. The ability to laugh at oneself and with others (not AT others) is crucial for a good mental outlook. If a person always takes himself too seriously, he will be difficult to live with. Someone who can laugh or chuckle at the antics of a child, who can play with a dog, giggle when ice cream falls in his lap is a guy worth giving a second look. He is obviously not one-dimensional, that is, he is not all work and no play. He can relax and participate with others in activities that delight and refresh the soul. He appreciates beauty and quiet, as well as screaming on the roller coaster at the theme park. He can take a joke as well as tell one. His humor is never at someone else’s expense, but he can be clever and witty. Is your Mr. Right someone who seems to be able to have fun without drugs or alcohol to loosen him up? Can he relax socially and can talk to almost anyone? Although he has a gentle manner and is he able to be silly when it is appropriate?
If you are hanging with a bunch of complainers who only know how to gripe, maybe it is time to find some new friends.
9. Expect a human being, not someone perfect. No one is going to be everything you have ever dreamed of. Give the guy a break. You already know that you are not Ms. Perfect. He will make mistakes too. Relax a little and don’t be too picky. Allow for human frailty. Look beyond physical attractiveness. You don’t want a slob any more than he does, but he doesn’t have to be Mr. Hunk either.
10. Be patient. Rome was not built in a day. It may take some time to discover what appeals to you and why. You may make a few friends, and even break a heart or two. You may get hurt. Keep at it. There are good men out there. You simply need to know where to look.
New Life Ministries
A healthy heart can enter into healthy relationships. Healthy relationships are central to recovery for romance, relationship, and sex addicts. Recovery without healthy relationships only perpetuates the sinful self-obsession that led to addiction in the first place. In recovery we must learn to shift our focus, thus becoming free to share intimacy with others.
A healthy heart involved in healthy relationships is the precise opposite of addiction. Addiction maintains a secret life marked by fear and control. Genuine love, on the other hand, is marked by openness, trust, and the freedom to give oneself to another. Addictive behavior is a deceptive substitute whose effects last but a moment.
There are many contrasts between healthy and unhealthy relationships. Taken together they chart a continuum between the secular model and the biblical model. Understanding these contrasts can help us understand how healthy relationships work – and how we can grow toward them as part of the recovery process.
1. Reality vs. Fantasy. Healthy relationships are based in reality. Each person is aware of his own strengths and weaknesses. There is no need to hide or to try to fool the other. Each person is also aware of the other’s strengths and weaknesses. There is no need to pretend that problems don’t exist or to tiptoe around “unmentionable” areas. If the partner is weak in some area, he or she accepts it and helps accommodate or strengthen it.
Unhealthy relationships, by contrast, are based on fantasy. What could be or should be replaces what is. The elements of unreality become the focus. The relationship is built on a foundation that isn’t really there.
2. Completing vs. Finding Completion. In a healthy relationship, each person finds joy in sharing in the other person’s growth, in playing a role in “completing” the other.
In an unhealthy relationship the focus is on completing oneself. This selfish dynamic is at the heart of codependency. Too many people fling half a person into a relationship, expecting that it will be completed by the other. It never works. No one can ever meet such expectations. It is only a matter of time until substitutes are sought – either in the form of other relationships or in the form of dysfunctional and addictive behaviors.
3. Friendship vs. Victimization. A healthy relationship can be described as two good friends becoming better friends. The strongest and most successful relationships – even the most passionate and romantic marriages – have this kind of true friendship at the base. Where this base of true friendship is absent, the relationship is shallow and susceptible to being marked by victimization.
4. Sacrifice vs. Demand for Sacrifice. Few of the magazines that clutter the checkout counters of grocery stores publish articles extolling the joys of sacrifice. But no relationship can grow without it. Unfortunately, most of us are more accustomed to demanding sacrifice from our partner than to sacrificing our selves.
It’s one thing to love another when the going is easy. But character and depth are wrought in a relationship when love requires the surrender of preference and privilege. Nothing strengthens a relationship like sacrifice. Indeed, it often seems that the greater the sacrifice, the more thorough the death to self, the greater the potential for the relationship.
Our relationship with God requires sacrifice. His relationship with us required nothing less than the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ. Building a relationship – or restoring one that has been ravaged by the effects of addiction – depends on the willingness of both parties to sacrifice for each other, without demanding anything in return.
5. Forgiveness vs. Resentment. Forgiveness is a miraculous gift between two people. A relationship flourishes when we are willing to forgive past hurts and disappointments. Refusing to forgive is like carrying around a garbage bag full of hurts of the past. Every time someone makes a mistake, we toss it into the bag and carry it with us forever.
There are no garbage bags in healthy relationships. Out of love, the partners take the hurt and disappointment of the past and burn it up in the flames of forgiveness. What greater gift can we give someone than to set them free from the weight of their mistakes? When we unlock others from a past they cannot correct, we free them to become all they can become, and we free our relationships to become all they can becomes as well.
6. Security vs. Fear. Security is a rare commodity in our world. Often people come from such insecure childhoods they can only hope that their adult life will include a relationship that allows them to rest in the arms of someone who really cares. So much of life is lived on the edge of risk, we feel an overwhelming need for at least one relationship to make us feel safe.
The Bible says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18). When we shift from trying to use others to satisfy our security needs to trying to meet the security needs of others, we find ourselves in a new dimension. We are focusing on their needs, not ours. We are filling their doubts and fears with the reassurance of our consistent behavior. We calm their fears by being reliable. We become, in a word, loving: other-focused and totally selfless. That is the kind of love that drives out fear and provides genuine security.
7. Vulnerability vs. Defensiveness. In a secure environment, a person is free to open up and be vulnerable. It is wonderful to be vulnerable, to do an emotional free fall and have someone there to catch you. That delightful taste of vulnerability enables you to open up even more, discover more about who you are, appreciate all the good that God has created in you.
In a relationship characterized by fear, just the opposite happens. There is a need to build up a wall of defensiveness. If you do not protect yourself, after all, you will be violated, robbed of your identity, controlled, or smothered. The dynamics of defensiveness lead to death rather than to life and growth.
8. Honesty vs. Deception. There is no way to build a lasting, healthy relationship on a foundation of dishonesty. Honesty must be at the core of a relationship; there is no substitute for it. It is fashionable in our day to paper over unpleasant truth. We deceive those we love, rationalizing that keeping secrets is really for their good.
Virtually all addictions are maintained under the cover of some sort of deception, which eventually is woven into a vast tapestry of lies and cover-ups. Dishonesty is a very hard habit to break. One of the main functions of a recovery support group is the accountability it provides, holding the recovering addict to rigorous truthfulness. Without accountability, trust and the restoration of intimacy in relationships is impossible.
What to look for as you contemplate marriage…
I am often asked, “What should a single person look for in a potential spouse?” Singles want to know…and parents want to know so they can pass the information on to the children. So I finally came up with the following list:
A woman should seek a man who…
- Fears God. Some of the ways you can tell if a young man fears God is by his language and how he treats other people. Does he treat them with respect? If not, why not? We as human beings are made in the image of God, and respecting people ultimately shows a heart that reverences the One whom we reflect.
- Is not afraid to love. That may sound like a no-brainer, but a lot of young men today are afraid of commitment, and the young lady ends up chasing the young man. What we need today are more young men who are not afraid of being real, authentic, and committed to a young lady in a relationship. We need men who are not afraid to love.
- Can admit his faults, his mistakes, and when he’s hurt you. Ruth Bell Graham made the statement, “A good marriage is the union of two forgivers.” The reason is because you’re going to hurt one another over and over again during your lifetime together. If you don’t know how to ask for forgiveness and give forgiveness, you’re never going to have a great marriage. The growth of your marriage will be stunted early on.
- Can control his passions. We live in an age that has been invaded by pornography. The world sends a message that you can have it all and can satisfy yourself. I would want my daughters to date a young man who is fully in charge of his passion and can control his desire for the opposite sex.
- Honors his parents. In the Ten Commandments, God tells us to honor our parents that our lives may be long and it may be well with us. Wouldn’t you want to select a man whose life has a sense of well being in God’s favor? I have heard it said that if you want to see how a young man will treat you, see how he treats his mother. I’d take that a step further—how does he honor both his mother and his father? Does he speak well of them or is he angry with them? Does he refuse to speak about them at all? What’s going on between a young man and his parents is very important.
- Is in the process of becoming a leader who knows how to serve. Being the head of a home and having so much authority and responsibility demands a servant spirit and self-denial. If a young man doesn’t know how to deny himself on behalf of another person, giving up his personal rights, goals, and dreams, I would question whether he would know how to create a family over a lifetime.
A man should seek a woman who…
- Fears God and whose hope is in the Lord God. Her life is going to be a reflection of where her hope is. If a young lady’s hope is in any place other than the Lord, the young who marries her is going to spend the rest of his life trying to help his wife catch a butterfly. It isn’t going to happen.
- Honors her parents. There is so much baggage today being brought into marriages based upon dysfunctional relationships with Mom and Dad. And even though this impacts both the husband and the wife, it’s been my experience that women tend to be impacted more negatively by this than young men. Women tend to be more nurturing and they are impacted deeply by hurting relationships. If she has a hard time honoring her parents, she will have a hard time honoring you. Find someone who has or is working to have a healthy relationship with her parents.
- Knows how to ask for forgiveness, admit she’s wrong, grant forgiveness, and give grace when you fail her. This isn’t just a one-way street. Both of you are going to need to do that.
- Wants to be a wife and a mother. There are some young ladies who want to be married, but don’t really want to be a wife and a mother. They want to be married, but they want their career to be their number-one pursuit. I believe the scriptures teach that a wife’s number-one pursuit should be ministering to her husband and family. That means if you choose to have children, your priorities and values have already been determined.
- Displays character in her modest dress. A young man’s character is displayed in his choices around life—around the use of money and relationships. But a woman’s character is displayed in how she handles the power of her femininity and sexuality. In other words—how modest is she? That’s becoming a weird word in our culture, but I would challenge young men to keep their eyes out for young women whose character is displayed in not only on the inside, but the outside as well.
- Knows how to follow a man. That doesn’t mean perfection, but it does mean that she understands that she’s the vice president, not the president. Women are joint heirs of the grace of God, but someone has to make the final decision when you both disagree. When one person votes one way, and the other person votes another, I believe it’s the responsibility of the husband to listen carefully and wisely consider the counsel of his wife. It’s upon him and to the Lordship of Jesus Christ as being led in the power of the Holy Spirit to make that decision, and then it’s upon the wife to be able to follow under the same influence. That’s not an easy thing in this culture.
One of the most important principles for resolving conflicts or differences in relationships is overlooking an offense.
by Dave Boehi
There’s one thing I don’t like much about fall, though, and that is Halloween. Oh, I used to love trick-or-treating as a kid, and I enjoyed taking my daughters through the neighborhood when they were little. But now I’m just tired of it.
I’m tired of people dressing up as zombies and serial killers. I’m tired of the annual celebration of blood and gore—the new horror movies and the nonstop television listings of film series like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street and Saw and Jeepers Creepers and Final Destination. Every year I’m glad Halloween is over.
So here’s the deal I make each year with the calendar: I will choose to overlook Halloween as long as I can enjoy the fall.
If you think about it, you make choices like that regularly. You choose to overlook a flaw, or an offense, because something else is more important.
You choose to overlook—to look past—a candidate’s faults in an election because you believe in everything else he or she stands for.
You overlook a football coach’s mistakes as long as he wins games.
You overlook your dog’s disobedience and chewing holes in the furniture and jumping up on guests and the fact that he’s still not house-trained after a year because … well, I’m still trying to figure that one out …
In relationships, one of the most important principles for resolving conflicts or differences is overlooking an offense. The more you get to know someone, the more you understand his or her strengths and weaknesses. If this is an important, long-term relationship, you choose what you will overlook so that you can keep the relationship strong.
In the months after Merry and I were married, I slowly began to realize that my new spouse was … how do I say this … slightly less than perfect. We had little arguments about keeping up our home. Sometimes she said things that made me angry. I discovered she could be selfish and unreasonable.
Some of our conflicts took some time and effort to resolve. But I also learned—slowly, I admit—to ignore or pass over some perceived offenses. This is the principle described in Proverbs 19:11: “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”
I recently completed the Peacemaker Ministries course, “Resolving Everyday Conflict,” and this principle of overlooking an offense was one of the first points that was taught. We were challenged to ask, “Is this worth fighting over?” Quoting from the participant guide, overlooking an offense is appropriate when:
- The offense has not “created a wall between you and the other person or caused you to feel differently toward him or her for more than a short period of time.”
- The offense is not causing “serious harm” to God’s reputation, to others, or to the offender.
- The offense “is not part of a destructive pattern.”
It’s not necessary to overlook all offenses. Instead, “ask God to help you discern and overlook minor wrongs.”
In other words, choose your battles wisely. If you want to build a marriage that will last a lifetime, you’ll find that many offenses are not worth fighting over.
I can’t imagine a Christian man trying to blackmail you into having sex. I would seriously consider whether this guy has your best interest at heart. Is pre marital sex wrong according to the Bible? According to 1 Corinthians 7:2, “yes” is the clear answer: “But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.” In this verse, Paul states that marriage is the “cure” for sexual immorality. First Corinthians 7:2 is essentially saying that, because people cannot control themselves and so many are having immoral sex outside of marriage, people should get married. Then they can fulfill their passions in a moral way.
Since 1 Corinthians 7:2 clearly includes sex before marriage in the definition of sexual immorality, all of the Bible verses that condemn sexual immorality as being sinful also condemn sex before marriage as sinful. Sex before marriage is included in the biblical definition of sexual immorality. There are numerous Scriptures that declare sex before marriage to be a sin (Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7). The Bible promotes complete abstinence before marriage. Sex between a husband and his wife is the only form of sexual relations of which God approves (Hebrews 13:4).
Far too often we focus on the “recreation” aspect of sex without recognizing that there is another aspect—procreation. Sex within marriage is pleasurable, and God designed it that way. God wants men and women to enjoy sexual activity within the confines of marriage. Song of Solomon and several other Bible passages (such as Proverbs 5:19) clearly describe the pleasure of sex. However, the couple must understand that God’s intent for sex includes producing children. Thus, for a couple to engage in sex before marriage is doubly wrong—they are enjoying pleasures not intended for them, and they are taking a chance of creating a human life outside of the family structure God intended for every child.
While practicality does not determine right from wrong, if the Bible’s message on sex before marriage were obeyed, there would be far fewer sexually transmitted diseases, far fewer abortions, far fewer unwed mothers and unwanted pregnancies, and far fewer children growing up without both parents in their lives. Abstinence is God’s only policy when it comes to sex before marriage. Abstinence saves lives, protects babies, gives sexual relations the proper value, and, most importantly, honors God.
By trying to pressure you into having sex with him, this young man is cheapening your “love”. If He truly loved you he would ask for your hand in marriage and would insist that you both wait until your wedding night. I would seriously consider throwing this guy back and looking for a mighty man of God as a new boyfriend. There are a lot of fish in the sea. God bless you sister!!! <3
When we think of sexual purity, our culture brings to mind a maiden, sitting in the forest, with a unicorn’s head in her lap. Others think of a bride presenting herself for the first time to her groom on their wedding night. But keeping sex for marriage is both more and less sacred. Virginity is not something to be worshiped. It’s not about cultural shame. It’s about the way God designed us and the really hard battle of following Him.
There are three serious reasons to save sex for marriage. First, because as believers, we are to obey what God tells us to do. 1 Corinthians 6: 18-20 states, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” If we are in Christ, we have allowed Him to purchase us with the sacrifice of His blood. In exchange for eternal life, we are to trust that He knows what is best for us, and obey Him.
The second reason is similar. Like any sin, avoiding sexual immorality is a contest of our new nature in Christ and our fleshly desires. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 says, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” Allowing your body to control your actions is an act of defiance against God. Godly sex is giving. Using someone else to fulfill a desire of the flesh is selfish and abusive. Even if the partner is willing, you are still helping them to sin and negatively altering their relationship with God and others.
The final reason is somewhat more practical. Paul talked of the “mystery” of marriage (Ephesians 5:31). When God spoke of two people being joined as one, He was referring to something we’re only beginning to understand in a real, physiological way. When two people are intimate, the hypothalamus releases chemicals that induce feelings of attachment and trust. Having sex outside of marriage means allowing your body to attach to and trust someone who you do not have a committed relationship with. The definition of trust in the mind deteriorates. To have that kind of link with someone without the security of being in the state of working together toward God is dangerous. Two individuals who are—even mildly—physiologically obsessed with each other but not committed to growing in God as a couple can be torn apart from God and His plans for them.
Conversely, if two people make a conscious, deliberate choice to commit, and then allow the intimacy that releases these chemicals, the body can reaffirm the connection the mind has made. The physiological feelings of trust and attachment are reinforced by the reality of the relationship. In this way, two people become one in a physical way that reflects what God has done spiritually.
The purpose of marriage is to reflect the relationship between the church and Christ and to serve God as a strong, unified partnership. Sex, along with procreation, was designed by God to strengthen that partnership. Sex outside of marriage creates bonds that tear apart people’s hearts instead of joining them together. God can redeem anyone, and He can heal someone who has indulged their flesh instead of controlling their desires. But God designed couples to be joined—spiritually, physically, and physiologically—from a state of purity. God bless you!!! :):)
By Jennifer E. Jones
CBN.com – “I really want to get married.” The words aren’t uttered loudly in many church circles. They are hushed and spoken only between close friends.
The stigmatism that faces single Christian women from both peers and from within is painful. However, author and co-founder of Boundless Candice Watters has the remedy. In her new book, Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help It Happen, she explores the steps a woman can take to inch closer towards the aisle.
Why are Christian women today ashamed to admit that they want to get married?
It’s a combination of things. For me, a lot of it stemmed from embarrassment that it hadn’t happened. I was wondering if there was something wrong with me, because I hadn’t had any dates to speak of. I had enough friends getting married that I thought, ‘It’s happening to everyone else but me.’
For other women, it may be a bit of that feminist mindset that you’re not supposed to want that. It’s supposed to be just one of many goals that you can get if you want. [Those women] tend to speak more of things that they have in their control, which is their job or their homes or things that they can acquire all by themselves. Marriage is one of those rare things that really does take two people. It’s not something you can make happen all alone.
We all know so many single Christian women. Where are the men?
There’s this idea that the women outnumber the men. Ironically, according to the Census Bureau, there are more Christian single men who are marriage-minded than there are Christian single women. The challenge is how to find them. A study by the Barna Group shows that they’re not in the pews. They’re not in churches the way Christian single women are.
You mention that the church plays a role in being a woman’s network to find all these Christian men. How so? What is the church doing right or wrong?
What would help is if the church and the pastors would speak a unique message to never-married singles to say, “Most of you biblically really are called to marriage. We have a role as a body of believers to come around you and help you get there.”
One of the main ways the church can help do that is to hold the single men accountable, to not allow them to be perpetually dating, going through everyone in the singles group and never making a commitment.
There really does need to be a mentoring going on with the older married men saying to the younger men, “Unless you have a God-given calling to lifelong celibacy (which includes not dating), you have an obligation to start looking for a wife. We want to help you become the kind of man who can be a good husband.”
What kind of traits should women be looking for in a husband?
- Would he be a good provider? Does he have the capability, especially if I was going to stay home to raise the kids? Is he the kind of guy who can hold down a job?
- Is he committed in church? Is he a member? Is he actively involved? Does he spend time daily in the Word, growing in his faith?
- Is he a loyal friend?
- Is he faithful with his finances? Does he pay his bills on time? Does he carry a lot of credit card debt?
These are very practical questions you can ask of someone fairly early on in a relationship in a non-threatening way and really get a picture of his character.
Why should singles avoid looking for a soul mate?
The biggest danger of “soul mate-ism” is the idea that: “There’s one person out there for me, and if I can find this one person, then I’m guaranteed a happy marriage.” Marriage is hard. Scripture is very clear.
It isn’t wrong to marry, even if you have never been married before. But those who marry will have a lot of trouble, and I want to protect you from that. - 1 Corinthians 7:28 (CEV)
Everyone in marriage will experience difficulty, because you’re uniting two sinners. We’re redeemed, but we still sin.
Far better to go into it thinking, ‘I have found the best possible mate that I can find given where I live, who I know and what I bring to the relationship. We’re both going into this knowing that we’re committed for life, that we’re both fallen and redeemed, and that at the foot at the Cross, we can make this work.’
So lastly, what encouragement do you have for women who have never been kissed, never had a date and are growing weary of waiting?
That was me. I’d never had a boyfriend until I met Steve [my husband]. I had no passion in my life. The longer I waited, the more terrified I was that it would never happen.
Take a deep breath. Your purity is beautiful. It’s a gift. I look back now and I think that God protected me from so much by just not letting me have a date. Even though it was so painful at the time to not have a date when everybody else did, I’m so thankful that I didn’t come into my marriage with any relational baggage.
Start to pray boldly, passionately and intensely for the men who you know in your church or work. Pray that they will start to have God’s perspective and vision for marriage for their own lives. Even if one of them doesn’t end up being your spouse, you’re praying in a way that will bless all of your sisters in Christ.
And then pray that God would bring a husband into your life. You can pray boldly, because you’re really asking God to give you what He wants you to have.
By Kathleen Hardaway
Author and Precept Ministries Staffer
Does God truly give you the desires of your heart? As a single have you ever asked the question, “If God gives me the desires of my heart, why am I still single?” Of all the questions I’ve been asked, this is probably the number one question. To understand this Scripture fully, it’s important to put it in context.
“Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him…” (Psalm 37:5-7a, NIV).
Today, if you’re struggling in your singleness, don’t lose heart. These verses are key in helping you with your frustration of being single. Is your delight, your joy, in the Lord? This is vital for anyone to have true joy.
The first twenty years of my life I put much of my joy in my boyfriends. My mood swings went from high to low depending on how a relationship was going. I later realized my joy was in a man, not in my relationship with the Lord.
Our delight must be first in the Lord. It must be priority in our lives.
Second, are you “trusting in Him and doing good?” Countless singles are doing their own thing, not trusting in Him, much less doing good. Many are dating unbelievers and choosing an impure lifestyle.
God says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). If you want a blessed life then it must be a pure life.
Later in these verses David writes, “Commit your way to the Lord and trust in Him.” Continue to tell the Lord you want His way, not your way. Never ever try to make a relationship happen. Far too many singles are doing this only to end up heartbroken.
We are also commanded to be still and to wait on Him. Waiting is a difficult thing to do. At times it gets long and it may seem too hard. Often singles cannot endure the waiting and they rush into a wrong marriage. Wait. Keep waiting. Don’t rush.
My friend, if you are truly delighting in Him, trusting in Him, committing your way to Him, and waiting on Him, yes, He will give you the desires of your heart. Scripture tells us He will. But God’s timing may not be your timing.
Have you come to the end of yourself and truly asked the Lord to change your desires if they’re not His desires? I have done this in my own life. Today I’m still single, but never thought I could be happy if I was not married. My desires have changed. If the Lord brings me a husband, then I feel quite sure my desires will change again.
The key to the Christian life, single or married, is trusting and obeying. How very, very true the famous hymn writer was when he penned the words “Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey” (John H. Sammis).
I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying there will not be times of loneliness. I’m not saying that you don’t ever wonder why you’re still single. But I am saying you will never ever be sorry for trusting, obeying, and waiting on the Lord.
Does God give you the desires of your heart? Yes, and even more. It may be different plans or desires than you ever thought you wanted. He has extraordinary plans when you simply put Him first in your life.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21, NASB).
Dr. David Hawkins
The Relationship Doctor
With the numbers of singles, and single-again, swelling, more and more people are bouncing in and out of relationships, including marriage, apparently learning little from mistakes in the past. Having been hurt, again and again, many are ready to resign their dating membership, withdraw their ad, abandon their Single’s groups and settle into the easy comfort of their apartment with a bowl of popcorn and a plasma TV.
Why are singles retreating at increasing rates from the Dating Scene? What’s going wrong, and how can we fix it? In a sentence—we haven’t learned how to date smart, which includes being completely ready to date in the first place.
One of the first tasks of any serious dater is to determine if they and their date is really emotionally ready and available for love. This is no easy task, since most feel eager for a relationship.
Any of you who have dated in recent years know there is a vast difference between those with “the urge to merge,” those hidden behind a brick wall of distance and deception, who are scared to death to let themselves be vulnerable at all in a relationship, and those emotionally and spiritually ready for transparency and love.
But, how can you discern the difference? This is the critical question.
One recent response to our Message Board voices some of these concerns:
I have been in several relationships that I just ended abruptly. Each of them said that I am not willing to give enough to make the relationship work. I am very afraid of getting hurt, that is why I do not want to go too far. But now I realize the fact that I can not go on for long like this. How do I know when to let go and love someone freely and stop thinking from the beginning how bad I will feel if the relationship does not work? I am really confused and want to know how I can change things for the better.”
Sadly, this writer is experiencing many of the concerns typical of those seeking a love relationship. Let’s explore some of your concerns, expanded upon in my forthcoming book,Are You Really Ready for Love?, and what you can do to protect yourself from future hurt.
First, listen carefully to the feedback you’re receiving. Anytime we get a message over and over, from multiple sources, there’s a good chance there’s some truth in those messages. In your case, they’re saying you don’t give enough, and you add that you’re afraid of being hurt. I suggest participating in counseling to explore old unresolved hurts that may be hampering your willingness to take risks in dating.
Second, guard yourself from the urge to merge. Having gotten out of a serious relationship, and still reeling from pain, many rush into a new relationship with the hope of anesthetizing their pain by entering into a new, euphoric love relationship. The problem is, every time a relationship ends, we need to take time not only to grieve that loss, understanding what went wrong and what to learn from it. Go slowly, allowing the experience to impact you.
Third, it is natural to fear being hurt, but these risks can be managed with good judgment and discernment. Each of us needs to be an astute judge of character. When we trust and untrustworthy individual, we’re likely to get hurt. But, we can learn to trust only trustworthy people. This is the way any of us know how much of ourselves to share with another. Can they be trusted with our words, our emotions, our love? The old principle, test, trust, test, trust, applies to each of our lives.
Fourth, after discerning who can be trusted, by judging their character, we take risks. In every relationship we take the risk of being hurt, knowing we can minimize those risks, and also knowing the incredible payoffs when we find someone worthy of sharing our lives with. When we refuse to take risks, we remain safe, but painfully alone.
Finally, as you work on healing old wounds, developing a good judge of character, and a willingness to take risks, you’re probably prepared to enter the dating arena. Being really ready for love means you’ve done your work, are emotionally and spiritually stable, and know what you’re looking for in a date. Additionally, you’ve prepared yourself to be an attractive date yourself.
Entering into the arena of dating and love involves risks—but these risks can be managed. We don’t have to blindly enter a dating relationship, crossing our fingers and hoping we don’t get hurt. As we prepare ourselves, growing stronger and wiser, we gain self-confidence and trust that God will guide us through this challenging, yet exciting journey of our lives.
By Jayce O’Neal
I invite ladies to be a fly on the wall and listen to the words of their confusing masculine counterparts.
You are in a sparsely furnished living room with even less décor on the walls; pizza boxes and pop cans are unevenly distributed in various spots in the room. You — an estrogen carrier — are an alien in the world of the testosterone breathers. Shhh. Say nothing…just listen…at first nothing but grunts can be heard, but after a few minutes a word is understood. You are not totally sure, but you think the word was…football. Yes, indeed they did say football. Before you know it you can actually understand a sentence or two. After enduring several comments on sports, cars, and food, you begin to think this is a lost cause. Then something happens…a tremendously long pause. Nothing. Not one word for what seems like an eternity. You think how rude and cold these guys must be to not say anything, but to your surprise, none of the guys seem bothered in the least about the silence. The silence is abruptly interrupted with the subject that you have been waiting for since you became a fly on the wall…girls…dating…and what guys are thinking about the two.
In the volley of verbal discussion you are quite surprised to find out that a lot of thought is put into this subject, considering the fact that it often seems that guys do not talk about relationships, let alone pursue them. This happens to be the topic of the night. Why don’t they (men) pursue women more often? Each male had his particular reason. The following is just a sample of what was unveiled.
Mr. Fear of Rejection
As he begins to talk you realize that guys ponder way more than emotions. In fact, if what these guys say is true, emotions are just not enough. A guy may be interested in a girl and still do and say nothing. Why? Because guys believe there are more factors to consider than feelings.
One of these factors is the fear of rejection. One of the guys explains a time when he was bold enough to ask a girl out, but she said no. The no itself was hard for him to take, because he really did care for this girl, but what happened is that this girl went back and told all of her friends and they began to review all of his perceived strengths and weaknesses. By the time it was over not only did all of her friends know, but their friends knew and their friends’ brothers knew that he asked, she said no, and that he was not tall enough for the average girl to really honestly consider. His chances with this girl were dead as was any future chances with any of her friends or most girls he knew within the area code. Due to the embarrassment and rejection he would simply rather not go through that again.
Mr. Not Financially Set
Another guy speaks up and points out that his main reason for not being active in the dating scene was that he felt he needed to be financially set before he could seriously commit to a woman. He begins to express how his parents struggled financially and how it put a lot of stress on their marriage. He would simply rather not set himself up to fail. If he could become financially secure, then he would feel much more at ease about being with a woman. In addition to this, he opens up and reveals that he believes most women want this. He expresses his insecurity that even though he has a decent job while still in grad school, that he still feels inept as a man because he could not support a woman even if he wanted to. “To pursue a woman, a guy has to be a man. He has to feel like a man. If not, what does he really have to offer?”
After the money talk subsided a man blurted out, “I don’t date simply because I’m not any good at it!” This guy was very straightforward and honest about the fact that he would rather put time into things he knew he was good at. He laid out a list of reasons why romance was simply not in his blood. His parents and many other relatives got married only to divorce in the end. His own relationships always ended in pain, and he was much better at so many other areas of his life. Why endure the heartache and waste his and some poor girl’s time by starting something that most likely wouldn’t work out anyway? After his initial premise for singlehood ended, he got quiet. Under his breath you barely hear these words, “No one likes to fail…I don’t want to fail.”
Mr. I Hate Fairy Tales
“You’re right…no one likes to fail, but no matter what any of us guys do we will all do exactly that.” A guy says from behind his saddened, but stern eyes. He continues to convey how he feels that no matter how hard a guy tries, it won’t be good enough in the end any how. “I blame it on the fairy tales and romantic comedies,” He says. “There’s knights in shining armor, the biggest engagement rings ever, and guys that always know what to say.”
This strikes you a bit oddly. You have put numerous amounts of hours lamenting how media has affected the perception of the ideal beauty and the pressures you have likely felt with all of the super models on TV, yet it never really dawned on you how that same thing might be occurring for guys. What do fairy tales and romantic comedies say about guys? They should always dress nice, have a nice home (a horse and carriage is a nice perk), never be grumpy, be the perfect balance of sensitive and masculine, able to beat up 1 to 40 guys all by himself if need be, and, oh yes, he must always leave the toilet seat down, because he is the most thoughtful and caring man alive.
Mr. I Hate Fairy Tales backs this up with a personal story of how he once bought his ex-girlfriend 12 roses. However, she was hurt, because he did not get her lilies. She felt he should know her better than that, because lilies were her favorite flower…not roses. Many examples followed, but the final conclusion was that he did not feel that getting into a relationship would benefit him. He would always fall short of the ideal, and that just did not sit well with him.
Mr. Can’t Find What I’m Looking For
After hearing all of the things that had been uttered you realize there was one guy who had not yet talked. The entire time he just listened to the others. Some of the guys noticed as well and they asked him what his deal was. He said, “Nothing…I would pursue a girl, but I just have not found what I’m looking for.” The guys asked him what that was exactly. He answered, “It’s simple…I’m looking for the same things you’re looking for. I’m looking for… . ” All of a sudden the audio is lost; then the video also fades and you realize that your masculine passport is expiring.
You find yourself back where you started…in estrogenville. Except there’s something a little bit different about how you view the men in your life. The guy you once looked at with a bit of resentment for not calling doesn’t look like as big of a jerk. In fact, for all of the guys you know, you seem to have a bit more compassion for them, because you are more aware of the things they are walking through. They are not all big jerks who care nothing for you or your lady friends. They are guys — flawed humans who just have not figured it out yet.
It was good to be a fly on the wall for just a moment, but you would really like to know what that last guy was going to say…what are guys looking for? Maybe next time. Maybe.
Waiting for God’s Best
By Rebecca St. James
I pray to GOD—my life a prayer—and wait for what he’ll say and do. My life’s on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning. - Psalm 130:5-6, The Message
I’m often asked how I remain patient with God’s plan for my life when I’m still single. I’ve talked so much about it, it’s no secret—eventually I want to get married. The truth is that there have been many moments when I’ve been tired of waiting for the right guy to arrive. My mum challenged me once. “You need to let go and trust God with this,” she said. I started tearing up. She was right. I asked, “How do you let go of something so important?”
Relinquishing this to God has been quite a process, but I don’t want anything for myself that God doesn’t want for me. Where are the joy and abundant life in settling for something that He doesn’t desire for my life? Releasing this was incredibly freeing. I still believe God will grant me this desire, but I will trust God either way. Until you come to that place of abandonment, the grass always looks greener on the other side. If you can’t surrender something of such importance, the danger is that when it comes you will cling to it and suffocate it, and you may end up hurting the very thing you have longed for. I now feel that I will be able to go into marriage as a whole person. A better prayer than “God, when will You bring the special guy into my life?” is “God, I don’t know what You have in mind for my future … but I await whatever it is expectantly, knowing that You know me better than I even know myself.” I don’t want any less than what God has in mind. I want the bestthat He has in mind.
Have you ever waited for something so long that when it actually happened it wasn’t nearly as exciting as you hoped it would be? Have you ever longed to open a Christmas gift, and after you did, felt disheartened? Have you ever anticipated an event but when the big day arrived, you were less than overwhelmed? Have you ever had a dream so vivid and incredible that when you woke up you were disappointed to discover it wasn’t real life? These experiences can be really frustrating. We certainly don’t want our expectations to let us down in marriage, and if we’re not careful, we can live in a fantasy world concerning wedded bliss that can never be realized in true life. On the other hand, God’s plans for us may be far beyond what we have imagined for ourselves. The prophet Isaiah spoke these words:
Since the world began, no ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him! You welcome those who gladly do good, who follow godly ways. (Isa. 64:4-5, NLT)
The key while we wait on Him, Isaiah says, is to continue to walk with God, getting on with life and doing good.
Living It Out
Have you placed your life and your future completely in God’s hands? If not, as you have your palms open and facing the ground, tell God that you want to relinquish your personal desires. Then turn your opened palms over so that they face heaven, and tell your Father that you surrender your future to His will for your life. It’s a scary prayer, but one that God will certainly honor.