Friday, July 6, 2012

Who to Put First

So many girls grow up dreaming of the perfect guy. However, no matter how one might try, they can't be perfect. And let's face it, even then people would hate you for being perfect, so you still aren't "perfect."

With that being said there is too much hype about this phenomenon called dating. It's not fun, it's hard-work, and it's emotionally heart-wrenching. This current fad of dating several people in a hunt for "The One" has only been popular for the past 50 years. In that time the divorce rates have gone through the roof, so obviously something is not working here.

Once you are married you have the opportunity to look back on your life experiences such as your past dating adventures. One thing I have seen and I'm not married is: God already knows our future, including who, if anyone, we will marry. So why not leave it in His hands and let Him do all the worrying.

No amount of dating can prepare you for marriage anyhow. I among with others believe that God has an ideal dating relationship for us and it is as simple as this. First and foremost, our relationship with God must be above all others. Second, do what God has made you passionate about. Third, it will be through God's leading that your spouse will appear. Because when you are following God's will you will be in the place that God has for you, and when your path crosses the path of your spouse, they will naturally turn into one path.

I was never big on the dating lifestyle and still am not. I have now had one and half boyfriends. Half? I never was really close to this person, but that didn't stop me from learning a whole lot from the relationship. It is probably a good thing I never did become that close to that person. They already threw me off of my beliefs just a little and we were barely anything. I opened my eyes to God and left dating behind. I wanted to be closer to God and discover what He had in store for my life and it didn't take long at all.

All of my life I have been told to pray for my future husband. When I realized I was being pulled and tugged in ways I didn't want to be. I left and went completely on my own. I had been own my own for exactly 5 days and I believe God decided to test me. I can only pray and ask him am I doing the right thing.

Many of us our told the lies that society tells us about how important dating is and we are nobodies unless we have a significant other. Advice from apostle Paul:
"Run anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right. Pursue faith and love and peace, and enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts" - 2 Timothy 2:22

What stimulates youthful lust? Youthful means new; in an early stage of development. Lust is an intense or obsessive desire, especially sexual desire. This verse tells us to run from it. It doesn't say walk, stroll, or saunter-it says run. To have an obsessive desire for anything that you know little or nothing about is not a safe place to be.

To be righteous means to be right before God. First, pray about your relationship, that God will guide your desire and actions according to His will. Second, set your sexual morals and values before you start into a dating relationship and commit yourself to them.
"Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life." - Proverbs 4:23

 If you spend a lot of time with a member of the opposite sex, make sure you talk to each other and share your values and morals. Never compromise them! Both of you should commit yourselves to them and help each other to maintain them. If it is a lasting relationship, you will not be a pressured to change or modify any of your morals or values.

So we laid down the ground rules for, which is a very important first step in a new relationship. As Paul cautions,
"Don't be fooled by those who say such things, for 'bad company corrupts good character" - 1 Corinthians 15:33
Your friends can influence you either to uphold or to compromise your Christian morals and values. If you get into a bad situation that you know is leading you in the wrong direction, what should you do? Why not leave? If they really are your friends they will understand or leave with you. If your significant other is moving too fast and will not talk to your about it, leave. Plus if they really love and care about you they won't even ask and if you say you don't care then they should respect you enough to say no that you will regret it later. That is a huge pet peeve of mine. "Well they said they didn't care anymore that they could ask for forgiveness." Oh really? If you really loved that person you would have stopped them anyhow. That is a huge pet peeve of mine.

God is there to look out for your well-being and to protect you when you get yourself into situation that look hopeless. A simple prayer of "Help" can do more than you may ever know. Please do not forget that your parents and friends are there to help you as well. Plan ahead so that if you find yourself in an awkward situation you have a back-up strategy for getting out. Have a code word or phrase that means, "Don't ask any questions, just come and get me now!"

Study Romans 4:5 and think about what this verse means to you-
"But people cannot do any work that will make them right with God. So they must trust in him, who makes even evil people right in his sight. Then God accepts their faith, and that makes them right with him."
"God's way of putting people right shows up in the acts of faith, confirming what Scripture has said all along: "The person in right standing before God by trusting him really lives." - Romans 1:17
What does faith have to do with our relationship? Everything! If you put your faith in God, He will lead you to a relationships that will be glorifying to Him. Relationships are not selfish. We do not find a boyfriend for our own glory but for God's. If you are honoring and serving God through your dating relationships, you are in the right place. If God is not there, neither should you be. Following ans serving Chris will help you in many areas. One of the benefits that you learn is to put others before your own selfish desires. A priority list that is easy to remember is J = Jesus, O = Others, Y = Yourself. 

Relationships fall apart because what is most important to you in a relationship is not what should be. Christ needs to be the center. That is the only way to have a healthy relationship. If both of you center your lives in God and growing in your faith, your relationship will grow as well.

First Corinthians 13 is known as the love chapter in the Bible. Before you read it, however, pray to God and ask Him to give you comprehension as you read. Next, read the chapter through slowly several times so that the words can speak to you personally. What is love? and What is it not? Read 1 Corinthians 13 HERE

1. Love is an action not a feeling. You have to choose to love; it doesn't just find you and fall in it. Becoming physically/sexually involved is not the action of love. The action of love is accepting people as they are rather than who you want them to be, choosing to to love them when they do things that hurt you or when they make wrong choices. Love is a choice, and once made, it is consistent.

2. Love does not mean ownership. Do you know what that means? In many relationships, attitude develops that says, "I own you." God tells us this is wrong. True love encourages you to grow independently. Do you honestly care about your significant other? If you do, examine your views in different situations. Would you sacrifice your hopes and dreams to support them in theirs?

3. Love is not selfish. This one is easy. Lust says, "I must have it now." Love says, "I can wait."

4. Love takes risks. Get to know the person you love without seeing them everyday. No physical aspects at all. Just phone calls, and emails. If it is true love God will keep you connected.

5. Love is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. In a dating relationship, honesty, builds trust. Come clean about your past. If that person is in a close relationship with God as well then they will know exactly what you need to hear. A friend of mine's fiance even told her "It doesn't matter because your past made you who you are today." If you need to cover things up in order to stay in a relationship then it is not a truly loving relationship.
"Run anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right. Pursue faith and love and peace, and enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts" - 2 Timothy 2:22
Peace is the result of a harmony of righteousness, faith, and love. In order to have peace you must have your life right with God and be able to honestly put your faith in what He has in store for your life. Jesus can give you peace. 
"I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world." - John 16:33
Study Philippians 4:4-7 for a few minutes. Why should this passage be important to you? Think about what is so important about it. 
Be full of joy in the Lord always. I will say again, be full of joy. Let everyone see that you are gentle and kind. The Lord is coming soon.6 Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. And God's peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
On the the subject of dating non-Christians. Does it really matter? Is it really that big of a deal? It is to God. Here's what His Word says,
"Don't team up with those who are unbelievers. How can goodness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?" - 2 Cor. 6:14

If you do date someone with beliefs that are lower than yours, how can yours ever grow? This is a RUN! situation. Your spiritual beliefs will not grow, and even, most likely, move backwards in your faith.

If you date a non-Christian you will discover very quickly that the two of you have very different morals and values. Behavior that you know is wrong and off-limits they will feel is perfectly permissible, and sooner or later (probably sooner) you will feel pressured to give in and compromise your standards in order to keep their interest. If they do pressure you in that way, drop them like a hot grease. They don't really care about you, but are only using you. You are worthy of so much more than that.

Do you want to marry a child molester or a rapist? Most likely not, so what is the best way to protect yourself from that? Easy don't marry someone who does those things. You wouldn't keep dating someone who molests a child or rapes you. Do you want to marry a non-Christian? Then why would you date one?
"Run anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right. Pursue faith and love and peace, and enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts" - 2 Timothy 2:22
Our society places a lot of emphasis on finding "The One." God has given us the ability to make choices. The person becomes "The One" when you stand before your family, friends, and God and willingly makes a vow to love and cherish them as long as you both shall live. The question is never if you can live your life without this person but wake up knowing you love that person unconditionally. Many Christians require premarital counseling or sessions. Because God does not want people living together before they are married and you learn about the people through counseling and sessions.

Don't spend your life running around looking for someone to make you whole! Don't devalue your worth by hurting yourself and others by becoming involved in the dating game.

These questions are for you to look at your relationship. (And change the sentence to reflect you towards them!)

  1. Does he follow Chris and His word?
  2. Does he really your best interest at heart?
  3. Have you set out your morals and values out as a guideline for your relationship?
  4. Do they have wisdom and discernment? Do they know the difference between right and wrong?
  5. Would they ever betray you?
  6. Are they trying to use you to gain status for themselves?
  7. Do your parents approve of them?
  8. If you were blind, would you still love them?
  9. Do you get closer to God as a result of spending time with them?
  10. Do you love Jesus more today because of the time spent with them together?
So what are your morals and values on dating, sex, and marriage? Write them down. Really think about what God wants for you, and pray for God's protection from temptations

How do you define love?

Read John 12:44-46 below and think about what do you need to trust God with? Why live with darkness in your life if you have the choice to live with complete light?
"Jesus summed it all up when he cried out, "Whoever believes in me, believes not just in me but in the One who sent me. Whoever looks at me is looking, in fact, at the One who sent me. I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won't have to stay any longer in the dark."
Only God's love will satisfy you completely. Yet God designs us to enjoy a romantic love that you will one day share with that special someone. The kind of love that doesn't begin with expecting something from the other person; it begins with giving. Even if you find someone with all the qualities they are not going to make all of your problems go away. Only God can do that.

Some people have a past they wish they could erase. We sometimes do things we wish we could take back. You may have been involved in premarital sexual activity and wish you could blot it out of your past and eliminate the memories. Whatever may have happened, or whatever your sin, God offers second chances. His forgiveness is a gift. We don't deserve it, but He offers it to us anyway. That's called grace! See Ephesians 1:7 and Colossians 1:13-14.
When you decide you want to stay sexually pure from this day forward, then you can experience a second virginity. This second virginity comes by asking for God's forgiveness through Jesus and by committing to stay sexually abstinent until marriage. Reclaiming your purity can give you a whole new outlook and freedom in your life. See Ephesians 4:21-24.

The bad part is that sin does have consequences. You may be dealing with those now as a result of sexual sin.

There are not "other halves" or "soul-mates." Relationships have 5 stages. After about 30 books of Christian and non-christian books, yeah there really is 5 stages of a relationship. Have you ever wondered: Why is our relationship so hard? Things were so perfect when we first met - what happened? Most likely, the answer is that you've left the first stage of your relationship, and have moved into another. 

I worked for two weeks writing this blog post. This is one that I didn't think really mattered until I was the one being pushed up against the wall. I finally realized what I was doing wrong and it was a spark that turned into a huge flame and I will not let it get hid anymore.

First statge is called the Honeymoon stage.That’s when everything our partner does is perfect, is cute, is adorable.We focus on the positive qualities of our partner and ignore the negative ones.This is because our body is creating some very potent chemicals that are influencing our brains.  It’s God  making sure we can stay together long enough to perpetuate the opposite sex.Our brains drug us with neurotransmitters like PEA (phenylethylamine) and oxytocin.  PEA acts like methamphenamine, while oxytocin acts like heroin.  So physiologically speaking, romantic love is a chemical reaction.  Not such a romantic notion though.Eventually we build a tolerance to the drugs flooding our system.  For some people it's all about sex, cutesy things, and etc.

It usually takes 3 months to 6 months, and as it wears down we are left in the second stage of relationship: Familiarization Stage, or the Adjusting to Reality Phase. This is where you begin to realize that your partner is actually a human being . You get to know each other more and more, and as a result you start recognizing their various flaws and shortcomings. You see your partner in relaxed situations, and you become more relaxed as well. Since your body cannot possibly continue to produce the same levels of endorphins that it was in the beginning, those feelings of being on top of the world start to decline. Your partner's little habits aren't quite as cute as they used to be, but there is still enough goodwill from the Honeymoon Stage that you're willing to overlook them. This stage can start to trickle into your relationship slowly, as you begin to see your partner for who s/he really is. Or sometimes it happens all of a sudden, when there has been some sort of dishonesty or deceit. This phase can be confusing and discouraging, since you've just experienced so much openness and connection in the Romance Stage. 

The next stage Disappointment Phase or Distress Stage. As the characteristics from the Disillusionment Phase intensify, they become harder and harder to deal with. You will most likely begin to pull away from each other in this stage. You fight to draw boundaries in the relationship, and as a result even small annoyances become big issues. This is the stage where you define unacceptable behavior, and most couples have occasional or frequent thoughts of leaving the relationship. More and more often, you start to feel like your partner is self-centered or un-caring, or even worse, that they simply can't be trusted. Sometimes this is the case and many think oh it will pass but it never really will. Some force other people to do what they want but let their partner suggest something and it goes up in flames. 

However, if they are able to negotiate all of the landmines during this phase, they'll move on to....

This is a restful and peaceful time, compared to the last stage. This stage is also known as the Friendship Phase or Reconciliation Stage. Some couples never make it to this stage, but the ones who do find that they have deeper feelings of love, connection and trust with their partner. You now have history together, and most people begin to rely on the predictability of the relationship. As you enter this stage, you begin to realize that your partner isn't perfect, but your personal differences aren't quite as threatening as they used to be. You're able to resolve most of your differences, at least to some extent, and you become more confident in the relationship. Some people feel a sense of loss in this stage as they learn to accept their partner for who they truly are, since this means they have to let go of the fantasy that was established early on in the relationship. But for the most part, the deepening sense of friendship and commitment is a good trade-off for those early feelings of butterflies and excitement. This is also when you begin to re-establish your own outside interests and friendships, which were given up in the Honeymoon Phase. There is still some danger that you may begin to drift apart from or become bored with your partner in this phase. And sometimes it just has to happen this way.

Those that break up, generally will find themselves attracted to someone who shares many common characteristics with their previous relationship.

This stage is also known as the Acceptance Phase, the Transformation Stage, or the Real Love Phase. It is estimated that fewer than 5% of couples actually make it to this stage, according to The Relationship Institute. This is the stage when both couples have a clear notion of who their partner is, faults, foibles and weaknesses galore... yet they make a conscious choice to be with this person in spite of all of those things. You are no longer with your partner because you need thembut because you've chosen them, which means the level of resentment you felt in the Power Struggle Phase has decreased, if not disappeared. If you've made it to this stage, you and your partner are a team. You genuinely love your partner, and you look out for their best interests just as much as you look out for your own. Your partner is your best friend. There are few surprises about your partner's habits or character in this phase. You've collaborated to overcome many challenges together, and have grown to accept and support each other without restriction. Your vision for your relationship is in congruence with who you are and what you both truly want. You have discussed your future together - you have similar life goals, and you feel encouraged to define your relationship further. Many couples decide to make a formal or public commitment to each other in this stage

I have not made it to all the stages in my current relationship. We have had a few fights, but many of the Christian books have said if you keep God first and are willing to work through Him with each other then there will not big a huge fights. We have rules but all are based on moral and values. We agreed that if any of the rules didn't have to do with morals or values then it was a selfish rule on someone's part and we tossed it out. God speaks to both of us and only greater things can come of this relationship. For that to happen God must be put first in the relationship.

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