Dating with Pure Passion. The barrage of questions surprised me because I had no reservations about giving her my heart. In my mind, I would have been a fool not to marry Ashley. Yet so many people questioned my composure that I began to worry whether something was wrong with me. I suddenly became anxious about not feeling nervous. Fortunately, as I dressed in my tuxedo, God reminded me that I had every good reason to marry Ashley and that He would uphold our marriage. If you are dating someone seriously, how peaceful do you feel when you think about marrying that person?
Are you free to date a non-Christian? Yes, but the Bible states that it is not profitable 1 Corinthians God views believers and unbelievers as opposites who have no potential for a deep union 2 Corinthians 6: Can a Christian get along with an unbeliever and have fun dating him or her?
In fact, some non-Christians exhibit just as much honesty and sensitivity as some Christians do. However, if you marry an unbeliever, he or she will generally have a larger influence on the direction of your relationship.
I compare dating a non-Christian to mountain climbing and rappelling. Imagine that a Christian woman stands at the top of a mountain, and an unbelieving man stands at the bottom. If the unbelieving man wants to join her, he must decide on his own to make the journey up. The woman cannot pull the man up with her own strength or force him to climb.
Should the man not want to climb the mountain, the woman will remain at the top by herself. Likewise, if the woman wants to be with the man, she will feel tempted to rappel down to his level. Otherwise, they could try to meet halfway, but then they would hang uncomfortably off the side of the mountain. Using romance to coax a non-Christian to climb up to your spiritual level is unhealthy.
Though evangelistic affection may sound noble, the idea is flawed in several ways. In addition, if someone professes faith in Christ solely so that he or she can date you, the person probably is not a Christian. A person becomes a Christian when he or she genuinely asks forgiveness for sin and accepts Christ as Lord of his or her life.
Even if you lead someone to accept Christ, he or she may need years to develop the maturity necessary for sacrificial love in marriage. Furthermore, if you date an unbeliever or even an immature Christian , you will usually assume the role of spiritual parent. Therefore, your dating relationship becomes an unhealthy parent-child situation.
For Christians and non- Christians, reliance on each other prevents you from learning to rely on Christ. Spiritually disinterested singles can seem fun to date.
Instead, seek to date and marry a mature Christian single who embraces his or her spiritual marriage to Jesus. Then you will have a partner who can participate in divine intimacy with you.
Can You Resolve Conflict Together? Some couples pleasantly coast through dating, get married, and then receive a shock when their first round of conflict hits. They are unaware that two imperfect people experience friction no matter how much they love each other. Sin indwells your body and tries to influence you in ways contrary to the desires that Christ puts within you. You might feel tempted to be insensitive, greedy, self-indulgent, manipulative, or hostile.
When you succumb to these temptations in a relationship, a simple disagreement can escalate into an all-out war. Recognize that these selfish urges originate from the sin within you, not from you. Therefore, part of resolving conflict is remembering that as Christians, you and your date are not evil. By separating sin from the person, you can more easily resolve disagreements. For example, one night at a restaurant, Todd sarcastically criticized his girlfriend, Jan, for the way she was dressed.
Whatever has gotten under your skin is ruining our evening together. We can talk about my clothes, but there is no need to criticize me. In this situation, Todd did not come up with the idea to mock the way Jan dressed. Indwelling sin initiated the urge to be rude, and he selfishly chose to respond to the temptation. Fortunately, Jan saw the problem for what it was—sin instigating criticism within Todd. She wisely nipped the problem in the bud, preventing the situation from escalating.
Knowing that sin seeks to cause strife does not mean that you can avoid conflict. A second important aspect of resolving conflict is allowing Jesus Christ to live His love through you. Allowing Him to meet your need for security and significance diminishes your motivation to attack or manipulate someone else. You still continue to voice your opinions and wishes, but Christ within you works to reach a solution that most benefits your relationship.
This means you learn to give and take. Should you need to give, Christ will prompt you to be humble. Likewise, if it is your turn to receive, Jesus will lead you to accept in gratitude. Only through your faith can Christ help you resolve your issues. As a couple, you both have to yield to His desires. So it is important that you deal with conflict several times before considering engagement.
Determine whether both of you have shown a desire to compromise in past arguments. If not, does one of you try to bully the other with angry outbursts? If nothing improves, you may need to end your relationship.
Civilized arguments can benefit a relationship by exposing neglect, unrealistic expectations, or different points of view. Sometimes, neither person is wrong. Each one is simply approaching the same topic from unique perspectives. Therefore, do not try to avoid conflict but seek to resolve it in a loving, mature manner. If you cannot freely voice your opinions, you will live in miserable bondage to another person.
Both parties should have the freedom to express their ideas and desires. A relationship devoid of conflict may signal that one of you is either too passive or too afraid to be genuine.
These attitudes are not conducive to an intimate marriage, and you should not continue dating if you cannot be authentic with each other. Healthy relationships foster an environment in which you have the freedom to disagree. Thus, before you get engaged, make sure you both feel free to be yourselves and know how to lovingly resolve conflict.
Relational baggage can develop when someone pursues fulfillment through a person, possession, or substance rather than the love of Christ. Baggage can surface in a variety of forms, such as addictions, eating disorders, abortion, debt, or divorce.
Unfortunately, almost everyone carries some type of baggage, so do not assume that your boyfriend or girlfriend is immune. Before you give someone your heart, determine if he or she is wrestling with any baggage issues. Also, understand that the consequences of certain baggage may never disappear completely. An addiction can keep someone in poor health.
A divorced single may regularly have child custody problems. If you are not prepared to deal realistically with them, the repercussions could easily dominate your relationship. Please do not downplay relational baggage—it has the power to destroy your relationship. Sometimes, these complex, negative issues require years to resolve. Do not expect that marriage will make them disappear. Therefore, if your date carries emotional baggage, please vigilantly deal with it before you get engaged.
Marrying someone who is free of baggage is worth the extra months or years of waiting. After I dated Ashley for nine months, many of my close friends and relatives began to urge me to pop the question.
They were sincere because Ashley and I had spent a lot of time around our friends and family.
Their opinion meant something because they had been a part of our relationship. Since I knew they wanted the best for us, their excitement reinforced my desire to marry Ashley.
In the same way, I encourage you to seek the support of your friends and family. Since these people generally know you well, they can offer helpful insight on whether you and your date are a good match.
In addition, they are not as emotionally blinded as you are and may identify problem areas that you have overlooked. Should someone raise a concern about your relationship, focus on the facts and do not hide the truth.
Be willing to admit that you might have neglected a problem. Parents and friends are not always right, but you should consider their legitimate opinions. They may have years of marriage experience to back up their concerns, and ignoring them would be foolish. Listen with an open mind to what they say about your relationship. Remember, however, that the final decision rests solely in your hands.
Instead, let loved ones be resources to aid in your decision-making process. When you make one of the biggest decisions of your life, having the support of your family and friends is a wonderful blessing. It not only gives you a sense of peace but also assurance that they will be there for you if times get hard. No married couple is an island.
You will need the encouragement of others—especially if you have children. You endanger your dating relationship if you hide it from people. Instead, ask yourself if those near to you are excited about your relationship moving forward, and examine why or why not.
To this day, our friends and family are still excited about and supportive of our marriage. They go out of their way to encourage us and invite us to be a part of their lives. If we need help in any way, they will be there for us. Pre-engagement counseling is so helpful when you are interested in marrying someone.
It is impossible to uncover by yourself every potential problem area of your relationship. Even wise friends and family can overlook negative warning signs. Therefore, seek a trained Christian counselor to discuss the details of your relationship before you get engaged. I promise it is well worth it even if you have to go out of your way to find it. Ashley and I participated in eight weekly sessions of pre-engagement counseling together.
The format was casual, which allowed us to openly share our fears and hopes. The counselor was perceptive and showed us areas that could cause problems for us in the future. For instance, we discovered that we deal with our free time quite differently. Ashley prefers to make a list of tasks and work on projects, while I prefer to lounge around, read, and talk. Neither of us was right or wrong; we were just different.
Fortunately, the counselor revealed this issue to help us become more sensitive to each other. Rather than fight about our free time, we learned to value what the other person prefers. This is just one example of how pre-engagement counseling improved the harmony of our relationship. The decision to marry someone is so significant; please do not bypass the wisdom of outside counsel before engagement. If you can meet with someone trained to deal with relational problems, you can save yourself a lot of heartache.
Furthermore, a good counselor can help save you from marrying the wrong person. Jane had dated Ted for ten months when he brought up their first discussion about marriage. Jane liked Ted but felt unsettled about their future. This comment grabbed her attention. Jane began to reflect over her relationship and noticed that Ted rarely seemed enthusiastic about her interests. Whenever she asked him to stop by her art class or volunteer together at church, he would made excuses.
A relationship with Ted meant that her individuality and interests took a back seat to his. The more Jane pondered, the less she felt comfortable about moving forward. When you consider marriage with someone, ask yourself, Does this person bring out the best in me? This question may sound trivial, but its answer will reveal much about the future quality of your relationship.
For that reason, you want to find someone who is passionate about investing in your life and vice versa.
Search The Contenders
In healthy relationships, people help each other to flourish. Rather, relational cheerleading is creating an encouraging environment in which another person can safely try new experiences and grow as an individual. This type of supportive atmosphere fosters intimacy. Before I married Ashley, I never realized how wonderful it was to be with someone who brings out the best in me.
Her belief in me goes beyond mere words. Let me give you a firsthand illustration. Writing this book had been a dream of mine for years. Nevertheless, I almost gave up five times while trying to finish the manuscript. The project kept getting bigger than I expected, so I frequently felt overwhelmed.
She not only encouraged me when I was frustrated but also got involved by critiquing what I wrote each week. She sacrificed her time, interests, and desires to invest in the realization of my dream. She helped bring out the best in me. In the same way, I encourage you to honestly assess what kind of influence your boyfriend or girlfriend has upon your life. Does he or she truly care about your growth and maturity?
Does he or she encourage you to meet new people, try new hobbies, and maintain your faith in God? Does he or she have a history of sacrificing time, money, or attention to support you physically and spiritually? Or does he or she simply use you for his or her happiness? Many singles have been demoralized by dating an immature person. Instead, Christ wants singles to spur each other on to grow in love and maturity.
You can start this process by asking your boyfriend or girlfriend about his or her dreams and goals. What has he or she always wanted to do? In what area could he or she use your support? Determine how you might reasonably help your date achieve his or her desire.
Then date each other long enough so that an extended pattern of supportive behavior can emerge. The concept was simple-when a person is focused upward to the pinnacle of the triangle God , they will eventually meet up with that special someone that God has specifically designed for them. If a guy and girl are in a relationship, they should be focused on God, and as they grow closer to God they will inevitably grow closer to one another.
What I was doing with this new girlfriend was taking my eyes off of God and focusing on the really pretty girl. Well, this really pretty girl and I made out a lot … way too much!
There were some moments when we got far too close to a line that should not be crossed until marriage. I had been called into ministry a year and a half earlier, and I knew that she would not give me the support I would need in ministry. We broke up a week later. We soon started dating. I prayed about it a few weeks later, and God told me I had jumped the gun and that we should break up. I thought all I needed to do was get to know her and once I knew her pretty well that we could date with the idea in both of our heads that the end result would be marriage.
So I listened to God and broke up with her. This devastated me and her. She completely withdrew from me, which really hurt.
Before I left for camp that summer, I gave her a Bible and she gave me a journal and we said goodbye. I spent the summer at camp. We wrote letters a few times a week. It seemed like the Lord was restoring our relationship. We began dating that summer in early July.
We dated for 15 months. It was a good time, but our focus was wrong. Our focus even as good Christian kids was on each other and not on God and how we were to be obedient to Him in His service.
We were far too physical for a Christian couple.
Dating an unbeliever desiring god
The girl I dated for 15 months was a great girl and a strong Christian, but we were not equally yoked. She had a completely different way she wanted to live her life than I did when it came to serving the Lord.John Piper - Spend time with non-Christians
The point I am trying to make here is that even when a guy is a strong Christian at a similar maturity level as you are, there are other factors that must be considered such as your views on spending and saving money. How you will give your time, money, and energy in service to the Lord?
Are you both fine with living by faith and not have any real plans except to follow the Lord? Or does one of you want to be a lawyer and the other one wants to be an international missionary? There are many things that go into being equally yoked.
For many of you, you may not be ready to be married. Enjoy the friendships with guys around you as brothers. Let them know where you stand, and you will encourage and challenge them to grow as men of the Lord. If they are not down with respecting you for taking this season in your life to grow more as a woman, then you need to pray for them that they may understand your heart and that you are letting yourself be prepared for your future husband.
When you do meet that man someday that you connect really well with … pray for him. Pray that he will grow and be transformed every day into the likeness of Christ. Ask God now to prepare you and your future husband for the time when you will be wed. As a young Christian girl, you should focus on Christ; focus on His call on your life to follow Him. Seek to understand what that means for each one of you. Who are you in Christ? What is your identity in Christ?
You need to be content with serving and obeying Christ. You must not seek to find your fulfillment in a man. It simply is not there. It is only found in Christ.