Lots of relationships start out well. A couple goes on a date or two, they like each other, they get engaged and eventually get married. It’s the happiest day of their lives! Six months later, they end up miserable and want to get a divorce. What happened?
So many break-ups and divorces are happening today. Some years ago, people would be ashamed to admit a break-up, much more a divorce. However, nowadays there are people who, without a second thought, would tell you that they’ve had 3 divorces or 5 previous break-ups. The sad part about it is that it’s becoming the norm and society has accepted this openly. What are the reasons behind it?
You and I have our rights. And it isn’t a bad thing. Having rights as a person can come in handy. But sometimes having rights leads us to a mentality of entitlement – that we ‘deserve this’ and we ‘deserve that’. We are called to a higher, more noble concern.
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.