THE SECRET TO INITIATING A GODLY ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP
Ah, love is in the air. Valentine’s Day is around the corner and perhaps you are considering new love or you are contemplating love lost. If you are married, then I hope you are looking forward to renewing your love for one another!
Not surprisingly, the most popular conversation that I have with college students is about romantic relationships. It is also my most requested topic for speaking engagements. Every time I speak on this topic, at least 2-3 couples break up that very evening! It is sad, but true. Listen to Podcast Session #010 and Podcast Session #011 to hear this talk.
You may be in a relationship now, so I encourage you to do the hard work of figuring out if it is worth continuing. You may be still searching, so use this post to make you wiser and stronger!
Society has done a disservice to the beauty of romantic relationships. For example, there are 3 myths that must be “busted” in order to move forward.
Myth A: Search for your one and only soul mate
This is logically insane! Think about it. The entire world could end up being paired with the wrong person because you picked the wrong “one”. This mentality also sets you up for a wild goose chase all over the world to find the right person. There is not one, but many that fit the same characteristics.
Myth B: Your missing piece will complete you
This is a terrible idea. This one single relationship will not make you whole. It is but one part of your life, and placing that much emphasis on your significant other is foolish. It is a recipe for disaster to place all of your desires, hopes, and dreams on one person. Don’t do that to anyone – that is too much pressure! One plus one equals one in marriage. You need to be whole (not half) before you enter into marriage.
Myth C: Mr. Right (Ms. Right) is waiting for you
This is highly unlikely. This type of thinking fosters a posture of passivity until you receive a “sign”. You should be intentional when choosing with whom you want to grow old! Marriage is not a decision that is left to chance. You process, pray, and then take obedient action! Do not sit around waiting for the right person and a perfectly timed shooting star… this leads to frustration!
Truth: These myths are an echo of our first love
Jesus is the only one that is your true soul mate. Jesus is the only one that is your missing piece. Jesus is the only one that is waiting for your affections. Media has done a great job of twisting our first love into lesser loves. Reach out to the first love, and all other loves will fit into place.
In order to gain the right perspective in our society, you have to make the distinction between what is reality and what is media-driven. In other words, you need some steps to face reality and not live in the land of romantic comedies (no, the rumors are not true… I do not LOVE romantic comedies… ok, FINE, but not as much as my wife makes it out to be). Therefore, here are 3 practical next steps:
Step #1: Make a list of non-negotiables
Make a list of non-negotiable characteristics for a future spouse. It is important to know what you want in a spouse. However, do not place 21 items on your list!! Newsflash, that person probably does not exist! Also, be thoughtful about what you place on this list. Characteristics like tall, dark, and handsome are not really non-negotiable items. This is my list of non-negotiable characteristics:
- She loves Jesus deeply and genuinely
- She likes to engage in thoughtful conversation with me
- She has some idea of her life trajectory (i.e. goals, ambitions, etc.)
- I am attracted to her overall personality and appearance
Notice that my future wife could look like anyone and be a range of personalities, but she had to have these characteristics. Note that there is nothing ungodly in praying for your future spouse to be attractive. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that is how God wired us!
Step #2: Make a list of your personal priorities
Make a list of your personal priorities in life. What are your priorities in life? What do you value? When you meet someone, that person should have similar priorities. If they do not, you will live in silent resentment, constant conflict, or be forced to rearrange your priorities. Search deeply in your heart. Spend time praying (and journaling). This is what my list of priorities looked like:
- I desire to love and honor God with my life
- I want to love and care for my family (even my extended family, etc.)
- I will work hard within my profession and/or ministry aspirations
- I will make time to invest in my close friends
If these were not on my future wife’s priority list and not in the same order, then I would move on to the next person. I know that many couples have difficult fights and some separate simply because they have a different view of how life should be lived out. Our priorities shed light on our worldview. Make sure to match up your priorities before moving forward.
Step #3: Answer these 8 questions
Yeah, that was kind of tricky – step 3 has 8 smaller steps within it! My bad. I suggest that if you are already in a relationship, then answer these questions separately and then compare answers. Be honest and specific on your answers. All is not lost when you have different answers, but it will definitely indicate a course correction in your relationship. If you are not in a relationship, then use these questions before entering into it. It will save you a lot of heartache!
- Have you made room for God in the decision-making process? How?
- Has God’s Word confirmed the decision to pursue one another? When?
- Has your decision been affirmed by mentors and Godly community? Who?
- Are you ready to put character over outwardly appearance?
- Do your life plans fit together without drastic compromise? How?
- Have you considered the practical aspects of living life together? Explain.
- Are you the right spiritual maturity for one another? Why?
- Are you encouraging one another to remain sexually pure?
I believe that God wants you to be in a relationship that will propel you into your destiny, not hold you back. Make this Valentine’s Day less about Hallmark and more about The Kingdom!
Podcast Session #010: God Centered Romantic Relationships (Part 1 of 2)
Podcast Session #011: God Centered Romantic Relationships (Part 2 of 2)
by Ravi Zacharias
This is a very insightful book about love, commitment, Jesus, and marriage. The authors takes a great angle on the importance of marriage and how it impacts your faith journey, and vice versa. Please consider reading it!