I’m learning a lot being in a relationship with my better half. God knows I’m not eligible to write this out because of my horrible conflict resolution skills. It may not seem so but I have a problem with being cold and proud when someone does me wrong – no matter who it is. I’ve a lot to work with, and the reason I’m writing this is really for myself to remember how we should deal with conflicts.
Would you agree with me if I say that some Christians miss God’s best because they have been in search for God’s will? How the statement is ironically paradoxical. While seeking God’s will is right and a wise thing to do, I hope we do our seeking the right way. Most of the time in our desperate search for His will, we forget what our faith is all about – moving forward with confidence that God is in control.
We live in this world where lots of good things exist. We’re blessed with a family, a house, a car perhaps, and then some time in our lives, we’re blessed with a relationship. How do you react when that someone you hold so dear to, suddenly needs to leave? For whatever reason, your relationship has to stop. What do you do then?
This entry has been inspired by Craig Groeschel’s book ‘ Going all the Way – Preparing for a marriage that goes the distance’
We dread breakups because of the emotional pain and trauma that it brings along. No one likes a breakup. And there is no such thing as a ‘good breakup’ because you have just given away part of your self to another person and now, you have to ‘break it off’.
The Love Binge
Maybe you’re with someone who has ‘potential’ and you’re not so sure if you have a future together. At times you want to end it. At times you don’t understand each other. At times, it feels like heaven and you think ‘Maybe – just maybe – this could work.’
How can you really know if you should break up with someone?
A Question of Integrity
The first thing you need to check with your girlfriend or boyfriend is if he or she lives without integrity. Integrity covers a lot more than just that he or she is nice and makes you feel special. A person with integrity measures his or her inner desires and values by the standard of God’s truth – and that inner commitment is matched by outward behavior, even in the little things that no one else sees.
“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” – Proverbs 11:3
I’m not perfect. And chances are, neither are you. But I’m not saying that we should search for perfection, rather we are looking for someone who is saying to God in his or her life, “Lord, change me. Make me more like You.”
When your girlfriend or boyfriend does something against God’s Word, see how quickly he or she repents. A good mark of maturity is a short time span between sin and repentance. If she lies, admits it quickly, and asks for forgiveness, she’s on the right track. If, on the other hand, he lies, covers his tracks, lies again, then yells at you for not trusting him… you have a problem.
You are looking out for a person with integrity because whether you like it or not, integrity will protect your marriage. Marrying a person with a huge hole in integrity can mean that your marriage will suffer – for life. Imagine the damage it can do to your family. To yourself. To your relationship with God and other people.
A Question of Influence
“Bad company corrupts good character” - 1 Corinthians 15:33
If the person you’re dating lacks self-control in one area, he’ll likely lack it in several other areas.
Ask yourself: Is dating this person drawing me closer to God? Or am I finding myself drawn away from Him?
Don’t flirt with anyone or anything that hurts your walk with Christ.
A Question of Belief
If your boyfriend or girlfriend isn’t committed to Jesus, the two of you are trying to build a life together using different sets of blueprints – two opposing worldviews. Two conflicting sets of values. Chances are great that this person will pull you away from God, that you’ll pull the person closer to God.
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” - 2 Corinthians 6:14
If you life is surrendered to Christ, and his or hers isn’t, I’m sorry to say this, but to continue the relationship is cruel for both of you.
Do yourselves a Favor
Save your heart. The fact is, you can’t marry the best when you’re dating the runner-up. While you’re searching for Mr. Right, don’t settle for Mr. Right Now.
It is no surprise to us that men and women have different points of view. What may be positive to a male could spring anxiety to a female. What may be exciting to a female could be challenging to a male.
As I continue reading Dr. Steve Stephens book entitled, ‘Lost in Translation’, it inspired me to write blogs about how men and women think. For this article, I’ll talk about nagging in particular.
Experience also allows us to continuously learn that conflicts arise from misunderstandings and misunderstandings arise due to differing backgrounds, conflict and languages. This book interestingly brings to light these differences.
Disclaimer: I understand that as unique individuals, we have our own responses. This article merely speaks about the general reality of disparity among sexes. It does not aim to point out that all men react one way or all women respond as another.
More than once I heard male office mates share, “You know, I might as well do what she thinks I’m doing. After all, she already thinks of me this way. I’m sick of her constant babbling! Then, she’d really have a reason to nag me about it!”
It’s sad to think that husbands and wives create larger gaps between them because their intentions get lost in translation.
Dr. Steven addresses this in his 2 probable reasons as to why women repeat themselves more than necessary:
- When your partner talks, do you make it a point that you look at him or her in the eye? Do you address the concern seriously? Or do you just shrug it off and tell him or her to cut it out?
- Did you do anything or try to improve on what your partner asks of you? If so, did you try harder? Have you both discussed on what could be a good compromise so as to settle the issue? If not, why don’t you start?
In my opinion, all of us have both played the roles of being misunderstood and not understanding someone at some point in our lives. The question really, is have we gone the extra mile of trying hard to understand? Or did you just say, “Forget it, it’s hopeless!”? I may be idealistic when I say, faith and hope equals possibilities.
In addition, Dr. Stevens also proposed tips on what NOT to do when women present their concerns:
1. Don’t demand
- Men are designed to lead. As stated in Ephesians 5: 23, “ For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” In the previous verse it writes, “Wives, submit to your husbands, as to the Lord.” Women, painstakingly I say, this is a command. Men universally abhor the feeling of being disrespected. When they are, they find a way to stay on top; if not, they retaliate by being quiet. Either way, women won’t get what they want.
- Watch your tone of voice. This is important because surely, your partner could tell your emotions by the tone of your voice. As Proverbs 1: 15 says, “A gentle response turns away wrath”.
2. Don’t expect too much. If things do not go the way you want it, let it be.
- Be humble. You are not perfect as well. There are also qualities, attitudes you possess that others may also not appreciate including your partner. This is also a humbling reminder to look at our weaknesses too before complaining about others’. In Matthew 7: 3, Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
- Be patient. Life goes on despite your partner’s flaws.
So you either make your life miserable by focusing on what he could not do or you could create a positive environment and be patient. Pray. Trust that God hears your heart’s desires. And that He knows best. He will give it to you in His time, if it is good for you. Meanwhile, He wants you to learn to patience.
There are a lot of people today wondering about their feelings for someone else.
There’s a young teenage girl who is puzzled by the lack of feelings she has for a guy with whom she was wild about. But the minute he showed interest in her, she lost interest.
There’s a young mom who’s experience of diapers and midnight feedings aren’t any fun. They ask “Am I low on love?”
This entry has been inspired by Max Lucado’s book ‘A Love Worth Giving’
How do you answer the question of love? Is there a way to assess that quality of your affection? A DNA test for love perhaps?
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” – 1 Corinthians 13:6
The apostle Paul says there i a test for love.
Want to know if what you feel is genuine love? Ask yourself this: “Do I encourage this person to do what is right?”
For true love “takes no pleasure in other’ people’s sins but delights in the truth” - 1 Corinthians 13:6
One lady calls another and says “We’re friends, right?”
“Yeah, we’re friends.”
“If my husband asks, you tell him we were together at the movies last night.”
“But we weren’t.”
“I know, but I was, well, I was with another guy and – hey, you’ll do that for me, won’t you? We’re friends, right? Tighter than sisters, right?”
Love doesn’t ask someone to do what is wrong.
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” – 1 Corinthians 3:16
If you find yourself prompting evil in others, check yourself. This is not love. And if others prompt evil in you, be alert. This is not love.
“Whoever loves a brother or a sister lives in the light and will not cause anyone to stumble.” - 1 John 2:10
“You are sinning against Christ when you sin against other Christians by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong.” - 1 Corinthians 8:12 NLT
Do you want to know if your love for someone is true? Ask yourself: “Do I influence this person to do what is right?”
If your answer is yes, congratulations – you are practicing the right kind of love in your relationship with that person.
I’ve been learning in my relationship with my girl that loving someone has its dangers. Usher said “There’s so many ways to love ya”, and this is true. There’s so many ways to love a person – but what is the right way that will help you keep your relationship straight?
Loving for the sake of Loving
There are a lot of people today who have lots of love to give. We were created as relational beings. Emotional beings. It is a natural part of us to love someone.
But there is a question we have to ask ourselves. Why do we love? Why do we give our love away to another person? Is it to get married? Is it to have children? What if those things come and are fulfilled? What next?
There are a lot of people today – especially younger people – who love for the sake of loving. Because they have love to give.
Just because you have love to give, doesn’t mean you have to give it. Loving for the sake of loving can be the most selfish, meaningless act you can do in your life – and it will easily lead to emotional instability.
Love is a choice. It is also a powerful emotion. How you distinguish between the two is determined by its purpose. Loving for the sake of loving easily defines love as an emotion because loving for the sake of loving cannot define love as a choice. It will bear no meaning.
Loving someone too much
I’ve written quite a handful of articles about loving someone too much. This is one of the most dangerous aspects of loving that a lot of people fall into. Loving someone too much puts you in the dangerous playground of idolatry. It simply puts the beloved before anything else – even Christ.
Loving someone too much also sets you up, if you’re a guy, to let the girl lead. And if you’re a girl, it sets you up to follow even towards wrong leadership. Wrong leadership can mean, a leading to impurity, sexual immorality, lying, and anything against the heart and leadership of God.
Loving beyond what you can give
Our love has its limits. We are finite beings with finite emotions and finite will, energy, resources, time and imagination. Because we are finite beings, even if we have a lot of love to give, we can run out. Our emotional tanks can go empty. When this happens, you are setting yourself up for disappointment, burnout, stress and bitterness.
Loving beyond what you can give and not getting any reciprocated love in return can easily lead to bitterness.
Loving beyond what you can give and going farther than what your limited time, resources, and energy can bear can easily lead to burnout and stress.
How can Love go Wrong?
The questions our generation is asking is “How can our love have gone wrong?”, “Where did we lose ourselves?”, and the cry of our hearts remains unanswered. How can love hurt so much?
There are so many ways to love someone dangerously. So what do we do? How do we love someone in the right way?
The Purpose behind Loving
There is only one way to love someone – to really love someone. Love for the sake of the glory of God.
This is the answer.
Love can never go wrong with that purpose and direction behind it. Love for the sake of the glory of God. Glorify and honor our God in your love for others – and you will never ask love why it went wrong – ever again.
Lately I’ve been going through a lot in my personal walk with the Lord as well as in my family and love life. Relationships are a part of life. And sooner or later, you will fall in love. When that happens, I just want you to remember this entry – that you need to love beyond your heart.
This entry has been inspired by the numerous conflicts I have experienced in my life, as well as my learnings and realizations from them. I wanted to share this with all of you because I believe it is important and that you need to hear this.
Being a man, God has assigned me the honor of being the leader in my relationship with my girl. He has designated me to bring her through the journey of spiritual intimacy, physical wellness, emotional wisdom, financial intelligence, and intellectual wisdom. This is not an easy task.
In fact it is a task that can only be possible through the grace of God. Without depending on God, I fell into the trap of trying to do this on my own. I tried to love and lead her with my heart. And I soon found out how disastrous it could be.
You see, the heart can hurt. And when the heart gets hurt, the usual, natural tendency is:
- Guys withdraw and wait things out until… (etc…)
- Girls say things they think will soothe their anxiety and work the conflict out
Unfortunately, I’m the kind of guy who withdraws. I realized that I am not honoring God when I do so because I am not leading her when I withdraw.
I tell God “But I might say hurtful things. Isn’t it good that I just withdraw?”, “I’m trying to protect her when I withdraw so that I won’t get angry and hurt her.”, or sometimes I even think “She only hurts me with her words. I think it’s wiser to let things cool off first.”
Now, I’m not saying that these mindsets are wrong. It depends on the situation. But in my case, I merely used them for excuses when I know I could’ve done something about it. I was not being a leader. I was merely loving her with my heart.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” - Jeremiah 17:9
To really love is to go beyond your heart. To really love is to know that you are capable for more. To really love is to do hard things. To go the extra mile. To live the impossible. To follow Christ. To really love is to lead your heart through the hurt.
Not to let your heart lead you.
Step out of your heart – that ‘emotional comfort zone‘. It’s a choice when you withdraw as a man because you’re hurt. Wisdom and understanding will tell you why the other person said what they said or did what they did. Knowing this, you will realize that it’s not about you – you don’t need to hurt. You just have to help him/her.
“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” - Proverbs 19:11
Don’t let the offense of any another person hurt you. Instead, validate any truths in it and absorb only what will make you grow and what will help the other person. Filter all offenses from your thoughts. Do not let the unnecessary things get into your heart.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” - Proverbs 4:23
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” - 2 Corinthians 10:5
Protect your heart from your thoughts. Lead your heart through wisdom. Don’t let it dictate your actions. Love is a choice, not a feeling. It is a conscious effort to do what is best for the other person in spite of the difficulty and hurts that you feel.
The problem is, the heart can hurt. Love beyond your heart.
Men were designed to lead. Created by God to be the first human being to work and prepare and lead before he meets his bride.Why then do we see men left and right failing to lead their marriage? Failing to lead their girl?
Loving a woman too much
When a man loves a woman too much, he sometimes take leading for granted. He adopts to his girl instead of leading her. They join the girl in her level instead of him stepping up. This is a major and common problem in relationships. Don’t get em wrong, loving your girl is a wonderful thing – but putting it above the place of God is a sin. Loving someone too much is idolatry.
Men have the tendency to step back and let others lead. Men have the tendency to be complacent. And when this happens, then women’s tendency to take lead kicks in. This is why we see relationships here and there where the men are silent and the women are the ones making the decisions.
There is something wrong.
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” - Genesis 3:6
Why was Eve the one doing the talking? Wasn’t Adam the one who named the serpent? Why didn’t Adam say anything?
Adam was complacent. He let Eve lead during this time. And when Eve fell, Adam fell with her. Perhaps he loved Eve too much – more than His love and faith in God. Because he knew they would ‘surely die’ as God Himself told them.
Losing focus on God
This is a consequence of loving someone too much. Investing too much of your heart on something – even on another human being, can become dangerous. You can only become a leader for your relationship if you are following someone who knows the ups and downs, the ins and outs of a woman’s heart. God designed it. He must know everything about it.
Knowing God more is knowing a woman more. Why? Because God is the source of beauty, love, emotions, mystery, and everything else about a girl. To be able to really lead your girl, you have to seek God’s heart.
Defend your focus on God. Don’t let anyone or anything take it away. Everything that you cannot surrender to the sovereignty of God is idolatry. It is a sin that takes root and creates strongholds in your life.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” - 2 Corinthians 10:5
If you really fear God and love Him, you will lead in your relationships as you were designed to. If you really love your girl and want to lead her properly, you will love God more than her.
Leading while you are in the same level as your girl is not leading at all. You always have to be a step higher. Go the extra mile. Make tough choices. Do hard things. Live the impossible. Follow Christ.
Be a man.
No, I’m not talking about your coffee. Our generation today has been hurt and burned by relationships turned sour. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this is a question that a lot of people have in their hearts. Just how do you find the perfect mate?
To think that we would have relationships all figured out 2,000 years after the death of Christ. It’s been so long and still it bothers us on how we can finally find someone – who knocks us off our feet. To find someone who makes us feel complete. Finding the perfect mate is a question that will always be left without a direct, one-line, blueprint answer. But there are guidelines we can use in order to finally find that person our hearts are yearning for.
1. Be the perfect mate
The perfect mate will only want the perfect mate. How can you attract somebody who’s supposed to be ‘perfect’ if you are not ‘perfect’ yourself? If he or she is ‘perfect’ then that person will have wisdom enough to only want what’s best for him/herself.
“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” - Mark 12:31
The ‘perfect’ mate will be wise enough to love him/herself first – and look for the ‘perfect’ mate for him/herself too!
2. Seek God’s Heart
This is probably not the direct answer you’re looking for but it is the best one. Seeking God’s heart deals with a lot of things. And one of those things, is for you to be the person God wants you to be – in order for Him to finally present you to the ‘perfect’ one He has in store for you.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” - Matthew 6:33
There is more to this verse than meets the eye. Seeking God’s kingdom will change your life. And His promise of giving all ‘these’ things to you – that is a promise you’d want to have. It definitely includes a ‘perfect’ mate if that is the desire of your heart.
“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” - Psalm 37:4
God is God. He is nothing less. He knows all, He is in control, His will is what will happen. He also loves you and cares about you – and like a Father, He is happy when you are happy. He cares about your desires. But any desire that rises above seeking Him and desiring Him is no longer a good thing. So you have to first seek God’s kingdom in your life – then He will see that you are ready to take on more blessings.
Remember, God’s enemies for your heart are not the evil things of this world. It’s the good and pleasurable things that can take the place of God in your life.
My fiance is not perfect. I know her. And there are things in her that will not be considered perfect by the world’s or other people’s standards. But she’s perfect for me.
Perfect is a choice – it is not the complete mending of someone else to your desires, your attitude and yourself. It is a choice to love someone ‘as is’. And as much imperfections as she has in her, she is perfect for me.
I am an imperfect man. The perfect partner for an imperfect me is an imperfect woman – and our perfection is made complete with our choice to love each other ‘as is’.
Love is a choice. Protect that choice – seal it with commitment.
In this life, you will never be perfect. But there is someone who is perfect for you out there.
“When you’re 15, somebody tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe them.” This is how Taylor Swift put it in her own words. It’s so easy to get into a relationship today. People want to fall in love – to give love and to be loved. Because there is something to give and it feels great to receive. All the while, we leave 3 very important aspects of getting into a relationship unchecked.
Jump-start my Heart
Lots and lots of relationships today start out quick. And usually they are plagued with impatience, lack of purpose and misguided emotions. As long as you find him handsome, he finds you pretty, and you say you love each other – that’s enough reason to get together. The world and society today definitely advocates these kinds of relationships.
Most young relationships are formed with impatience. People are anxious to be in a relationship for various reasons. You might feel left out, or you’re getting older, or no one better might come along, etc… It’s not wrong to desire to be in a relationship – but what is your motive? Is it the confidence that you’re ready for marriage and that God has brought someone godly into your life for you? Is it because you want what’s best for that person in terms of God’s Word and you can give it?
A lot of relationships today start without any clear purpose and vision. People date ‘just because’. People fall in love ‘just because’. People tell me they’ve found the one and they’re together ‘just because’. ‘Just because’ doesn’t cut it. You have to have a clear vision and purpose for your relationship. A relationship SHOULD start with only one goal in mind: Marriage. If you have another goal aside from that, I urge you to be patient and develop yourself until you’re ready to take on that goal.
Emotions anchored in Wisdom
Almost all relationships today are fueled by misguided emotions. We do things because it FEELS good. We say things because it FEELS good. We think things about each other because it FEELS good. Emotions don’t last. The moment those feelings go flying away, where then is your commitment? Where then will the relationship be?
Don’t let your emotions dictate your relationship. Emotions ebb to and fro.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” - Jeremiah 17:9
Don’t let your relationship be led by a deceitful heart. Make sure that your relationship is guided with wisdom.
Wisdom and Foolishness
We really can’t say that if you’re not wise, you’re a fool and vice-versa. But if you are not pursuing wisdom, you are not growing in maturity as a person. In a relationship, maturity and wisdom come hand in hand – and they are intricately vital. Wisdom can, first and foremost, be found in God’s Word. Make God’s Word your anchor and root – to grow a strong and flourishing relationship that will declare His Glory.
Be wise – for God, for yourself, and for the person you’re going to marry someday.