Please forgive me for not posting for a while; I have been a little busy over the last several weeks. Preparation for Resurrection weekend, baseball season beginning, kids’ field trips, writing for several publications, speaking and working on a book proposal, have all rendered me MIA in the blogosphere. I promise to do better.
As in the previous post, there are some specific advantages to being single. One advantage to being single is you are spared the emotional stress that many married couples endure. Another upside is that singles can serve God with razor laser focus and eagle eye attention. The church has done a poor job in demanding greater service from singles but not giving them an equal position at the table of decision and change.
Contentment is key in being a joyful and fulfilled single. Again, contentment is not accepting your plight or becoming satisfied where things are. As you wait for God’s hook up, you continue to move toward your purpose and destiny. What do I do while I wait for God’s “hook up?”
Instead of focusing on finding the right person, you should be becoming the right person for your future spouse. This includes being emotionally healthy, physically fit and spiritually strong. We all carry baggage of some sort, and for those of us who are married, brought 3 or 4 “carry on” bags into the plane of our relationship. The more emotional baggage you can discard before marriage, the more time you can spend on building a new relationship together with your spouse rather than dealing with old conflict that has grounded you for years. Some naively think that marriage is the magic bullet that is somehow going to fix all of their personal problems. This is fantasy, and If not dealt with through counseling, mentoring, and personal obedience, marriage will only highlight your “issues” and expose what’s in your “carry on luggage.” So, spend time identifying your “issues.” In fact, I would suggest that you not seriously date anyone until you have allowed God to heal you of some of your past emotional wounds. You can identify your issues and heal through prayer, close friends telling you, counseling, strength inventories, and self-examination.
After you have identified, have begun dealing with your issues and baggage, and started healing from past relational wounds, what should you look for in a potential mate? This is the $64,000 question for singles, isn’t it?
If you are a follower of Jesus, then your priority should be to pray and look for someone who has a love for and devotion to Jesus. Although I know that there are some “saved dogs” out there, this doesn’t change the biblical command to marry someone who is a genuine believer in and a follower of Jesus. Non-believers inevitably draw believers away from Jesus more than believers draw non-believers to Jesus. This does not mean a believer can’t draw a non-believer. In my experience, I have seen it work the other way more times than I care to remember.
Look for someone who has similar likes, values and interests. If your interests include sports, traveling family, children, education, then you are probably going to enjoy the company of someone with similar interests. Similar interests and values increases the enjoyment of your time alone with that individual. Very few things are as painful and boring as being with someone who you have very little or nothing in common with.
Now, incompatibility is not all bad. I have found the old adage that opposites attract to be true in my own marriage. I am a sports fan; Tonia is not. I was an English major in college; Tonia was an engineer and math major in college. Tonia likes to cook; I like to eat (well, I suppose that is more compatibility than incompatibility). But we made a decision early in our relationship to be open to learn from one another and grow from each other’s likes and strengths.
But, how can you increase compatibility in your relationship? Here are some key questions to help you increase compatibility. How you answer these questions will determine whether incompatibility will enhance or create unsolvable conflict in your relationship.
Are you willing to make adjustments or will you have a posture of selfishness and stubbornness?
Are you willing to make emotional progress?
Are you growing emotionally and spiritually? Or, will you remain stagnant?
Are you willing to put in the work to learn from one another?
Other things to consider:
Before you a start seriously dating, determine what you want in a potential spouse. Create a realistic list of qualities and attributes that you want in a spouse. As you make your list, determine what are the deal breakers and those things that are negotiable. Tonia’s lack of zeal for sports wasn’t a deal breaker for me. She had so many other qualities that overshadowed her lack of passion for Louisville Sluggers,(baseball) Pig Skins,(football) and “the Rock” (basketball), that I wasn’t going to run the risk of losing a good woman.
Place your life and future spouse in God’s hands. Through prayer and obedience, place your life and future in God’s hands. He can see the future and we can’t.
Clarify your life’s purpose, mission or destiny. According to Andy Stanley, direction determines destination. Where are your headed? What path are you taking?
Commit to God’s standards, especially in the area of sexually purity. Spend time alone in God’s word on a regular basis.
Commit to debt-free living. Money and communication conflicts are still top the list of the things that destroy marriages. If you can get a handle on God’s instructions regarding your finances now, you would have dealt a serious blow to an issue that can deal a serious blow to your relationship. If this is an issue for you, sign of for Good Sense Class or Financial Peace University. These personal stewardship curricula will transform your financial lives.
Connect with network of positive and godly single men and women.
Hang out with godly, but normal married couples. As you hang out with these couples, you get to experience real time marital interaction, conflict and conflict resolution, cooperation, laughter, and marital joy. You will find out that marriage is not a fairy-tale, storybook fantasy. But, it is a God-ordained human relationship that has deep valleys moments and Everest type experiences. On May 30, 2009, from 6:30-8:00, our church (Tabernacle Community Church) will be having a gathering for Singles and Marrieds to dialogue, answer questions, laugh together, eat together, and pray for one another. I am so looking forward to this event.
What can you add to the conversation? What other questions do we need to ask and answer? What are talking points or questions would you include for the Singles and Married event? Thanks for all the feedback you have given.
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