I am not a relationship expert but I know two things: had I not been obedient to God in my past relationships; I would NOT be married today and I would also NOT have the great man of God I have in my life today. I pray that these rules help Christian Singles find the mate God has in store for them, but to also set a foundation for a lasting marriage. Many of our dating goals are to eventually get married, but without a solid foundation rooted in Christ; many marriages fail because of false expectations, loss of passion, and commitment to each other and God.
These 5 steps will help you to align yourself with the will of God in order to honor Him in your romantic relationships.
1.Guard Your Heart –Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23 NIV).
Many throw around the phrase “guard your heart,” but never truly explain what it means and how important it is to God. The verse says, “above all else,” which means this should be the first thing we do because “everything you do” flows from it. So how do we guard our hearts? When it comes to romantic relationships, guarding your heart means to protect your heart with caution, wisdom, and discernment. Guarding your heart is not about preventing heartache or never letting others get too close; but is all about tending to the health of your soul. An unguarded heart opens itself to abuse and misuse. An unguarded heart threatens not just your love life, but your entire being. Like an entire stream of water can become toxic by one impure drop, the condition of the soul depends on what streams from the heart.
Advice: The best way I can describe guarding your heart in romantic relationships is to not step into relationships in curiosity, but to step into a relationship in faith. Faith that you have God’s approval, faith that this relationship will honor God, and faith that this relationship will better you as a follower of Christ. The following steps will help you to guard your heart.
2.Seek a Relationship with God First- Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need (Matthew 6:33 NLT).
As Christians we need to have our priorities in order. We need to invest in our relationship with God, before we are in any shape to invest in others. Seeking God first insures that relationships and the desire to be married does not become an idol to us. The Bible clearly states that when we seek God first and His righteousness, all things will be added to us. Many of us get the order wrong, we seek careers, relationships, and children before we seek a strong relationship with God.
Advice: If a person cannot love a Perfect God, that died for their sins and has extended unwarranted grace, they cannot love you. And the same goes for you: If you cannot commit and love a perfect God that took on your sin so you may be forgiven; you cannot love and commit to an imperfect person. In order to love others the way they deserve to be loved, we must love God first.
3.Accept the Fact that you CANNOT CHANGE People- Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)
I’m not sure how many times God laughed when I asked God to change a boyfriend. It’s not that there isn’t power in prayer, but only God can change people and their hearts. This was the hardest lesson I had to learn while dating. People are who they are, and if they will not change for God, what makes you think they will change for you? Also, if a person is not right with God, they can have a negative effect on you and your walk with Christ: “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (1 Corinthians 15:13 NIV).
So here’s the big question: Do you compromise or do you trust God for someone you do not have to change?
I remember praying once again for God to change this guy, and God spoke to me with this verse: “O Sovereign LORD! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!” (Jeremiah 32:17). And because I sought the scriptures for what I wanted for myself, and not what God wanted for me; I interpreted this word from the Lord as: I am God, nothing is too hard for me… I can change him!
I thought, thank you Jesus, that’s right you can do all things. But two wasted years later, I realized that God was actually saying: I’m God, and I have someone for you that you do not have to change. Stay in my will, and he will be there.
Advice: Make a list of non-negotiables. A list of character traits you will not compromise on. Since we cannot change people, we have to live with the fact that they may not ever change. Are you willing to live with that issue, habit, career, etc. for the rest of your life? Many falsely believe marriage will also change things however, if we do not get a hold of sin, lack of commitment, bad habits etc. before we get married; marriage will only magnify those issues.
4.Sex is for Marriage- Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body (1 Corinthians 6:18 NIV).
Sex is a life uniting act, through sex a man and woman become one flesh. God does not want His children to become one with those whom are not their life partner. Why? Well, first God says so. He says to flee, meaning to “run like hell” away from sexual sin because sexual sin is sin against your own body. We need to trust that God knows what’s best for us, and his prohibitions are to protect us. We all know there are many consequences to sexual sin and God simply wants to protect us from them.
If the Bible saying so isn’t enough, let’s look at science. During sex, a hormone called oxytocin is released in women and creates bonding and increased levels of empathy. Which explains why woman fall in love and may become possessive after sex. Within men, the hormone called dopamine is released, which is the “pleasure hormone” and can be very addictive. This is why so many men suffer from sexual addictions; in the US 12 million people suffer from sexual additions.
Could you imagine what our divorce rates would look like if we only bonded with our life partner and became addicted to their love and affection alone? That’s the problem, during sex our bodies release these hormones regardless if it’s a hook-up or spouse. God created us, and knows what’s best for us, even when it comes to sex. During sex a man and a women become one- this reflects the fullest image of our Triune God who is three yet one; outside of marriage, sex reflects a counterfeit image of what God wants for us.
Advice: Set boundaries and make them clear. We cannot honor God with our sexuality if we do not commit to purity or abstinence until marriage. In order for us to be successful, we need to date others that respect and also desire to honor God with their sexuality. Setting rules and having accountability partners will help you guard your heart by guarding your gift of sex.
5.Pray- This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us (1 John 5:14).
Pray for God’s approval before entering into a relationship. Pray with a pure heart, truly seeking God’s will and answers. I shared how I prayed to God concerning a relationship, and already had my mind made up. If I had truly sought God’s will, I would have seen that God did not want me to enter into that relationship. I thank God for His grace, but looking back I wasted a lot of time and experienced guilt and shame that God tried to prevent in the first place. If you don’t have God’s approval, do not move forward.
Last bit of Advice: View your relationships and dating life as an act of worship, honoring God with your cautious handling of your heart.