Unforgettable Love Story: A Study of Love, Marriage and Romance
Let’s be honest: The world of dating is hard to navigate for everyone, but especially for a Christian. Dating in our culture is often portrayed as a feel-good experience. If you feel “right” together, if you’re having fun, if there’s passion, then it must be a good relationship. It’s a mentality that causes us to live in the moment, rather than building a future at the same time. It’s no wonder Christians tend to lose perceptive on dating. Rather than trying to navigate through the world of dating in a healthy way, it’s easier to bend a little and try to keep one foot in Christianity and the other in our culture. We have to remember that dating is the means to discover the right person for you to marry.
Something To Talk About:
Dating is confusing, exciting, difficult and really fun. But it’s time to change the subculture of fear we as Christians have sometimes created around it. It’s time to stop freaking out about dating and see it as an opportunity for connection and growth. In Sunday’s message we talked about the seasons of dating.
The season of perfection: We’ve been groomed by society to look for the “perfect man” or the “perfect woman.” Reality shows portray groups of contestants vying for the heart of one person believing they are the “perfect person”. In this season we believe the person may be perfect, and why not. The person pursued me, and I couldn’t wait to enter into relationship with him or her. This is where the person in the relationship must exercise caution to make sure it is not just a temporary euphoria. We can slow the process down by limiting the time the couple spends together, not getting ahead of themselves or the relationship by saying “I love you” prematurely and by limiting the opportunities for temptation by controlling the amount of time spent together alone.
The season of preparation: This is the area where we do the due diligence on the relationship. This is where we assess what we want and what we expect in a relationship. This is where we establish our deal breakers. This is where we get a handle on what’s happening and evaluate where we are headed as a couple. And we need to do all of this introspection through the lens of biblical standards. These are high standards and we need key people in our lives actively involved to help us meet those standards as best we can.
The season of purity: This season is pretty self-explanatory. Sex was designed to be a deep bonding experience between a husband and wife. So if you’re going to develop a healthy dating relationship and make a wise decision about getting married or not getting married, you’re going to have to draw away from this obsession with the sexual part of the relationship for the season of dating. This is the area where we should not compromise.
- What are the good things and bad things about dating?
- How important is it to you to be going out with someone? Or to be in a relationship?
- Do you believe in standards for dating? For relationships? Which quality do you value most in someone you want to date, your spouse, or significant other?
- Read 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8: How do these verses effect your life and commitment in your relations and future relationships?
- Is the right person a myth? Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-5. In this passage, we find a list of qualities that are characteristic of the “right person.” Which of these qualities is the most difficult for you to exhibit?
- Do most relationships suffer from a lack of preparation? Why or why not? How can you best prepare for a long-term successful relationship?
Take One Thing Home with You
I mentioned in the message on Sunday that one of the desires of my heart is for us as parents and grandparents to become role models and guide future generations. Let me expand on that just a bit.
When God scans the earth for people He can use, He is not on a search for angels in the flesh. There are no perfect people. He is searching for people that are willing to step up to the plate, people like you and me. God knows that we have baggage, that we all have limitations, but so did David, and David was a man “after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).
To be a person after God’s own heart, means our lives are in harmony with the Lord. What is important to Him is important to you. What burdens Him burdens you. When He says, “go to the right,” you go to the right. When He says, “this is wrong and I want you to change,” you come to terms with it because you have a heart for God. It means no locked closets, or anything swept under the rugs. It means you admit when you do something wrong. God is not looking for superman or superwoman, but for honest, humble people who want to make a difference in our corner of the world. People who can make a difference in other people’s lives.
If we have those qualities then we can make such a difference in the lives of the next generation and the one after that. And not only in relationships, but every other area of life. It is just a case of whether we want to get involved. Do we acknowledge and avoid, or do we acknowledge and engage? The true role model is the one who engages. The truth is our sons, brothers, cousins, and friends will have somebody they look up to. The question is whether that individual is the right mentor or role model for them.
My hope is that we can be people who are moved to engage and model God’s grace. “ So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” (Romans 9:16)