I confess: I think it’s hilarious to read someone’s new status that says he or she is “in a relationship.” A relationship . . . . I need a definition. So, I asked one friend what it meant when she updated her status. She said it didn’t mean that. I’m still in the dark!
- Does “relationship” mean dating?
- Does it mean dating exclusively this particular person?
- Does it mean engagement? Or is “engaged” an antiquated term?
- Does it mean commitment, or is it a more casual friendship?
My relationship with my husband means lifetime commitment. It means traveling through life together. It means working together, laughing together, being together. In our case, it means doing just about everything together. And, I guess you could say that our relationship began when we met each other, and the Fourth of July happened in September. Fireworks and sparklers for sure . . . and this girl saying to herself it was impossible to know upon first acquaintance. He was wonderful, and we fell in love. Three years later, we married. We’ve lived in about ten places, had two children, lived on a different continent . . . . Life has been challenging and full. I am so glad we were/are in a relationship. Maybe we could call our relationship today “grandparents.” (Is that a relationship? If not, it should be!)
In a relationship.
I’m happy for you. I pray your fellow is God’s best for you, and that you will grow together in Christ-likeness. I also hope that this new relationship will not eclipse your first love, the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the only relationship that can satisfy your heart and the only one that lasts forever.
- Beware of the manipulator. While your “friend” (What do you call a guy you’re in a relationship with, anyhow?) and you are still single, make sure he is not a manipulator. Does he say he needs you? Does he make you feel guilty all the time? Does he flatter to get what he wants and yet he doesn’t seem to care what you want? Is he controlling? If you see any of these red flags, run! Don’t even hesitate. Run! Get out of that relationship. It will get worse after marriage.
- Beware of the slapper. If a man slaps you, even in fun, he is physically abusive. Don’t tolerate slaps. They aren’t funny. They will get harder after marriage. Get out of the relationship before you—and possible future children—are victims of abuse.
- Beware of the guy who “needs” and spends money freely—on showy things. A man’s values are displayed by what he wants to spend money on. While most men actually need a car, housing, and a computer, watch what else he spends on. Does he tithe to his church? Does he have to have the best car, the best clothes, and the best everything that shows—including insisting how you dress? Is he happy doing simple things like taking a walk, or does he need to splash the cash on a flashy restaurant? Does he brag a lot? The man who seems to need a lot of money will always need a lot of money. The man who needs to look important will always be that way. Is this what you want? Maybe he impressed you with his good looks, great clothes, and snazzy car. Fine, but does he have a humble side? Or is his life about appearances?
- Beware of the man who belittles his family members. How a man treats his sister, mother, and other female relatives is how he treats women. If it’s not kind and respectful, run!
- Beware of the man who has baggage. If your friend has already been married, and he left his wife and children, beware. He isn’t faithful. It doesn’t matter what he says to explain how “bad” his former wife was. If he left her, something’s wrong. Look for a man with a record of faithfulness. Best is to look for someone with no baggage at all.
- Beware of the pretty boy. If you are “normal” and a beautiful man befriends you, make sure you really know him well before you get serious with him. Ask about his relationships in the past. Ask him if he has had relationships with men. (Some very handsome men choose plainer, vulnerable girls as a “cover” for their homosexual activities. I’ve known several of these young women and the heartbreak they suffered from being used in this way.)
- Beware of the porn user. Any young man who views pornography will soon have a warped mind and crazy ideas about women and relationships. He may also have problems in his body because of viewing this kind of material. Ask any man you date about porn use.
- Beware of any man who doesn’t love God with all his heart—so that it affects all of his actions. You don’t need him if he won’t look to the Lord for guidance and if he doesn’t love God first and foremost. If he doesn’t pray with you, it’s a good indication that his relationship with the Lord either doesn’t exist or isn’t where it needs to be.
If your guy passes all the tests and is wonderful, dare to love him. Love means being vulnerable and sharing. Love means giving. Committed, married love is the best thing in the world!
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three;
but the greatest of these is charity (1 Corinthians 13:13).