In a world that celebrates the idea of love but refuses to embrace it in all its entirety, will we ever have relationships that have longevity? Toxic traits, broken promises, incompatibility, inconsistency, unsavoury surprises, infidelity, unequal yokes and unrequited love. All these are the fears that one may have, yet they are drowned in the surge of emotions that engulfs us when we are attracted to someone. I’ve been on a journey, discovering the very basics concepts of love and relationships, only to find that several more questions are added to the list for every answer I obtain. We all know that love isn’t a feeling; it’s a choice. Yet we speak the terminology of the clueless romantic:
Love is blind.
It was love at first sight. (But I thought love was blind?)
I’m in love
I’ve fallen in love. (Then get up!)
It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. (Really?)
All these crazy phrases are but the deceptions of society, twisting the perceptions of individuals who are truly seeking love. I have to admit that I myself am in search of love. I am looking for a godly wife, a chaste woman with whom I will spend the rest of my days chasing after God. However, it’s not that easy. We are told to use biblical methods to find the right partner. Women are told to wait while the men are advised to pursue. But who do you pursue? If there are a hundred godly women on the planet, who would pursue a relationship with? Some may say that you pursue the most attractive, but is that not our own perspective of things? And are we not basing our relationships on looks? What standard of godliness are we judging by? How godly must she be before she is too religious and legalistic? Therefore, we can presume two facts from this scenario:
- The woman waits and only entertains a man who is pursuing her when she receives confirmation from God.
- The man finds an attractive woman, brings her before God in prayer and waits for confirmation to pursue.
If such actions are carried out, not only would there be a good relationship with God before the relationship begins, but a good spiritual background for a couple to build their marriage upon. We would also commit to a relationship that would last a long time because God ordained it; marriage is only destined to end by death. Even though this fallen world has good justifications reasons for divorce, I still disagree with such a notion. Divorce wasn’t supposed to exist, and sadly, many prepare for it before they are even married. Others have developed failsafe structures in their lives to safeguard them if a divorce occurs. Abuse and infidelity are some of the largest contributions to divorce but doesn’t it boil down to your choice of partner? And have we heard Gods voice about the One we want to court? Other divorce reasons are like: I don’t love him/her anymore. That doesn’t make sense. Something can only become less interesting because the time spent with it has lessened. When effort isn’t invested in a relationship, it will begin to fade.
I’ve come across many people who claim that they knew he/she was the one they were going to marry. This doesn’t make sense to me because they cannot explain how they came to that conclusion. This does leave room for personal preferences and opinion and not divine truth. In a recent online show, I asked a pastor this question since he had married recently. He stated that he didn’t hear a voice from God because his choice was in the biblical description of a godly woman and his preference.
“God doesn’t tell us who to marry, or else it wouldn’t be free will. He does, however, guide us to the right partner.
God is not limited to telling us who to marry, though. You could have a dream of him/her before the actual encounter. There are many stories of that happening before. That’s my preference of things anyway, more clarity. Confirmation can also be tricked by our own minds because our minds can create them. I know a friend from school who liked a Christian girl he saw every day on a bus. He began praying about it. During a time of prayer, he asked God about her, and his phone began to ring. It was her calling. He took it as a sign of confirmation. Remember, the devil also loves interrupting prayer with distractions. I had countless times when the telephone rang for no reason during prayer time. A week later, I asked my friend how things were with his new girlfriend, and he responded: “She’s not my girlfriend; that girl is crazy!” A good relationship with God is the only way to ascertain a long-lasting relationship. Men need to know two Bible verses before they even look for someone to have a relationship:
- Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the Lord.
- Proverbs 19:14 Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
With that knowledge, who are we kidding thinking that we could find a wife without Gods plan? Now I’m not saying that there should be no emotions in a relationship, that’s where people seem to think I’m crazy. What I’m saying is that emotions should not lead the relationship. Feelings come and go but love is always here to stay. A relationship should be led by the Spirit of God, and not by our own preconceived ideas that were indoctrinated into our thoughts by Hollywood.
Dating VS Courting
Dating has only been around for roughly 350 years when Jean Jacques Rosseau wrote a book called Julie in 1761. The book was about a high-class woman who fell in love with a waiter. At that time, courtship existed. People found partners who matched their status, class or occupation. However, after the release of Julie which was a successful bestseller, people married for feelings. This is the danger of dating and many Christians out there are dating with no idea what they are doing. The difference is very outstanding. Dating is based on feelings, courtship is based on the final destination – marriage. Dating seeks where our feelings may lead us, they follow the emotions and this is why sex before marriage occurs. This is why teen pregnancies happen, we aren’t teaching our children the truth about love. I’ve noticed by observation that pregnancies that happen before marriage mostly places a responsibility on the man to marry the woman, even though it’s a huge disgrace in many cultures. The problem here is that they marry out of duty and not out of love, and eventually divorce occurs later. I’m not saying that your marriage is over if you sinned, I’m saying that you better place Christ in the centre of your relationship because if you sinned by fornication, He wasn’t there in the first place.
Courtship knows the direction, it knows the final destination is marriage. If Christ is in the relationship, it will succeed. I believe that parents should be involved in the relationship, advice should be directed to spiritual elders who give good godly advice. I believe in love the way it used to be back in the day when the man would approach a woman and ask her out, and he would approach her parents for permission to take her out. We don’t have that anymore, men have become wimps. Now we slide into DMs and text, we don’t have the guts to chase marriage, and those who are brave chase one night stands. Now a man will date a woman, and when he thinks she’s the one, he will propose and then finally meet the parents, who disapprove of the man. And that’s how families are torn apart. families lose their daughters to another man, accused of betrayal and intolerance.
The amount of stories I have heard of is unbelievable. I’ve heard people recall the toxic traits of what guys do to girls and vice versa. We know that people these days aren’t taught how to love or maybe there’s an issue in their past that they never deal with. Whatever it may be, the spread of pain is seeping faster than you think.
Here are some toxic traits you need to know about:
- Physical abuse
- Swearing or calling you names
- Threats or death threats
- Emotional abuse
- Financial tightfisted control
- Social control, keeping you away from friends and family
- Has a problem with you talking to other individuals of the opposite gender
- Frequent lies
- Purposely saying or doing things that hurt you
- Bringing up the past
- Blaming you for their crimes and abuse
- Using your own weakness or confided secrets against you
- Reputation destruction, spreading bad information about you.
- Treats you like an enemy and then make themselves be the victim
- Isolates you, make you burn bridges and break all connections. When this happens, you become totally dependant on them and in time of trouble, you have no one to turn to.
- Anger tempest over small things
- Searching your phone but not allowed to search theirs.
- Forced PDA
- If you live in constant fear because of your partner, you are being abused. It is time to LEAVE!
We live in a world where being alone is defined as a curse, but it’s not. The only thing worse than ending up alone is getting married and feeling the same way. Not many love deeply, some just want to feel good or feel secure. Others have a void to fill instead of an overflow of love to give. The intentions of relationships and marriage are what makes it or breaks it. The love of many has grown cold, so make sure you fast and pray before you ask her out, make sure you receive confirmation from God before you say yes to him. It is unfortunate that when most marriages fail, so do their faith. I’ve heard many stories of people who turned away from God because their partner cheated on them or divorced them. It is really sad but Christ must be in the relationship and Christ must have said the last word before it first began. I’m an advocate for love, I’m not against it. However, I have done everything to fight against all that goes against it. If you have found love, keep nurturing it, never take it for granted. Keep studying your wife, keep loving her. And wives, submit to your husband and respect him.
If you have not found love, keep searching for it on your knees, never give up on the search. keep believing that there is someone out there who God has designed especially for you. We know for sure that there are more females than men on the planet, we can then assume that every man may be married but not every woman. That’s the sad truth. So chase your purpose and you’d find the right partner. Your purpose comes first before anything else…
So what would be the endless possibilities of love? A man’s life changes so suddenly when he meets the One. His heart changes so do his priorities. He learns things that he never knew before, does things he never thought he’d ever do. His mind bends and warps in the mould of his expectations. Expectations of how he wants his life to be with her. His future is planned already in his blissful thoughts, and even though he never know what tomorrow brings, he looks forward to a time that he hopes to exist one day. And she? Does not her Prince Charming present himself in the flesh? Does he not come to rescue her to another place? Does not the fairytales of books come to life when two come together in the harmony of romantic love? Oh, the possibilities of love that one could imagine…