Relationships – my goodness a basic element of life but how difficult and complex. Add the magic word LOVE to it, it seems to complicate things further! Or to think about it. is it the lack of clarity or understanding of the word love and marriage is what makes it all complex?
Love isn’t a feeling nor an emotion but rather a DECISION. It’s a decision that we all need to make as believers to AGAPE (for the good of the other) and PHILEO (brotherly) love one another. If it was to be a feeling or an emotion, God wouldn’t command us to love one another. It isn’t an option. The world makes it or romanticises it to feelings and emotions whereas pure Godly love is intentional.
The purpose of Christian dating is for two people who do not know one another as friends to get to know one another to see whether a relationship is possible. The actual relationship is the period of a commitment to discuss plans of the future and see if each other’s goals and visions can be aligned as COMPARABLE helpers for God’s Kingdom and for life in general. It’s all about having some DIRECTION in the future not just drifting along together just enjoying life.
Compatibility means looking ahead in the same direction despite the differences in personality… and it is on all levels – spiritual, emotional, intellectual and of course physical attraction too. If in these stages couples are unable to discuss togetherness and intentionally work towards it in mutual prayer and with surrendering it to the Lord, that is not dating or relationship, it’s being friends with benefits. The latter is of course not characteristic of a godly relationship. Mutual growth is the fruit of a good relationship where both look out for one another and also for God’s Kingdom – and work towards it under the leading of the Holy Spirit. A couple that prays together stay together.
Of course, this is not to say that the relationship will then succeed but Christian dating and relationship is focused on marriage as the purpose for the dating and relationship. Yes there is God’s time and God’s perfect plan in all this – but dating to merely pass time or without a direction isn’t of God.
In this level of compatibility, marital status is yet another area that we need to watch out for. God will never bring us a partner who is legally married to another. No matter what the separated person is going through – whether the truth or merely a story to get pity from someone to be his /her crutch – the person is still legally married. Yes, after a certain time period according to the law of each country, there will be automatic divorce but the whole purpose of separation is to ‘test’ things out.. to make sure you won’t regret it and also as a time of healing. When two have been one flesh pulling them apart is going to have some adverse effects and hence why marriage is discouraged by God. (Adultery, unbelieving partner walking away and hence also abuse where godly marriage is jeopardised are exceptions to ‘divorce’ but the separation period still stands).
If God wants us to be with someone at any given time, His time won’t be till both are ready for the relationship. Both will be ‘free’ to be able to step in. I think of God putting Adam to sleep, taking his rib out and creating woman. When God took Eve to Adam, he broke out in poetry of romance. Rebekah was ever ready to travel across the miles to become Isaac’s wife. She took the direction towards the marriage. Boaz did procrastinate in tying the knot with Ruth but he hadn’t asked her out either. Once she surrendered herself, he decided to do what he had to do – or first what he thought he had to do and then settled to do what he had to do.
A man can and does switch off between tasks and relationships but that’s not how a woman operates. She is the one who will get hurt if the relationship doesn’t evolve.. so women need to take extra caution to guard their hearts and seek God’s discernment and wisdom to know where the guy’s motives and heart is. is he seeking to please God first and foremost? Then you know he will hear God and respond accordingly.
No matter how much a dog lovingly nurtures a snake, a snake will be a snake. The dog will be the one to get ‘bitten’ or even ‘killed’ – in this case emotionally! Be harmless as a dove but as wise as a serpent – Jesus advises us!
Yet love isn’t all that complicated as we make it to be! And it surely has its benefits in a person’s growth if approached in a way that is pleasing to God! It surely get’s easier if we lean on God’s Word and His wisdom and His discernment in each and every situation. We are not going to take relationships with us when we depart from this momentary time on earth so anything – even trying to gain a comparable helper – that comes in the way of our obedience to God and our intimacy with Him is worthless, meaningless.
Having ‘love’ on earth at the expense of missing out on God’s love for eternity is futile!