There will always be conflicts and problems in relationships. Even the best of relationships experience them. Why? Two people in a relationship are always two sinners. We are by nature sinful and self-centred and want our own way. We are blind to certain things about ourselves, our faults that can damage the other person and the relationship. We all need to grow, change, and make use of God’s word and his grace to transform us into the likeness of Jesus, so we can love and serve others well.
I did not understand before why premarital sex was such a big deal. I knew it was a sin, and I knew God forbid it. But I didn’t understand the very real and harmful effects it has on a relationship.
Probably the biggest harmful effect is destroying trust. I’m going to try to break down why this happens.
As Christians, we know God’s command to abstain from sex before marriage. We hopefully plan to abide by it. But often we find ourselves in relationships where the other person is pressuring us into sex, or maybe we are that person.
In every dating relationship, you’re asking yourself, how do I know if this is “the one”? How do I know if I should stay with this person and marry them, or break up?
This isn’t a list of specific behaviours or indications; it’s more of a set of general diagnostic questions you can ask yourself about the health of the relationship.
1. What is my emotional experience in this relationship?
Something I’ve been meditating on recently is the vital importance in dating, and especially in marriage, of choosing a person who fears God.
What do I mean by that, and why is it important?
“Fearing God” doesn’t mean necessarily trembling in terror, or living in a psychological state of fear. What it means is a healthy respect for God. This healthy respect is manifested by belief in, and obedience to, God’s word.
Recently I met up with an old friend of mine, who confided in me that he was in a new long-distance relationship with a girl he'd met online. As he talked about the relationship, he expressed that his major preoccupation was whether this relationship was “God's will” or not. He wanted to know definitively before proceeding, because he didn't want to hurt her or to make a mistake.
I've written and thought about this before, but I continue to be amazed at the misuse of the word “love”. When most people use the word “love”, particularly in a romantic context, what they usually mean isn't actually love for the other person at all.
Can men and women ever really be “just friends”? It's a never-ending question, one that I'd like to consider in light of living as a Christian single.
I'm single. I've been single for most of my adult life. And I'm ok with that. Mostly. I am a 33 year old woman, and I suppose by most accounts I should be panicking about my age and single status. And I'm not. There are days (thankfully few and far between) when I feel sad about being single, and frustrated that it seems impossible to find anyone. There are other days (thankfully most of them) when I don't think about it much at all. And other days when I feel genuinely thankful to be single. Marriage has a lot of great aspects and upsides. But so does being single.
This is certainly not an authoritative guide. I’ve had to do a lot of forgiveness, and this is what I’ve found works for me.
1. Recognize the need to forgive
This may seem obvious, but often it’s not. We may be suffering from anger, depression, and hurt over offenses that happened many years ago. Often facing those buried issues from the past and forgiving is the key to releasing that pain.
The timing of writing this has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day, it’s just something I’ve been thinking about lately. I guess it is, in a way, appropriate to the day, but not really. It’s appropriate to all the time.
I’ve been thinking about the nature of true love.